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USAF and Aptima to Jointly develop eVTOL Training Curricula

Because Knowledge—in the Presence of a Decent Battery—is Power

Among the most immediate challenges with which global aviation agencies are faced is the development of regulatory and training infrastructure germane to the emergent Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry. Manned and unmanned, electric and hybrid-electric, vertical takeoff and landing vehicles will soon transform the manners in which commerce is conducted, and products are delivered. Who will operate the novel vehicles with which Earth’s skies will soon be replete? How will they be trained, and by whom?

For purpose of answering such questions, the United States Air Force has contracted Aptima, Inc., a Massachusetts-based think-tank and training institution about the business of measuring, assessing, informing, and augmenting human performance in the high-tech, high-stress, high-stakes environments peculiar to the defense, intelligence, law-enforcement, healthcare, and aviation sectors. Aptima will assist the USAF’s Air Education and Training Command’s Detachment 62 (Det 62) in developing curricula and certification standards for eVTOL pilots.

Using simulators of various eVTOL prototypes, Aptima will endeavor to assess and identify the pilot competencies essential to proficient eVTOL operation—including the differential means and rates by which pilots learn to operate eVTOLs of varying configurations, capabilities, and degrees of automation.

Aptima scientist Samantha Emerson states: “The learnability study will help us not only understand the baseline pilot skills and competencies needed for proficient eVTOL flight, but also the impact of automation on pilot performance. Both experienced and novice pilots will bring unique sets of skills and capacities based on their experiences and abilities. We’ll assess how these differences affect performance in aircraft with various levels of automation.”

To assess pilot learning and performance, Aptima will use technologies and techniques developed over 15-years of cooperation with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Subject technologies include the Performance Evaluation Training System, or PETS, which harvests data from simulators to provide objective, system-based measurements; and SPOTLITE, a handheld tool that provides observer-based measures of performance.

In addition to helping Det 62 evaluate its eVTOL training assumptions and test which, if any, aspects of eVTOL operation benefit from increased automation, findings derivative of the collaboration with Aptima may influence the design of future eVTOL vehicles and operating platforms.

 

FMI: www.aptima.com

 


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