EATS2018: Aviation Training’s Premier Meet

November 16, 2018 / Comments (0)

AFSBI Pro Event

/ By Editorial Staff

Madrid, 6-7 November 2018. Airlines’ heads of training meet here, major aircraft and simulator manufacturers announce their latest products and services, training and tech companies show their wares. Cover it all with excellent lectures and presentations by aviation’s most notables and you get EATS2018. Organized by Halldale and CAT Magazine, this is the Aviation Training Summit’s main event on the European continent. WATS, AATS and APATS serve, at different times of the year, the Americas, Asia and Asia Pacific, although WATS, next year in Orlando, is billed as World Aviation Training Summit. See all dates and venues here. We spent a day in Madrid at EATS, on the margins of the heads of training meetings, and we left with two main takeaways: We learned a lot about the industry and we saw a number of very interesting products applicable to our audience,  small and medium-size flight schools around the world. We also confirmed that there is a marked cross-flow of solutions across the high-end ‘prosumer’ market and the professional simulator-based training market. AFSBI is preparing a full report on this trend.

We started our visit by attending Jeff Schroeder’s upset training lecture, to get a feel for the level of presentation at the event. Jeff is the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Chief Scientist for Flight Simulation. He discussed an occurrence that is much more common than many in the aviation world think. In the US, there is an impending upset (a stall, most likely) warning going off somewhere every two days. Some common mistakes in simulated training were also exposed, such as not clarifying the limitations of simulators. However the advantage of simulator-based training were dealt with in detail, including numerous graphics explaining incorrect perceptions, the difference between ground school alone and simulator-aided training etc. This is definitely an area where many training organizations would surely like their students to invest more time.

A number of manufacturers were present at EATS2018. We started with aptly-named FTD, a company based in Poland. Their offerings include a lower cost procedure trainer and an FNPT II MCC B738  simulator provided as a fixed-base, fully enclosed Flight Training Device. It is modeled on a common narrow-body jet airliner, based on a generic data package developed in-house.  Flight model, weight and balance, and engine performance were optimized for this class of aircraft. Flight controls are conventional dual-linked control columns, yokes and rudder pedals. Precise active controls loading is available for increased realism and feedback. We briefly interviewed manager Marcin Ambroziak about these cost-effective simulators’ offerings.
We also stopped at SERA to discuss synthetic ATC’s advantages and advances in flight training. AI has come a long way to track a flight and, very realistically, simulate ATC responses to anything from ATIS, approach clearances, intercepts, missed approach instructions, emergencies and so on. Here is a short description of the system.
The folks at entrol treated us to a full visit at their headquarters near Madrid a day later, but this didn’t stop us from enjoying a great demo on their E-4000 simulator which is rated for ab-initio to ATPL training. The 4000 is now being marketed globally and offers a fully reconfigurable flight deck, featuring a truly flexible configuration matrix.
Discussing the bridge between the simulator pro-sumer market and the more advanced offerings from the aviation training environment, we had a conversation at EATS with Hanne Koole, whom we had met days before in Holland, his interview is here. His company, ProSim AR provides the back-end of many simulators (B737, A320) offered in the mid-range today. ProSim essentially provides the software functionality, the displays, indicators, and several more components to make a sim perform at the professional level, including malfunctions and alerts.
Virtual training, and virtual reality played a major role, especially in crew coordination, and emergency issues. Here we have entire simulated environments and actions performed on VR. It was kind of fun to watch on screen and follow the demos at the same time. We looked at TXT offerings and at TFC Training. We caught a bit on video here.

Utility apps at EATS2018 included CEFA’s flight replay, which allows trainees and instructors to go over each training sessions and review it in details. Leveraging extensive experience in flight visualization using real-world flight recorder data, CEFA Aviation has created CEFA AMS (Aviation Mobile Services) to enable pilots and flight crews to view a re-creation of their own flights within minutes after landing. Now pilots can receive feedback right after landing on key segments of their flight, such as landing or takeoff, while the events of the flight are still fresh in mind.

We also looked at AVSOFT Courseware, you can download a A320 demo here. AVSOFT courses are extremely comprehensive and run on any major platform and tablet. They are offered for several aircraft variants and even differentiate between metric and imperial. Approved Training Organizations (ATO) will find the graphic compelling and the many, many pictures through the course ware are worth a thousand words. A grid view of their offerings is here. Also in the training niche, PilotPad offers upgraded traditional computer-based training (CBT) to multi-channel mobile learning via interactive iBooks. A number of ATOs were present as well. We stopped at Urbeaero, based in Rome, and Sky4U based in Berlin (see video here).

Overall, EATS offered quite a comprehensive view of the aviation training ecosystem. From ATOs to service providers to large and small simulator manufacturers, including giants like CAE, and L3 among other exhibitors, and Boeing, Airbus, and several airlines. For those involved in this sector and those who are working toward getting noticed in it, this series of summits are the place to be. Retrospectively, the only regret we had was not being able to spend the full two days there, as the speakers’ lineup was commanding.

Next year’s EATS will be in Berlin, 29-30 October 2019, but we look forward to attending WATS in Orlando first.


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