Colin Rydon: 'Clearance to taxi on runway 2020'

by Colin Rydon on 12/02/2019

Colin Rydon is the Vice President of Training, Standards & Development and Head of Training at L3Harris Commercial Aviation. He has over 30 years’ experience working and flying within the aviation industry in which time he has been involved in most functions of an airline and training organization.

Colin shares his thought on some of 2019’s biggest challenges and future developments we can expect to see shortly in the world of pilot training:

The last year has resulted in a considerable increase in the capacity of training available at L3Harris, including at the London and Arlington Training Centers. With that comes more pressure to look towards future developments in pilot training to maintain the highest level of safety and training quality.

During 2019, Evidence-Based Training (EBT) has become a real focal point, and I am eager to see how we can integrate the technology and capabilities available to us at L3Harris to support airlines to shift their training methodologies to a more safer and effective framework. We have recognized that one of the most important factors to successfully achieve real EBT lies in the way we collect, analyze and utilize data, so we are looking at ways to standardize the data collected throughout pilot training and line operations.

Fast forward to 2020 and beyond, I am looking forward to many new and exciting developments around the corner. From the point of view of running an ATO, I can see many pressures building around airline training such as the need to create further course flexibilities and cost efficiencies. However, although this pressure exists, there is still slow movement across the industry in allowing ATO’s to offload training from a Full Flight Simulator. This is something that we have modelled our training centers around, by ensuring we have a wide range of devices including fixed based FTD’s, Flat Panel Trainers and a series of classroom-based tools to support the different types of training rather than focusing on providing FFS time only.

I strongly believe that this progress will be supported by the development of training technology and I have confidence in the growth of immersive technology that is being created for use in pilot training. During the last year at L3Harris, we have been experimenting with a range of concepts that will train basic procedures through to how VR & AR could be used in simulation.

We have made positive progress following the start of a project with a number of European airlines with the aim to assess the applications of immersive technologies within training programs. As we progress, we will be able to better understand the role this technology can play in pilot training and where it can enable more offloading from more expensive training methods.

Looking to the future, the most obvious debate is the introduction and development of automation and the possibility of single-pilot flying. Honestly, I believe that this is not something for the near future but certainly something that we should be starting to think about. We need to begin thinking about how the training environment will change. Will this mean more aircraft in the sky resulting in a further increase in demand for pilots? Will pilots need to be trained to the high standard we strive towards today? Will automation take the pilot out of the cockpit completely?

I think it’s far too soon to predict, however, we look forward to seeing new advancements in aviation progress and supporting the industry as it continues to advance.