Airline Memorization Games: Technology Transfer

July 2014
Topics: Air Traffic Management, Technical Training, Professional Certification and Licensing
Jimmy Vu, The MITRE Corporation
David Winokur, The MITRE Corporation
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Effective training for air traffic controllers is a critical component of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) mission of providing a safe and efficient national aerospace system. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) training program must address the training needs of newly hired controllers (students), ongoing refresher and skill enhancement training for Certified Professional Controllers (CPCs), and new technology and procedures training for students and CPCs. The current ATC training practices and methods have not kept pace with advancements in training technology and design. They continue to rely heavily on instructor-led classroom training augmented with basic computer-based instruction and high-fidelity simulation. As a result, training for students and CPCs is costly, inefficient, subjective, and inconsistent. The current training system also does not have the flexibility or adaptability necessary to meet the need for training new technologies which may reduce the expected benefit of acquisitions. The need for improved training will only become more critical as the FAA hires and trains nearly 12,000 controllers over the next 10 years, while continuing with the incremental implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

To position ATC training to better meet current and future needs, The MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development and the FAA have been conducting research for a number of years to identify technology improvements and process changes that will enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, availability, and quality of training and provide flexibility to deal with frequently changing automation capabilities and procedures. Using various training prototype platforms, MITRE has evaluated a broad range of training capabilities at en route and terminal facilities and demonstrated the benefits of incorporating advanced training technology into ATC training.

One of the findings of MITRE’s training research is that there are significant benefits to be gained by using interactive game technology and design to support student learning and long-term retention of basic ATC facility data such as airline information. This document presents the specifications for a set of airline memorization games designed to teach students the company name, callsign, and three-letter identifier for each airline that traverses their facility. The games are part of a suite of airline training capabilities that were proven to be beneficial through field evaluation at multiple facilities. The information provided in this document is intended to support the transfer of the game technology to the FAA in order to facilitate the acquisition and integration of these beneficial capabilities into the ATC training system.


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