Cycling to Simulators

by Colin Rydon on 09/10/2018

As a training provider, we have a duty to provide the highest quality training possible while working to do so most effectively and efficiently. Like nearly all businesses, this means that we have to continually question the norm, examine what we do and seek out improvements in all processes and methods.

I remember the statement given by the head of the British Cycling team following their success in which he discussed ‘marginal gains’. Explaining that if you broke everything down, improved it by 1%, you’d then get a significant improvement when you put it all back together.

Developments and opportunities for change come from many different internal and external forces such as changing regulation, technology, ways of learning, customer requirements, etc. Like cycling most of this change doesn’t come in huge seismic shifts but instead the process of continuous improvement where all involved in a process work to make small alterations towards the wider goal.

One of the areas which has been a focus of this continual process is the ongoing shift of training to lower level devices. As technology increases, it opens opportunities throughout the training journey. An example of this is the implementation of iPad based learning through apps such as our ETHOS product. ETHOS facilitates a wide range of systems and procedure learning that can take place anywhere using an iPad or PC, offering ease of use on low-cost devices. ETHOS can also enable access to simulation learning at an early stage of a new pilots training program improving the quality and reducing the cost.

Another and well-published area of the shift, is the increase in flight task areas of operations that can be offloaded from Full Flight Simulators (FFS) to fixed base flight training devices. Reducing the dependency of large and expensive tools into something much more suitable, adaptable and effective at developing the specific areas of competence. Such offloading enables us to overcome the challenges we face relating to provide competence and capability to the vastly increasing numbers of cadets and pilots globally.

Last year this took another step forward with the world’s first FAA Part 60 qualified Level 7 Flight Training Device for fixed-wing aircraft. FAA FTD Level 7 devices have the potential to permit the offloading of numerous additional training tasks from a FFS. Although such offloading of training tasks to FTD devices is typically limited to initial and transition training, due to the high level of fidelity of the Level 7, it is easy to imagine and investigate expanding the use of such a device into recurrent training as well, further increasing the efficiencies and cost benefits of the device.

As a company, we’ve been working to embed the ‘continuous improvement’ culture across all areas working towards our goal of training excellence. One of the joys I find about working in this industry and with my colleagues across L3 is the continual drive to question and improve. Unlike the British cycling team, I may not be able to experience the excitement of competing in the Olympics but the ethos of ‘margin gains’ can ring as true for our industry as their team.

Colin Rydon
VP Training, Safety and Compliance