Jul 25, 2023
The aviation industry has long relied upon highly specialised skills, technical and mechanical applications and critical calculations in which technology has played a key role. The use and development of new aviation technology has gradually progressed over time to the point where it has now become an absolute necessity, both within aircraft operation and the pilot training process.
These advances in aviation technology have allowed pilots to utilise real-world simulation for a wide range of flight scenarios and conditions, access live weather and positional information, and much much more, resulting in significantly advanced levels of flight training and, ultimately – better pilots!
Technology In Aviation
The ability to collect and analyse significantly large amounts of data than previously possible means pilots have access to a phenomenal amount of real-time information, which can help provide access to complex simulated training situations, reduce training costs and tremendously improve safety controls within all aspects of the industry. Some of these technological advances include:
Cutting Edge Simulators
One of the most prominent advancements in the history of pilot training is the use of highly specialised flight simulators. Modern simulation technology used for training purposes enables existing pilots and trainee pilots to improve their performance under a variety of conditions and scenarios. Replicating the look and feel of real aircraft inflight conditions, simulators are perfect for pilots to practice manoeuvres and techniques while also honing situational awareness and other human factor-related skills, refining their abilities in a safe and controlled environment.
Simulators also mean differences in how pilots are able to be assessed during flight training. In the past, inflight assessments were predominantly based on whether the pilot could fly the aircraft and perform basic manoeuvres. Flight simulators mean pilots can be assessed on a much more comprehensive range of flight conditions and scenarios, testing the limits and capabilities of both the pilot and the various aircraft while also providing instructors with more accurate information about the pilot’s abilities.
Advanced Flight Deck Technologies
Sophisticated onboard technology can also provide pilots with exceptional up-to-date and real-time data, which can aid the pilot in making instant inflight decisions increasing safety and accuracy. An example of this is the Electronic Flight Bags or EFBs (external or fully integrated aircraft avionics system apps) that allow flight crews to carry out a variety of tasks that were traditionally completed using brain power, pen and paper. Advances in the technology of EFBs have greatly improved pilot’s ability to perform essential tasks such as flight planning, navigational and fuel calculations while also offering greater access to in-flight data and digital documentation such as aircraft operations manuals, navigational charts, and checklists.
Improved monitoring technology has allowed for greater real-time feedback and pilot performance tracking during training. Automated systems can provide instant tracking information alerting instructors if something is amiss, preventing mistakes in real-time, resulting in better overall training practices.
How Has This Technology Impacted Pilots?
Advances in technology have become crucial to the pilot training process and inflight safety. The use of digital resources, constantly improving simulation tech and complex inflight aircraft avionics systems upgrades have revolutionised the aviation industry not only making a pilot’s job easier but increasing safety standards within the industry. See below for a few of the ways technology has benefitted pilots and the flight training process.
10 Benefits Of Technology In Aviation Training
The development of the highly specialised skillset needed to operate within the technical and regulation-driven aviation industry is crucial for any pilot’s success within all aspects of the industry. Advancements in technology have refined and improved the level of training pilots and aviation professionals receive, the main advantages of technology in aviation training include the following:
- Enabling pilots more practice in scenarios that may otherwise be dangerous (real-time simulator training).
- More precise and appropriate performance analysis (ensuring better skill development).
- Easier access to the latest and more relevant training resources.
- An increase the number of highly skilled pilots (allowing pilots to become more proficient).
- Greater accuracy and safety in all aspects of flight.
- Reduced training costs.
- Fewer barriers to entry to pilot training.
- More readily available digital resources making it easier to study at any time.
- Improved aircraft performance, new developments and advancements in the aviation industry are valued for their ability to make flying easier and help aircraft perform better.
- More specialised training options around how to use new technological advancements and aircraft-enabled functions that come with the changes in technology.
What Is The Future Of Technology In Aviation?
Technological advances will no doubt continue to refine and extend pilot training methods becoming increasingly efficient and therefore, effective, helping pilots be as prepared as possible for any and all flight situations they may encounter in the future. This has huge implications for both flight safety and the capabilities of flight operations in the future. So what’s new in pilot training?
One area where future technology may have a significant impact is the use of remote piloting within the realm of pilotless aircraft. While piloting the existing passenger aircraft of today is not likely to be a fully automatable process anytime soon, there is still significant potential for more extensive development in the area of remotely piloted aircraft, particularly in relation to drones.
While still a relatively new concept, remote piloting is already widely used in many industries, including the military, agriculture, real estate, geographical mapping, aerial photography, emergency services, and many more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones as they are commonly referred to have the technological potential to change the aviation industry landscape considerably within a very short time.
Drones can be fully automated or classed as remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs) and are favoured for their use in high-risk activities. They allow users to obtain real-time data without endangering people or expensive aircraft, and their smaller size means they can fly into areas and spaces where normal aircraft cannot.
Another potential area is the development of UAMs or Urban Air Mobility services, making better use of the underutilised low-altitude airspace within urban areas. UAMs are likely to embrace vertical take-off and landing aircraft capabilities and new propulsion technologies while providing efficient transportation of people and cargo across relatively short distances.
Alternative propulsion systems for aircraft also offer vastly untapped potential within the aviation industry. With the development of battery-powered cars currently driving the technology, Air New Zealand has announced it will be investing in all-electric battery-powered aircraft by 2030, with other alternatives under consideration powered with hybrid fuel systems and the use of hydrogen fuel cells.
Another area with remaining untapped potential is inflight Robotic Process Automation or RPA. This essentially refers to the automation of certain processes, with its main benefits being time saving and the removal of human error.
Whatever the direction, it is clear new technologies are going to alter the future of aviation for the better. Many new developments place their focus on decreasing emissions and increasing overall efficiency within aviation businesses. These advancements will benefit all segments of the aviation industry.
Is Technology Replacing Pilots?
So what does all this new technology mean for pilots? To answer this question, it is important to remember aviation tech is designed to make things easier and more efficient for pilots. They are still going to be the ones needed to interact directly with these new technological developments.
However, as the piloting profession undergoes changes, pilots must remain adaptable and proactive in developing their skills and knowledge. A key takeaway will be that pilots need to remain open to embracing the concept of learning about emerging technology and adjusting their skill set to suit.
As technology continues to advance reshaping the aviation landscape, there is no doubt the aviation industry will develop new ways of using this technology to their advantage. Many of these advancements will help to improve communications, data interpretation and analysis, and, most importantly – pilot training. The future of the piloting profession is being presented with a wealth of exciting opportunities just on the horizon!