FlightSafety to enhance flight training using actual data from GE Digital programs

FlightSafety International will use actual flight data from GE Digital C-FOQA programs to enhance flight training for business aviation customers in a partnership launched recently at NBAA-BACE.

“This has been months in the works,” said FlightSafety president and CEO Brad Thress. The de-identified corporate-flight operations quality assurance (C-FOQA) data will not only benefit pilots who work for companies that participate in a C-FOQA program but other pilots flying non-participating aircraft of all types. For example, many business jet pilots will benefit from training that helps mitigate known problems at a particular airport, he explained.

Under the partnership plan, GE Digital will share insights derived from its analysis of C-FOQA data with FlightSafety, which will then apply those insights to training designed to mitigate the risks uncovered by the data.

According to GE Digital, the C-FOQA community includes more than 300 operators flying more than 1,000 aircraft. C-FOQA automatically processes flight data with a library of more than 200 events and 2,000 measurements “that monitor everything from simple aircraft limitation exceedances to highly advanced risk-based modeling,” GE noted.

“Actual flight data will allow us to tailor training to address safety threats before crews even experience them,” said Thress. “FlightSafety employs a risk-based approach to training, and partnering with GE Digital for their C-FOQA data will have incredible applications for us on approach stability, touch down point control, procedure compliance, and runway safety, among others.”

“Developing a prepared pilot is so much more important,” said Richard Meikle, FlightSafety executive v-p of safety and regulatory compliance, explaining that it’s critical to train pilots to be prepared rather than just proficient. “The partnership provides us the ability to take measurements, identify hazards, and build specifically targeted scenarios that address those [C-FOQA-derived] problems.” This still satisfies the regulatory requirements, but by using actionable data to improve the training outcome.

The top three issues that this program will target in FlightSafety’s training are unstable approaches, runway excursions, and loss of control in-flight (LOC-I). The more pilots are exposed to the benefits of this program, the more might be encouraged to add their aircraft to C-FOQA, according to Meikle.

“The data will come off the airplanes and process through GE’s system, just the way it does today. But instead of the benefits being limited to participants in the program, we’ll be able to expand that and show the value of this partnership and the program. And encourage more people to get into the C-FOQA program so that we get a holistic view of how airplanes are operated. We can manage that training, and then we’ll see the results of that through performance improvements and the [improving] safety performance indicators.”

The actual training will be scenarios to enhance the training experience, Thress explained. “If we know that because of a common wind condition that most pilots come in 10 knots hot, then we can train that, too. It will be refreshing for us to create scenarios on how people actually fly the airplane, train real-world deviations, and try to minimize those and increase the safety of the fleet around the world.”

“We can target the risk, give a scenario, and provide the experience in a controlled risk-free environment,” Meikle said.

“C-FOQA gives us the ability to look at the data, identify trends, and provide feedback to operators. By partnering with FlightSafety, we have the ability to help a much broader population of operators,” said Joel Klooster, v-p, digital product management at GE Digital Aviation Software. “We’ll take an aggregated and anonymized dataset and leverage it.”

Meikle said plans call for the first set of initiatives in this partnership program to roll out in early 2022, with training in the classroom and simulator for both initial and recurrent courses.