Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Huerta recently announced that the agency has selected Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to lead the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for Technical Training and Human Performance.
“This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge field of research,” Huerta said. “We expect this team will help us educate and train aviation professionals well into the future.”
The FAA is expected to invest at least $5 million over the next five years in this partnership, with Embry-Riddle heading a team of top-tier academic research institutions and more than 20 industry partners, including the FAA’s NextGen Florida Test Bed at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach.
Embry-Riddle will lead research and development on technical training for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, engineers, pilots and technicians that focuses on human performance, using part-task trainers, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation, and adaptive-learning technologies that are found in other technical workforces. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning and new ways of collecting and managing training data.
“Partnering with the FAA, our team will bring world-class training, education and research in air traffic control and aviation human factors areas to bear on the transformation of Air Traffic Organization technical training,” said Dr. Alan Stolzer, associate dean for research and graduate studies and chairman of the Department of Doctoral Studies at Embry-Riddle.
The FAA expects that the COE will be operational and engaged in a robust research agenda within the next few months. In addition to the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence, the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach Campus is also a core member of the FAA’s Center of Excellence in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and NextGen Programs at the Florida Test Bed.
Unfortunately, the new enterprise may not lead to many new jobs, according to program lead Stolzer, who said students and faculty will conduct most of the research generated by the new COE.
“I would not anticipate significant new jobs to be created in the community,” Stolzer said. “Perhaps an occasional position to support a particular research project, but these would be sporadic.”