Build 1

Academia Introduction

The purpose of the Build 1 Academia Wiki is to identify the key stakeholders and the current practices and issues for the this aviation domain. In doing so we have distilled this to the following four essential questions which will serve to delineate the major sections of our contribution.

The Four Essential Questions

  • Who Are the Stakeholders Associated with the Academic Domain?
  • What are the Current Training Methodologies and Pedagogies in Use?
  • What are Some Available Career Fields for Students?
  • What are Currently the Five Most Important Issues Facing the Domain?

Stakeholders Associated with the Academic Domain

‍Centers of Excellence

In general, 49 USC § 44513, established in 1990, empowers the DOT, and thus the FAA, to make financial grants to higher education institutions. These grants operate through established centers of excellence (COEs). COEs then have the authority to contract with other organizations to fulfill their taskings (FAA, 2011, "About" page).

Centers of Excellence (COE) as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration are “entities with substantive, continuous ties to the universities that, in the university context, advance the state of transportation knowledge within a particular area, or areas, of concentration and contribution. Such a center prepares individuals with transportation skills for career service in the functional areas of transportation in which it specializes”.

FAA Center of Excellence for General Aviation (CGAR)

CGAR was announced by the DOT in 2001 and represents a single source contract authority for the FAA regarding the CGAR technology areas concerning general aviation (GA): aging aircraft, crashworthiness, propulsion, icing, and advanced materials. The CGAR lead academic agency was Embry-Riddle led by Dr. Hampton through 2011, however in 2012 the CGAR will be competitively selected for renewal. In 2011, the universities contracted through Embry-Riddle included: University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of North Dakota, and Wichita State University. In addition to academia, industry and industry groups are affiliated with the CGAR (Watts, 2011).

CGAR research includes: GA systems safety management; flight data monitoring; information sharing; weather technology and pilot training requirements; database management for general aviation; pilot awareness of runway guard lighting; unmanned aerial systems for data collection; synthetic speech; visual data communications for flight deck use; and helicopter lighting systems (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2011).
The challenges faced by CGAR are shared by other areas of academic research, and that includes budget constraints and associated short timelines for return on investment; timelines as little as 18 months to upper ranges of five years. These lower time frames present a challenge for basic research (Hampton, 2011a; Hampton, 2011b).

Academia has opportunities in international research, including harmonizing technologies across countries. Academia can play the role of a trusted broker between countries, industry, and government both domestically and abroad. Other opportunities for academia are in the development and testing of new uses of technology in NextGen (Hampton, 2011a).

Academia is also faced with the challenge of engaging enough students interested in engineering to provide the skills needed for increased complexity. According to Christina Frederick-Recascino, it is systems engineers that will be in the highest demand in the immediate and long-term future (Hampton, 2011a).

FAA Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT)

CEAT was established in 1995, originally as the Airport Pavement Technology R&D, it is now operating through a cooperative funding agreement. The areas of focus include airport pavement design, wildlife research, anti-icing, and lighting (FAA, 2010; University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2011). Member universities include the University of Illinois and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) is one key stakeholder in CEAT (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2011).

As related to NextGen, CEAT would most likely see opportunities in infrastructure upgrades including new runway construction (personal observation). Challenges include competition with the private sector (personal observation).

The National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR)

NEXTOR is a Government-Academic-Industry alliance dedicated to the advancement of aviation research and technology. NEXTOR is sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Technology Development and Operations Planning.

In collaboration with the FAA and its industry partners, NEXTOR looks to develop an understanding of how the National Airspace System (NAS) service providers and users will respond to alternative system architectures, operational concepts, investment strategies and finance mechanisms. The knowledge and capabilities gained from this government-sponsored Research Program provides critical information to executives and senior government officials on a host of issues ranging from near-term investment choices to long-term strategies.

In addition, the partnership seeks to increase the breath of aviation operations research knowledge through its Education Program. More than 100 graduate students have participated in NEXTOR’s research programs since the organization’s birth in 1996. Short courses are taught by faculty members and are open to any FAA, federal government, or industry affiliate employee interested in air transportation systems analysis.

Joint Center for Advanced Materials Research (JAMS)

JAMS was created through an award by the Federal Aviation Administration to Wichita State University and the University of Washington. Wichita State University was designated as the Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials (CECAM) while the University of Washington is the Center of Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures (AMTAS).

The FAA sponsored research focuses on nine technical areas:

• Material Standardization and Shared Databases
• Bonded Joints Issues
• Structural Substantiation
• Damage Tolerance and Durability
• Maintenance Practices
• Advanced Material Forms and Processes
• Cabin Safety
• Nanotechnology for Composite Structures
• Life Management of Materials for Improved Aircraft Maintenance Practices

CECAM members include Northwestern University, Purdue University, Tuskegee University, the University of Delaware, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The mission statement is “To provide the nation with a center for the validation and quality assurance of composites and advanced materials to be applied in the construction of aircraft”.

AMTAS academic members include Oregon State University, Edmonds Community College, Florida International University and University of Utah. The AMTAS mission is to address safety and certification initiatives for existing, near- and long-term applications of composites and advanced materials for large transport commercial aircraft while working closely with industry.

‍COE for Airworthiness Assurance (AACE)

The AACE is composed of many academic and industry partners focusing on the key aviation issues such as maintenance, inspection, and repair, crashworthiness, propulsion and fuel systems safety technologies and advanced materials.

‍National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) More

“NCAR’s mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related physical, biological and social systems; to support, enhance and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community – nationally and internationally; and to foster transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth.”

University Aviation Association

The University Aviation Association (UAA) is the voice of collegiate aviation to its members, the industry, government and the general public. Through the collective expertise of its members, this nonprofit organization plays a pivotal role in the advancement of degree-granting aviation programs that represent all segments of the aviation industry. Today, UAA has more than 525 members, including 105 accredited colleges and universities. The current list of members can be found here.

Aviation Accreditation Board International

The Council on Aviation Accreditation can trace its beginnings back to 1974, when collegiate faculty concerned with academic standards for aviation programs set up the Academic Standards Committee in the University Aviation Association (UAA). This Committee was later divided into two subcommittees, one concerned with standards and articulation, the other with accreditation. Accreditation assures students and prospective employers that an educational degree program has met stringent industry standards of quality. It ensures that graduates have received quality training and education and are capable of performing a broad range of professional responsibilities.

‍Academia and NextGen ATC

NextGen ATC is a collaborative endeavor, and the FAA is working with aviation academic partners to lay the groundwork for successfully meeting both their mid- and long-term commitments. The FAA has initiated a community engagement strategy involving a new senior-level advisory panel, the NextGen Advisory Committee, representing the broader aviation community on issues involving air traffic, safety, airports, the environment and international harmonization. This includes the Embry-Riddle Next Generation Test Bed in Daytona Beach, Florida.

‍Training Methodologies and Pedagogies

The Professional Aviation Board of Certification

PABC is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing aviation safety by ensuring the pre-employment preparedness of pilots to enter the profession. To accomplish this, PABC proposes that the air transport industry adopt Global Professional Pilot Certification (GPPC) as part of ICAO's NGAP endeavor and IATA's ITQI. The GPPC is a process or scheme that involves standard setting, education and the certification (testing) of pilots to ensure that they are well-prepared to be hired by airlines and business operators.

The GPPC is an international certification program that helps ensure air transport safety by:

  • Setting pre-employment training standards for professional pilots.
  • Testing pilots to ensure they meet those standards.
  • Establishing criteria for keeping the certification current over time.
  • Administering the program in a manner that ensures the exam is fair, effective, current and secure.

The scope and depth of these new entry-level professional knowledge standards will be equivalent to or more rigorous than those specified by state regulators for the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) written examination. The GPPC exam will test candidates' technical and non-technical knowledge and their ability to effectively apply that information in dealing with generic operational situations. It will be:

  • Based on the standards used for development of ICAO's Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL).
  • Written and validated by highly experienced professional airline and business pilots, instructor pilots and evaluators.
  • Compliant with strict standard-setting, test design and administration criteria specified by the International Standards Organization in ISO Standards 17021 and 17024, which are the basis for certifying professional practitioners in many other high consequence career fields, such as health care, engineering, architecture, accounting, etc.

Next Generation of Aviation Professionals

The NGAP initiatives were launched to ensure that enough qualified and competent aviation professionals are available to operate, manage, and maintain the future international air transport system. This is critical as a large contingent of the current generation of aviation professionals will retire, access to affordable training and education is increasingly problematic, and aviation competes with other industry sectors for highly skilled professionals. The lack of harmonized competencies in some aviation disciplines, and a lack of awareness by the “next generation” of the types of aviation jobs available, will further compound the problem.

In the next 20 years, airlines will have to add 25,000 new aircraft to the current 17,000-strong commercial fleet. By 2026, we will need 480,000 new technicians to maintain these aircraft and over 350,000 pilots to fly them. Between 2005 and 2015, 73% of the American air traffic controller population is eligible for retirement

In 2009, ICAO established the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce, consisting of 29 representatives from industry, education and training providers, regulatory bodies and international organizations. Near-term objectives are to: inventory human resources planning data; identify and support initiatives to reach out to the next generation; and, find ways to harmonize training regulations. The Task Force will also support initiatives relating to the next generation of aviation professionals. Looking ahead, the following are planned:

  • In 2010, ICAO developed the ICAO Civil Aviation Training Policy that will allow the Organization to begin to endorse aviation-training institutions by the end of 2011.
  • By the end of 2011, the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Taskforce will complete the development of competencies for most of the Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing) functions including: airline transport pilots (ATPLs), air traffic controllers, and maintenance.

Along with all aviation-training stakeholders, ICAO is committed to creating an environment that will allow the next generation to lead in the development of aviation’s future. This includes maintaining active lines of communication with the students as the Next Generation of Aviation professionals.

AOPA Air Safety Institute & Foundation

The Air Safety Institute is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization promoting safety and pilot proficiency in general aviation through quality training, education, research, analysis, and the dissemination of information. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation (ASF) is the principal nongovernmental general aviation accident prevention, safety education, instructor training, and research organization.

ASF began a Human Factors Research department to provide information that made ASF's flight training programs even more relevant and safety-oriented. Under the current administration the ASF plays an increasing role in general aviation safety education, and ASF management spends considerable time serving on FAA, NASA, and special committees to provide technical and educational expertise from a general aviation perspective. Considerable support is lent to AOPA and the media when there is a high-profile accident. ASF won a Laurel Award from Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine for outstanding service to the industry in the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy Jr. accident. In addition, ASF has taken the lead in safety issues such as runway incursions, operations at non-towered airports, and the human factors and other challenges associated with the transition to GPS navigation. Other research in recent years has addressed such issues as personal computer-based training devices.

Available Career Fields for Students

While there are hundreds of different occupations within the aerospace industry, they can be simplified into four categories:
  • Scientists and Engineers
  • Technicians
  • Production Workers
  • Administrative Employees

Scientists and Engineers

Scientists and engineers are essential to keeping the U.S. aerospace industry competitive and technologically advanced in the global marketplace.
Scientists are chiefly concerned with research and the practical application of research knowledge. Engineers, although similarly engaged in research and practical applications, are generally involved in work of a more specific nature, such as designing a specific piece of equipment.

Scientists and engineers are involved in the following stages of aircraft production and manufacture: the design of new products such as components or entire engines; the manufacture and assembly of aircraft parts; research into solutions for complex engineering problems; maintenance of the finished craft to ensure safety and operational status.

Engineers of all types are in high demand because of the increasing complexity of systems and services. They may be working indoors in hangars and outdoors. If involved in the research and design stages, they will usually be working indoors in clean laboratories, although assembly, fitting and testing may be outdoors or in factory production areas.


Technicians have substantial knowledge of engineering, mathematics, and life sciences. Some might have college degrees while others are graduates of technical institutes, junior colleges, or vocational schools. Still others earn technical status by promotion from lower-skilled jobs and on-the-job training.

The technicians in aviation field are usually involved in regular servicing and repair of aircraft. They can also be involved in the research and design stages of components, and improvements to existing parts, fulfilling roles such as generating plans using CAD (computer-aided design) applications.

Production Workers

Production workers engage in product processing, fabrication, assembly, inspection, receiving, storing, packing, warehousing, shipping, plant maintenance, and plant security.

Some production positions are highly skilled, such as machinists, tool and die makers, mechanics, sheet metal workers, and electricians. Computer skills are required and higher-skilled craft jobs demand two to four years of experience. Some production workers get experience through apprenticeships along with a vocational or technical institute education.

Administrative Employees

People interested in a career in Aviation Administration certainly have their pick of possible jobs in this broad career field. Aviation Administrators might manage or design airports, help with airport security, handle air traffic control tasks or inspect and evaluate aircraft. Many Aviation Administrators work in management positions with corporate airlines, handling budgets, employment, marketing and other tasks.

Managing the many complex business operations that Aviation Administrators routinely encounter requires fundamental business knowledge, great people skills and impeccable organization. Knowing math, computer science and economics will also help advance an Aviation Administrator's career. Even if they have not been trained as pilots, Aviation Administrators must have at least a basic understanding of how aircraft work.

Knowledge of engineering and technology is useful for anyone working in a high technology industry like aerospace. A college degree is essential for jobs like contract manager, budget administrator, or strategic planner. A Master of Business Administration degree, generally known as an MBA, is essential for promotion to the upper levels of the administrative workforce.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that 94,000 jobs existed for transportation, storage and distribution managers of all kinds as of 2006. The BLS predicts job growth in this sector will be 'average' over the 2006-2016 decade; however, aviation experts anticipate expansion at airports throughout the country. (, an industry-specific website, quotes an average salary for Aviation Administrators of $71,203 in 2009.


There are career opportunities with private companies, ranging in scale from small employers to large international aerospace manufacturers and airline operators. Other employers include the Armed Forces, government departments and agencies, and regulatory authorities such as the Civil Aviation Authority. Many airlines have their own maintenance division, and training schemes and sponsorship schemes are available.

The Government’s Role in Growing the Aerospace Industry

A top priority of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is serving America’s workers by effectively meeting the workforce needs of business. Currently, the federal government invests over $15 billion each year through a nationwide network, the public workforce investment system, which provides employment, unemployment, and job training services across the United States. The President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative is tasked with developing opportunities in 12 high-growth industries, including the Aerospace Industry as a separate subset under the Advanced Manufacturing Industry.
The aerospace industry was selected for the President’s High Growth Job Training Initiative in large part because of its significant impact on the economy overall, as well as its impact on the growth of other industries. The President established a Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry to call attention to how the “critical underpinnings of this nation’s aerospace industry are showing signs of faltering—and to raise the alarm.” The aerospace industry is a powerful force within the U.S. economy and one of the nation’s most competitive industries in the global marketplace. It contributes over 15 percent to our Gross Domestic Product and supports over 15 million high-quality American jobs. Aerospace products provide the largest trade surplus of any manufacturing sector. Last year, more than 600 million passengers relied on U.S. commercial air transportation and over 150 million people were transported on general aviation aircraft. Over 40 percent of the value of U.S. freight is transported by air. Aerospace capabilities have enabled e-commerce to flourish with overnight mail and parcel delivery, and just-in-time manufacturing.

The Five Most Important Issues Facing the Domain

Issue One – Continue to Provide Research and Testing as the “Honest Broker”

Academia, particularly aviation-related academia, provides research for NextGen implementation from an “honest broker,” perspective, that is with no product agenda. But this research is contingent on continued government funding and support. With limited financial resources and the difficulty getting investment in technology beyond the 3-5 year point, this research role may become more limited (Hampton, 2011).

Issue Two – Producing Tomorrow’s Aviation Technologists and Leaders

The demand for technically-educated workers and leaders in the NextGen environment will be extreme. Universities must continue to produce graduates who are technically savvy through courses and programs that entice students, retain them and adequately train them for the environment. Funding programs provided by the Federal Government must be effectively utilized (Hampton, 2011).

Issue Three – Worldwide Academic Integration and Cooperation

As NextGen modernization continues internationally, aviation universities must cooperate on a global basis to ensure adequate knowledge sharing and gain a certain standardization of curricula so that graduates are useful and employable all over the world. Also, universities from around the globe can share research tasks to test the employment of NextGen technology in their respective environments (Hampton, 2011).

Issue Four – Aviation Sustainability

As air traffic continues to increase, stricter regulations are being passed in order to protect environmental conditions and maintain a green eco-system. Therefore, a sustainable aviation has become a critical topic among politicians and regulatory departments. Manufacturers are actively working on building quieter engines and lighter airplanes that produce less carbon dioxide. Moreover, universities and research facilities are working just as hard to find answers to key questions that hold the secret behind our future’s safety and sustainability. It is important that these universities are supported and provided with sufficient funds to aid in preparing for the future.

Issue Five – Unification of a Global Communication Network

Communication is a very important yet simple strategy that could aid nations in working together towards a safer aviation environment. Unfortunately, political and financial instabilities are two major barriers that stop nations from communicating with each other. This lack of communication and cooperation between countries could lead to significant delays in academic progress in various aviation fields. We are living in a period where we need all the support there is and in order to gain this support we have to communicate among each other. Building a strong global network will aid in advancing our academic knowledge in aviation research and technology.

Build 2

The second build of Academia attempts to peer into the the future and identify trends over the next 5 years and describe the environment in the year 2030. The Ph.D. in Aviation students of DAV 735, Spring 2012 semester, address these topics by answering the following questions:

Academia emerging trends over the next 5 years

  1. What is the current environment and trend in pilot training?
  2. Will the trend towards an increase in online offerings in aviation continue?
  3. Will the pedagogy continue to move towards the digital field or will a reversal occur?
  4. Will on-line degree programs be viewed as comparable to a “bricks and mortar” degree?
  5. Will Multi-Crew-Pilot (MPL) training catch on for flight training in the United States?

Academia domain in the year 2030

  1. Will there still be FBO’s in the U.S. catering to people interested in learning how to fly on a one-on-one basis?
  2. Will the cost to the individual force entities such as the airlines to include initial training as part of their hiring process, as is already the case in Europe and many other parts of the world where aviation services are privatized?
  3. What are examples of needed research that you expect to see in the 2030 time frame and why will it be needed?
  4. How can and will research compliment NAS modernization?

Academia emerging trends over the next 5 years

Describe the current environment of pilot training? Shareef Al-Romaithi

It has been widely known for the past decade or so that the population of pilots is in decline. While the current pilots in the work force are getting closer to retirement age, the rate of new joiners is continuously decreasing. To make the situation worse, present economic conditions are driving new graduates to other fields with promising future. Not only do pilots have difficult times finding a job after training, but they also have to pay for their training (Spangler, 2008). The career of a pilot is slowly losing its attraction.

While the population of pilots is decreasing, technological advancements in the aviation world are rising. From global positioning systems, to glass cockpits and autopilots, a single engine airplane equals the technology found in an airliner. Such advancements demand a completely new training program that would enable student pilots to cope with such technologies (Collins, 2000). Today, by the time a student pilot completes his/her private license and instrument rating, there is a very good possibility that most of the training was conducted in a simulator.

Different countries are handling flight training in a different manner that would cater to their needs and meet the required standards. Very often national airlines offer cadet pilot training that would suit their requirements and feed the airlines’ pilot pool. Airlines such as Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific are known for their reputable training programs. Their training curriculum are recognized for their effective outcomes. Such approach to training is very beneficial for student pilots who cannot afford the expenses of flight training.

‍‍‍‍Whether a training program is good or not, it is very important to establish a good foundation with a strict pilot selection process that ensures the following (IFALPA, 2011):

  • Educational background
  • Satisfactory co-ordination/psychomotor skills
  • Above average social/psychological skills‍‍‍‍

The aforementioned requirements are crucial for the overall safety of the carriers’ operations and must be fulfilled as part of a regulatory requirement. Such requirements along with the costs of pilot training may be the factors that limit the growth of the pilot population.

China, one of Asia’s leading nations, is facing a significant shortage in pilots. In 2005, there were 11,000 pilots flying more than 800 aircraft operated by various Chinese carriers. However, these figures are worrying to the Chinese authorities especially during a time when the country is in a steady economic boom. Reliance on foreign pilots is an inevitable option that Chinese carriers have to choose. China is predicted to contain the second biggest aviation market with more than 2,400 new aircraft to be delivered by 2030 (David, 2005).

China’s economic boom is facing a critical limitation that would have to force the government to rely on foreign pilots - an option the Chinese authorities are hesitant to rely on. But according to Boeing forecasters, China will need 55,000 captains over the next 20 years (David, 2005). Such limitations are causing government officials to speed up pilot training programs in order to feed airlines with pilots. There is currently only one flight training university in China providing carriers with 600 pilots every year.

China is not alone in this shortfall. Many Asian, European, and Middle Eastern airlines are experiencing a threatening shortage that is causing them to cancel flights. For example, there are about 10 to 12 aircraft being grounded due to lack of pilots in India on a regular basis. Since this is a common shortage among airlines, there is a global opportunity for civil aviation authorities to collaborate in formulating a sound training curriculum that would aid in supplying the aviation community with pilots (David, 2005).

Will the trend towards an increase in online offerings in aviation continue? Mond Buaphiban

The talent gap in the industry could be particularly severe in view of the expected wave of retirements within the U.S. aerospace and defense industry, according to a 2010 Workforce Study by Aviation Week magazine. The study found that in the larger companies surveyed (those with more than 100,000 employees), more than 30% of the workforce would be eligible to retire in 2012 and the percentage reaches nearly 40% by 2014. Another report - Airbus' Global Market Forecast for 2010-2029 - estimates that almost 26,000 new passenger jetliners and freighters will be needed to meet the rising demand for flight services. Naturally, the airline and airport industries too would need an adequate talent pipeline to maintain efficiency and excellence for their services. And distance learning seem to be one of the most popular choices for students since it provides access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance.
In 2008, 3.5 million students were participating in on-line learning at institutions of higher education in the United States. According to the Sloan Foundation reports, there has been an increase of around 12–14 percent per year on average in enrollments for fully online learning over the five years 2004–2009 in the US undergraduate system, compared with an average of approximately 2 per cent increase per year in enrollments overall. Allen and Seamen (2009) claimed that almost a quarter of all students in undergraduate education were taking online courses in 2008, and a report by Ambient Insight Research claimed that in 2009, 44 percent of undergraduate students in the USA were taking some or all of their courses online, and projected that this figure would rise to 81 percent by 2014. Thus it can be seen that e-learning is moving rapidly from the margins to being a predominant form of the college education, at least in the USA.

Airline and e-learning
The airline industry has, by definition, been a pioneer in e-learning. Physical flight simulators were used as far back as 1910, increased in use during World War I and accelerated massively during World War II. This long tradition of flight simulation has made it easier for the airline industry to see the benefits of e-learning but there are other strands of computer based learning that have also been tried. CBT (Computer Based Training) has been tried with varied success across a number of training tasks; technical, load control, cabin crew and so on. There were some very adventurous programs in the 80s and 90s, including ‘Creating First Impressions’ from British Airways that it used video and high levels of interactivity to simulate tickets check-in, baggage check-in, security and computer systems access. All of this has led most major airlines to adopt, to different degrees, e-learning strategies. Different airlines have taken different approaches to e-learning but almost every major airline has been involved in major e-learning initiatives. There are a number of case studies showing some different approaches to the implementation of e-learning within different airlines. For example, The Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training)Committee (AICC) has developed guidelines for aviation industry in the development, delivery, and evaluation of CBT and related training technologies to promote the economic and effective implementation of computer-based training (CBT).
Another example is that British Airways have an e-learning strategy that has stretching e-learning targets and a keen eye for optimal blends. E-learning is therefore a core issue in training and development. Furthermore, many airlines have very distinct and separate, departmental or operational training functions. Some, such as Cathay Pacific had eight separate training centers.

Future of e-learning in airline industry
Schooley (2008) claimed that up to 40% of the airline training was done by e-learning in 2008. She also stated that e-learning was a win-win for both the airlines and their employees as it was: cost-effective, consistent, fast, and reliable. It gave employees the benefits of less travel to headquarters for classes and the ability to learn where and when they wanted to learn. Her evidence showed that some airlines expected to move 40% or more of their learning online by 2008. This has been accelerated by recent FAA approval of more online training course content for maintenance staff, flight attendants, and pilots. The bottom line is that this is a bottom line issue with millions being saved in costs through e-learning is driving adoption by airlines.
“The whole dynamic of airline economics is being pushed online, both externally and internally. The cost pressures are extreme and there is a sense of urgency on cost avoidance that one doesn’t see to the same degree in other industries. One can only see an increased use of e-learning in areas that are appropriate. As an airline is a complex and multi-skilled environment, there are literally hundreds of tasks that can be seen as appropriate.” (Clark, 2009, p.20)

Will the pedagogy continue to move towards the digital field or will a reversal occur? Jim Cistone

‍‍‍‍This is a difficult question to answer without a crystal ball. Looking at the second part of the sentence, it is fairly clear that a reversal will not occur, technology has moved forward so fast in the last 20-years, that teaching strategies have not reverted, just advanced. Will the future remain digital is the real question to be addressed, or will some other new paradigm replace digital? However, it seems incomprehensible that we would back away from the digital age to paper, pencils, and chalk boards.
In the 1990s, the future was on multimedia, use of computers with video and sound to accomplish training. At the turn of the 21st century, the focus was on the World Wide Web; almost anything you want is available on the web. As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, the focus is on mobile. You don’t need to sit at your desk to access information, it is available in hand.
In the future, the trend seems to be moving toward more self-learning, at one’s own pace, through digital and computer aided training. As mentioned before, training is as far away as your Droid, and as the web matures from an information source to a source of intelligence, it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a teacher at the chalkboard again. Not that we won’t have speakers, symposium, but digital media will be used to communicate graphics and videos.
We could witness the arrival of effective “intelligent tutor systems‟ (ITS) where each student has a tailored learning system (Sleeman & Brown, 1982). Like GPS, the system would monitor a learner’s position and aims, and suggest activities to assist progression. Not only would this paradigm work in formal; education, but also in training. For example, an air traffic control system operator sits at a console with one or more displays, a keyboard entry device, and a mouse or track ball entry system. The prime focus of the person is to assure the safe and expeditious conduct of aircraft through the system, and the automaton is a tool to assist the controller. Often, interaction with the automation becomes an arduous task because of the manner of design for the human interface. If this interface were automatically adaptable and could adjust to the controller’s ability, preferences, mistakes, and desires, the interaction would be much more efficient and productive.
The intelligent tutor system could be applied to aviation in the form of flight training. A flight student could begin their initial training in a simulator. The intelligent tutor would guide them through the aspects of flight allowing the student to experiment and learn on his or her own, crashing the aircraft as many times as is necessary (and without any physical harm to the student or observers). In fact, a full motion simulator would reinforce G loads when the student errs in maneuvers. This interaction could continue indefinitely until the student was ready to take the controls of a real aircraft. However, at that time, the aircraft pilot may be sitting at the next work station, so the student could experience the real aircraft by sliding his chair across the floor.‍‍‍‍

Will on-line degree programs be viewed as comparable to a “bricks and mortar” degree? Harold Townsend

Online education is becoming more common. The invention of personal computers has provided a medium for many to become students or continue education when the typical “brick and mortar” classroom setting was not possible. It has been found that online courses tend to have higher dropout rates and that successful online students indicate they are “equally or more satisfied” with their courses when compared with traditional environments (Adams, 2008). While online learning is not for everyone, often determined by age, learning style and motivation, there appears to be no significant difference in test-score achievement (Adams, 2008).
In a study conducted to determine whether gatekeepers, those making hiring decisions, view online degrees as having the same value as those conducted in a residential setting the results suggest there was a difference (Adams, 2008). The results did not determine that on-line education was inferior due to quality but that when given the choice, a gatekeeper preferred a traditional degree.
Considering the quality of education is comparable based on test scores (Adams, 2008), this perception may be expected to change by the 2030 timeframe as on-line education becomes more prevalent. The lack of acceptability was partially attributed to the perception that face-to-face contact with instructors is an important aspect to quality education (Adams, 2008). Hybrid programs where instruction is completed online and face-to-face visits are conducted in a traditional classroom environment may improve the acceptability of the education.
Technology continues to advance rapidly. By 2030, the mediums for education may be much more advanced. Possible avenues for education include holographic projection systems to add the face-to-face interaction that is perceived as lacking in today’s on-line programs (Adams, 2008). Another future computer instruction method may include tutoring programs that tailor the instruction based on student scores, where each lesson is different depending on how the student performed, adjusting pace and level of difficulty (Adams, 2008).
Future education mediums will increase the perception of equal comparability among education settings and focus gatekeepers attention on the issues the truly determine education quality: academic honesty, social presence and validity of awarded degree (Adams, 2008).

Will Multi-Crew-Pilot (MPL) training catch on for flight training in the United States? David Freiwald

‍‍‍‍The Multi-Crew Pilot License is a new pilot qualification that was established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) ‍‍‍‍specifically for airline co-pilots in 2006. (ICAO, 2012)‍‍‍‍

MPL pilots must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum of 240 hours of flight training, and 750 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction. MPL is a significant development in training professional pilots. It represents the first time in 30 years that ICAO has significantly reviewed the standards for the training of flight crew. In states where this license has been deployed, cost are typically borne by the airline hiring a cadet pilot, often with some sort of training bond or contractual obligation to the applicant (IFALPA, 2005).

The new license was incorporated into ICAO Annex 1 (Personnel Licensing) in November 2006. It is based on the recommendations of ICAO's flight crew licensing training panel (FCLTP/2) who held a series of meetings on MPL during 2004 and 2005. The meetings were prompted by calls from industry for better ways to train co-pilots amid mounting evidence that deficits in teamwork were major contributors to airline accidents. The MPL is designed to develop the abilities needed to fly multi-crew airline airplanes. Compared to traditional training pathways it makes greater use of simulators, adopts competency-based-training methods and further applies human factors and threat and error management in all phases of training (CASA, 2011).

Traditional training methods emphasize independence and individual skills. While appropriate for single-pilot operations, they can impede the transfer to multi-crew operations. Pilots moving to work in airlines have needed bridging training, or multi-crew coordination training, in most states outside the US. ICAO has also issued a set of procedures for training that shift the focus from prescriptive flying hour requirements to competency-based training and assessment. The procedures put more emphasis on simulator training including the use of simulated air traffic control. Pilots will still be able to take the traditional pathway to qualifying to fly as co-pilot, progressing from the private pilot license through the commercial license to the air transport pilot license (IFALPA, 2005).

The MPL was incorporated into the European pilot licensing regulations on December 1, 2006. Other countries with MPL initiatives include Germany, China, Canada, the Philippines, Australia, and Singapore (CASA, 2011b).

Alteon, which has taken a leading role in moving MPL forward, says it may reduce the time required to put a non-pilot into the right seat of a 737 from 30 months to just 13-15 months. "The MPL creates a parallel process in becoming an air transport-rated pilot," says VP-First Officer Program Marsha Bell. "You don't have to first become a master in a piston single or twin before moving on." The objective is to train pilots in a multicrew cockpit environment from the outset. Better training methods produce better pilots in less time, Bell says. According to the Boeing subsidiary, airlines will need to hire some 367,600 pilots17,000 per year between 2005 and 2024 just to support new aircraft deliveries. The need is most acute in India, Southeast Asia, China and the Middle East, which collectively will add some 82,000 pilots over the forecast period. MPL advocates cite a lack of infrastructure in those regions to support pilot training as well as the established route of pilot advancement from general aviation to business to commercial aircraft. "The traditional approach simply cannot adequately meet the demand for new pilots required for the industry's anticipated growth in the years ahead," says Chris Schroeder, IATA Assistant Director-Flight Operations, who has worked closely with ICAO in developing the MPL license (Schroeder & Harms, 2009).

MPL proponents liberally use terms like quality time, concentrated curriculum and follow-through when explaining the need to change the methodology for training pilots. They claim the curriculum differs from traditional methods in that it is operationally oriented, giving pilots instruction on a continuing basis by mixing simulation, modeling and actual flying. Utilizing technology can expedite and "facilitate the making of airline pilots" by focusing on the requisite skills needed to fly a given aircraft, says Jeff Roberts, CAE group president-civil training and services. "We give the students the equivalent of three and four years of flying in a concentrated training environment."

"MPL is not that much different from the ab initio training programs in Europe," Schroeder assures. With traditional training methods, a lot of "useless" time is involved. "The hours flying solo in a single-engine aircraft did us no good when we went to the airlines," he states. He believes MPL is a more appropriate method of training pilots for today's highly automated transports.
(Schroeder & Harms, 2009)

Pilot groups, which support the basic thrust of MPL, understandably are concerned about the greater reliance on simulators versus actual flight. IFALPA is yet to be convinced that MPL provides "sufficient guarantees" safeguarding present training standards, or that it meets or exceeds the current level of safety. It says that "if applied correctly and subject to careful monitoring," MPL could become a quality alternative training program over traditional licensing methods. If applied haphazardly "in response to cost or time pressures," it could have a "detrimental impact on flight safety." (Schroeder & Harms, 2009)

Academics wonder if MPL is truly necessary and whether it could become part of a standard curriculum at colleges and universities. For the US and Canada, which have well-developed systems for producing pilots, "MPL doesn't serve a need," says Cass Howell, of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. FAA's Flight Standards division provided this curt statement regarding MPL: "We have not adopted the multicrew license concept, nor has Flight Standards received a management directive to initiate rulemaking to adopt the multicrew license." (Moorman, 2009)

Putting a low-time pilot in the right seat of a commercial transport concerns Howell, who describes MPL as a still-unproven product. It is doubtful that ERAU or other colleges or universities with four-year aeronautical degrees will sign off on it until a thorough study has been performed and/or the results of the beta test programs of CAE and Alteon are evaluated (Moorman, 2009).

Despite these concerns, numerous training organizations are considering the program, says Henry Defalque, technical officer in ICAO's licensing and operations office. Five flight schools in Europe and Asia are interested in developing an MPL curriculum, including Asia-Pacific Aeronautical Resources Group Ltd. (Moorman, 2009).

Australia has taken the lead in terms of certifying a program. India, China, Singapore and Malaysia are moving toward certification but have yet to set any dates.

Regardless of opinion, MPL is a significant development in training professional pilots. It represents the first time in 30 years that ICAO seriously has reviewed the standards for the training of flight crew. Despite concerns over safety and need, it will become part of the training landscape if the early work is any indication. The critical pilot shortage in Asia in particular will smooth the path for acceptance. But it remains to be seen if it will be embraced worldwide or will be a regional phenomenon.‍‍‍‍

Academia domain in the year 2030

Will there still be FBO’s in the U.S. catering to people interested in learning how to fly on a one-on-one basis? Chris Broyhill

This is a difficult question to answer directly. Perhaps instead, the focus should be on two issues.
1) Will there be a demand for pilot training in the future?
2) Who will be providing that training?
Will there be a demand for pilot training?
Perhaps the question above could be more correctly stated as: will there be a demand for trained pilots in the future? The answer is a resounding yes but the evidence is not just affirmative, it is alarming. The number of active pilots has dropped from approximately 827,000 in 1981 to 594,285 in 2009 with a decline of incoming student pilots from 200,000 to 73,000 in the same time frame (Thurber, 2011a). Of the 60,000 airline pilots in the USA today, around 37,000, nearly two-thirds, are due to retire between 2012 and 2017 and when the US economy recovers, the airlines will hire all available graduates, instructors and furloughed pilots, but then fall short (Doyle, 2011) Last year, as part of its annual market outlook, Boeing published a crew assessment forecast noted a need for 466,650 pilots over the next 20 years just to fly new and replacement airline aircraft, an average of 23,300 new pilots per year from 2010 to 2029, an assessment that doesn’t take the needs of general aviation into account (Thurber, 2011b). Given the fact that a significant percentage of new airline pilots that come from the ranks of GA training schools, the overall need for the worldwide aviation industry will be far greater as Table 1 below shows.

Table 1
Boeing Forecast of Worldwide Airline Pilot Requirements for the Next 20 Years
Region / Country
Pilot Requirement
N. America
Middle East
Latin America
Adapted from “General Aviation Proves Its Value,” by M. Thurber, 2011, Aviation International News Online, Copyright 2012 by AIN Online.
Figure 1 below, taken from Duggar, Smith, and Harris, provides a look at the requirement for US Air Carriers over approximately the same time frame and presents a dire prediction of the impending pilot shortage when the production rate of airline transport pilot (ATP) qualified personnel is taken into account.


Figure 1. Taken from “International supply and demand for U. S. trained commercial airline pilots,” by J.W. Duggar J W Smith B J Harrison J International supply and demand for U. S. trained commercial airline pilots. Duggar, B.J. Smith and J. Harrison, (no date) from Journal of Aviation Management and Education, p. 6. Copyright by the Academic and Business Research Institute, no date.

The data above, albeit somewhat cursory, paint a compelling picture. The demand for pilots over the next twenty years will be significant and the current rate of ATP production will not satisfy it.
Who will be providing the training?
Until the 1990s, roughly 90 percent of the pilots hired by major U.S. carriers came from the U.S. military with only about ten percent being drawn from civilian aviation but today these hiring percentages have nearly reversed due to military active duty training commitments rising from six to almost twelve years (Duggar et al., nd). An additional issue in the pilot training equation has been the regulatory changes regarding first officer qualification for the airlines. Prior to 2010, a first officer could have previously held a commercial pilot’s license with a 250 hour criteria, but according to legislation passed by the US Senate in 2010, all airline pilots must now hold an ATP license, which requires a minimum of 1,500 hours (Doyle, 2011). So now, not only does the industry have to find more qualified candidates but also must do so without the previous influx of military pilots it once enjoyed.
Where will we find tomorrow’s pilots? According to some industry experts, it is the collegiate and private-academy flight-training programs that have taken up the slack and will continue to be the primary provider of pilots indefinitely (Lombardo, 2008). But these programs may not be enough. But even these sources may not provide enough pilots to fill the required cockpits and the US airlines may to do what their European counterparts have been doing for years, train their own supply of pilot applicants through ab initio programs (Goglia, 2010). Lufthansa has operated an ab initio program for years at its sites in Goodyear, Arizona and Bremen, Germany, only uses direct entry pilots when its ab initio supply runs short (Gubisch, 2012). While British Airways doesn’t operate ab initio facilities, it does fund a limited number of training programs for pilot trainees and offers bank guarantees for training cost loans for other pilot trainees (Gubisch, 2012). Now Delta Airlines is considering its mechanism to train future pilots through a conceptual program called the Civil Airline Training Program or CAPT (Croft, 2011). Currently engaged in discussions with potential sponsors about the program’s implementation, Delta would mainly look to high-tier college aviation programs as a means of cultivating pilots and would build its program to include advanced jet simulator training such that its graduates would be on a par with graduates from military training programs Croft, 2011).
But these programs beg a follow-on question – if the airlines will look to advanced collegiate training programs to provide potential pilots, where will the pilots who will do the training come from? In the current manner in which US civilian pilots rise through the ranks, major carriers recruit pilots from the regional carriers and the regionals recruit flying instructors from the very organizations that the airlines themselves may need to train future pilots – a practice which essentially cannibalizes the industry of the instructors needed to hire new pilots (Learmount, 2010). While the recent rule change to require a minimum of 1,500 hours for airline pilots will delay the cannibalization process somewhat, the constant turnover in instructors could have serious safety consequences for the quality of pilot training, a consequence the FAA is already looking into (Learmount, 2010).
But what of the smaller flight schools found at fixed-base operators and smaller airports? Time will tell. The demand for pilots will definitely exist but with the increasingly stringent training standards required for commercial pilots, smaller operators may not be able to operate to the level necessary to ensure the quality required.

Will the cost to the individual force entities such as the airlines to include initial training as part of their hiring process, as is already the case in Europe and many other parts of the world where aviation services are privatized? Don Jackson

What is the question here? Is it the soaring costs associated to aviation training? Is it a question of efficiency and effectiveness of airline initial aviation training? Or is it a question about the composition of aviation training in general, especially in the future? All of these questions are significant as one examines the future of aviation training in the year 2030.
One can certainly find a plethora of writers willing to speculate about the future of aviation, especially where the aviation professional is concerned. Many speculate the number of flights will nearly double, just as a function of the number of people on the planet and the globalization of the marketplace. Boeing’s Current Market Outlook, published in September 2011, argues a long-range forecast anticipating delivery of 33,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years (Boeing, 2011). Even when the common skeptic argues the volatility of the aviation market, Boeing responds:
Although volatile fuel costs, political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, and unresolved government debt in many industrialized economies create risk of a renewed downturn, commercial aviation has weathered such shocks to the system in the past. Recovery has followed each event as the industry reliably returned to its long-term growth rate of approximately 5 percent per year. We see that same resilience come into play as airlines have skillfully managed capacity to maintain profitability in face of the variety of challenges that have beset the industry as the world economy emerges from the global recession. (Boeing, 2011)
The 2011 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook indicates that by 2030 the global aviation industry will require 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 650,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians. To meet the demand for new pilots, Boeing estimates that the training industry will need a minimum of 1,200 new pilot instructors every year for the next twenty years.
Boeing forecasts the need for tens of thousands of flight instructors over the next 20 years to meet demands for new capable and well-qualified airline pilots worldwide. "We must advance the training profession in order to attract and retain the passionate and competent talent needed to train the vast numbers of aviation personnel required," said Roei Ganzarski, chief customer officer, Boeing Flight Services (Boeing, 2011). "We need to train them in a way that is adaptable to a generation steeped in mobile and on-line technology." Boeing research into pilot training around the world highlights the critical role an instructor plays in the learning and performance of pilots. "It should no longer be about an instructor's number of flying hours. The next wave of professional instructors should place greater emphasis on student aptitude to ensure students reach their fullest potential," Ganzarski said.
Whether it is the daunting numbers of pilots and maintainers allegedly required by 2030, there is another fundamental truth. Undeniably, today’s pilots, maintainers, and aircraft are getting older by the minute. As the wave of new recruits are sought to replace the aging professionals, airlines are struggling with how to train them or what to require as a baseline capability. According to Cavorite Aviation, complete Professional Pilot training will cost about $72,000 on average. This author speculates this figure to be light given the rising costs of operating aviation training and the improvements and upgrades to the fleet of trainers. As the airline fleets are replaced by new more modern and sophisticated aircraft, the level of training and type of trainers required for aviation professionals will also evolve. Airplane manufacturers and the aviation industry must keep pace with technology, including online and mobile computing, in order to match the learning styles of tech-savvy pilots and technicians. The growing diversity of pilots and maintenance technicians in training will require instructors to have cross-cultural and cross-generational skills in addition to digital training tools and up-to-date knowledge of the airplanes. Training programs will need to be tailored to enable airplane operators to gain the optimum advantage of the innovative features offered on the latest generation of airplanes. (Boeing, 2011)
An additional concern of the industry relates to the upkeep of the aging fleet as the new fleet is brought onboard. If training assumes a digital mobile environment to accelerate and abbreviate the training periods, how will the industry manage the aging fleet of aircraft, pilots, and maintainers? There will come a decision point for the airlines where keeping the old is just not cost effective anymore, regardless of how much life is left in them.
Aircraft manufacturers like Boeing are reaching out around the world to establish training centers specifically aimed at supporting their evolving market. The goal is to provide a product for the airlines to facilitate the change over to the newer aircraft. Even though new training facilities have emerged in the Gulf, the region is not graduating the number of pilots necessary to accommodate growth and retirements. US-based aviation analyst Ernest S Arvai, president and CEO of The Arvai Group, an aviation consultancy, emphasized that, "the pilot requirements for Gulf carriers will continue to grow, and unfortunately, at a faster rate than local Gulf pilots can be trained.” (GATE, 2011) He added that typically an airline needs "seven to nine flight crews per aircraft" to accommodate scheduling and rest periods required by regulations. Gulf carriers need to establish additional training academies and find locals to train to meet these critical requirements," he said.
Hence, it appears that even the airlines and the aircraft manufacturers are unable to keep abreast of the training requirement. It seems then that the presence of the private training establishment will not disappear, but will in fact get stronger. The need far outweighs the capabilities of even the airlines and the aircraft manufacturers. Yet, while current statistics are very promising, airlines keep the requirements for new pilots as strict as ever. It is highly unlikely that they will lower the bar in the future either. After all, an impeccable reputation of the company should never be at stake.
What many institutions like Baltic Aviation are leaning towards is tailoring the training to the airline. In other words, designing one’s CV to match the needs of the airline. Even still, is it necessary for a new copilot to possess an ATPL? Many are urging the immediate review of the adoption of a new course of training by implementing the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MCPL). With a dramatically lower requirement for entry into the right seat and revolutionary new digital and mobile synthesized training devices, the market seems to be adjusting itself to the reality of supply and demand. Introducing new technologies to the training paradigm could alleviate the shortfall projected and provide training institutions with a methodology to accommodate the market. The key will be the regulators and how this new paradigm is shaped in order to ensure quality not just quantity. The fundamental key to its success is the meticulous care needed to cultivate a cadre of instructors that possess cross-cultural and cross-generational skills, in addition to the digital training tools and comprehensive up-to-date knowledge of the airplanes.

What are examples of needed research that you expect to see in the 2030 time frame and why will it be needed? Bill Tuccio

Some Useful Demographics
An interesting note, though not directly related to academia and 2030, are demographics available here ( ) from 2004 National Science Board report:
  • After the federal government, academia is the next largest producer of research and development support;
  • ‍‍‍‍The academic sector performs half of the basic research performed in the U.S (National Science Board, 2004).
Commercial Space Transportation
Commercial space transportation offers many research areas for academia. A key stakeholder in this area, the Center of Excellence (COE) - Commercial Space Transportation (CST) (FAA, ). The research areas listed by the COE-CST are:
  • Space Traffic Management and Launch Operations
  • Launch Vehicle Operations, Technologies & Payloads
  • Human Spaceflight
  • Space Transportation Industry Viability
  • Cross Cutting Research Areas
These areas are shown in Figure 1 and are likely candidates into 2030.
Figure 1. From FAA COE-CST, First Annual Report (2011), p. 4.
This academia based stakeholder, the COE-CST, is a member of the FAA Office Commercial Space Transportation (AST). The AST is tasked by US Code to regulate commercial space transportation in the areas of safety and national security and encourage commercial space launches and re-entries by the private sector(FAA Center of Excellence Commercial Space Transportation (COE-CST), 2011).

COE – General Aviation
As build 1 discussed, COEs provide an interface between government, academia, and industry (FAA, 2011). The FAA COE for General Aviation office lists a number of general aviation areas, all of which could be candidates for 2030 academia research:
  • ADS-B
  • Airport Technology (i.e., signage)
  • Continued Airworthiness (Lee, 2011) (i.e., fatigue concerns of general aviation aircraft)
  • Human Factors (Herschler, 2011)Quantitative risk assessment methods;
    • Task performance for aircrew, inspectors, maintenance, etc. personnel
    • Error Management Strategies
    • Regulatory guidance.
    • Propulsion Structures
    • Systems Safety Management (SSM) (Lapointe, 2011)
      • Analyze ASIAS generated information;
        • Focus: information sharing activities
  • Terminal area safety of operations;
  • UAS. Examples include (May, 2011):
    • NAS performance;
    • Sense and Avoid;
    • Control and Communications;
    • Human Factors;
    • NAS Integration;
    • Systems safety criteria for lethal systems.

A key technology of NextGen is DataComm, described as a digital exchange on information between pilots and controllers. There is ongoing research into the human-machine interface (HMI), equipage levels, flight management systems integration, as well as the changing roles of pilots and controllers (Willems, Hah, & Schulz, 2010)
The research opportunity for Academia in the 2030 timeline focuses on research areas related to DataComm. Willems et al. (2010) ‍‍‍‍suggest seven broad areas of DataComm research‍‍‍‍, any one of which could fall under the domain of academia. The broad areas include human-machine interface; equipage levels; best-equipped, best-served; flight management system integration; data communications failures; round-trip delay times; and roles and responsibilities. In each of these areas there are significant opportunities for academia based research.

Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF) (Traffic)
The TAF models are being modernized to provide more detailed information. This new information will provide richer data for exploration for academia. Whereas the older generation TAF provided only annual numbers, the new TAF will provide quarterly data (Bhadra, 2010). The new system is designed to provide NAS modelers with more robust data.

‍‍‍‍African Aviation
‍‍‍‍While African aviation may fall under the global domain, and there are no stakeholders listed under the Build 1/Academia, Africa has potential for academic research. As Christina Frederick-Recascino noted, universities do collaborate across country domains providing venues for African aviation research (Hampton, 2011).
The African region has neglected aviation as a reflection of historical poverty, political strife, and corruption. However, as the agriculture area is poised for growth as part of the “Feed the Future” initiative, infrastructure may follow. The air traffic patterns which were predominantly North/South are shifting to East/West as one visible sign of growth (O'Toole, 2012).
As Africa aviation grows, their lack of infrastructure allows them to skip generations of technology, such as skipping radar and going to satellite based navigation. This as well as privatization; changing the perspectives on airports from a cash “cow” or expense to that of a resource; improving airport security; and staff training (O'Toole, 2012) are all areas where academia may find research opportunities.

In addition to the macro research opportunities, as aviation infrastructure increases, the need for flight training should also increase. Increased flight training will provide additional opportunities for aviation training schools within academia. One example school in South Africa is AptracAviation ( It is beyond the scope of this wiki to list all the schools and variants within Africa, however there are some websites that provide socially created lists of flight schools, such as Flight Schools South Africa (

‍‍‍‍Laser Propulsion and Space Debris
‍‍‍‍Academia has researched the idea of laser propulsion for over three decades (David, 2009). This concept uses ground or space based lasers as an energy source to power vehicles. Laser propulsion has been proposed as a directed energy approach for everything from space launches to cleaning up space debris. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is one place in academia looking into beamed energy propulsion. According to a 2010 paper, RPI setup a Laser Propulsion Laboratory which can aid in the study of beamed energy propulsion ( (Salvador, Kenoyer, Myrabo, & Notaro, 2010).

NextGen Research and Development Center of Excellence (COE)
Late breaking during the creation of this wiki, Congress passed, and the President signed, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. A key provision of this bill was the permission for the FAA to create a new COE for NextGen Research and Development (FAA-Reauth-HR658). This may provide significant financial and research opportunities for academia.

How can and will research compliment NAS modernization? Scottie Raetzman

‍‍‍‍NAS modernization to accommodate future technologies and the FAA’s vision for NextGen requires research on a multitude of levels. A lot of focus is on the ATC network and the decentralization of control systems for the de-conflicting of aircraft operations within the NAS.
Air Traffic Management (ATM) is concept currently under research and development that allows for free flight; which permits each aircraft to plan its own four dimensional flight trajectories in real time (Tomlin, Pappas, Kosecka, Lygeros, & Sastry, 1998). This allows for aircraft self-de-conflicting in the most efficient manner possible. The current framework of the NAS is rigid and inefficient (Tomlin, Pappas, Kosecka, Lygeros, & Sastry, 1998). Hybrid systems that integrate automated control into an ATC test environment allow for new control systems to develop into the proposed ATM framework. This type of test integration has already shown the benefits of decentralization in tested air space by NASA (Erzberger, 2004).
NASA’s research into the Advanced Airspace Concept (AAC) has been focused on safely and efficiently handling separation and traffic density in the NAS. The capacity of the en route and transition (arrival/departure) airspace of the current system is limited by the controller workload (Erzberger, 2004). The AAC utilizes an air-ground link and highly complex systems processing that allow the transmission of trajectories directly between ground-based processing and aircraft traversing the NAS. The systems also handles separation management, in-flight course correction and approach control. In the early phases of implementation the system could produce a 25% increase in landing rates at heavily trafficked airports (Erzberger, 2004). The real proof however, is in the actual systems test concept in real world applications.
NextGen air and ground operations with ground-based separation assurance have been intregrated, tested and evaluated with pilots and ground controllers in the loop at the NASA Ames Research Center (Prevot, Homola, Mercer, Mainini, & Cabrall, 2009). The system monitors the trajectories of all aircraft up to 2x and 3x densities within the local airspace. Initial results for the system test show a reduced operator work load and more efficient trajectory management for material separation. Figure 1 shows the local ATC traffic at 3x for a standard operating day. Figure 2 shows the same local ATC with the application of decentralized control and monitoring. Off-nominal operations (one requiring operator input) are highlightes , nominal operations with automated trajectory commands for separation are non-highlighted. Controller work load is greatly decreased, 95% of uplinked automated trajectory commands were accepted by pilots and the system was able to resolve over 98% of all conflict in 2x and 3x conditions (Prevot, Homola, Mercer, Mainini, & Cabrall, 2009). This is the first step into a fully integrated automated air and ground control system.
Research has and will continue to compliment NAS modernization. Current research shows a large increase in efficiency with decentralized control operations. Based on the current state of successful application future research promises to develop a highly automated and efficient NAS.‍‍‍‍

Figure 1: Current Controller Display with 3x Traffic (NASA, 2009)

Figure 2: NASA’s Experimental Controller Display at 3x Traffic (NASA, 2009)

Academia Summary

To describe the future of academia in aviation the contributors of this wiki have researched questions that seek to identify emerging trends over the next five years and understand how academia may appear in the year 2030. According to research and student imagination, the future of Academia includes:
  • A strong demand for pilots, especially in growing economies such as China.
  • E-learning will grow as a training medium for aviation employees as the trend continues toward a digital environment.
  • Online degree programs will continue to gain reputability and methods for learning will improve with advancement of technology.
  • Mult-crew pilot training will remain strong in airline training facilities while its acceptance in the U.S. is based on further research.
  • Future research areas of commercial space transportation, African aviation and alternative propulsion systems.
  • Further research in decentralizing air-traffic control to increase efficiency.


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