ASTi integrated its Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC (SERA) product into two Level D full-flight simulators for a major airline to enhance immersion, increase trainee cognitive load, and reduce instructor role-player workload, particularly for Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT). As airlines begin to adopt Evidence-Based Training (EBT), it becomes imperative to bring the cockpit experience closer to the real world, ensuring the cognitive load that the flight crew experiences accurately represents the aircraft, and the resultant training outcomes reflect the crew’s true performance under a full load.
The challenge requirements are listed in blue; ASTi's applicable components are
For many years, modern full-flight simulators have provided incredible fidelity and interactivity for pilots in the cockpit and crew members operating the aircraft. Flight dynamics modeling, the motion system and an out-of-the-window view make the experience difficult to distinguish from the real airplane. However, one major element has always been missing: the air traffic control (ATC) environment. The real-world ATC experience is a significant challenge to aircraft crew because they must assimilate and filter a complex interplay of information and instructions from both ATC controllers and other aircraft traffic. This cognitive load has been at best poorly represented in the past because the instructor is expected to role-play multiple ATC controllers while instructing and training students. Meanwhile, the rest of the airport and skies remain empty of other aircraft.
SERA is a fully featured Simulated ATC Environment (SATCE) that automates all ATC services and generates contextually accurate aircraft traffic for the ownship’s geographic location. SERA’s ATC controllers and other aircraft traffic employ ASTi’s unique synthetic voices that sound like controllers and pilots. All radio calls use the correct phraseology, reinforcing correct radio protocols for the ownship crew, leading to much better crew immersion. Instructors can adjust airport traffic levels and speech rates to provide the correct loading for the scenario and crew experience. Lesson-specific ATC “events” may be pre-planned as part of the training scenario, allowing the instructor to focus 100 percent on the crew. Alternatively, the instructor may select a dynamic event on demand operating SERA’s control interface via the IOS to challenge a proficient crew. Flying with SERA presents the crew with the operational workload they might experience on the flight line in a way that has not been previously possible.
Under EBT, the following are the competencies that trainees are required to demonstrate and the instructor is required to be able to accurately assess:
Traditional training devices do not provide any mechanism to objectively score communications proficiency and rely on the subjective judgment of the instructor, who must already role-play all the ATC radio calls and manage the entire training session. Furthermore, different instructors may score a crew differently for the same core performance based on their personal biases.
SERA’s automated services provide repeatable training scenarios that immerse the crew into an experience that reflects the real world while removing the variability introduced by human instructors role-playing ATC. SERA automatically logs crew transmissions and provides objective performance scoring metrics for each transmission and an overall performance score, all of which can be delivered to third-party learning management systems.
Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC