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New flight program equipment gives student aviators keener views

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 2, 2017

New flight program equipment gives student aviators keener views

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Oct 2, 2017

Ohio University flight students have a better bird’s eye view even inside the classroom thanks to recent tech upgrades for the Russ College’s Advanced Aircraft and Flight Crew Operations aviation course.

New digital cameras and a higher quality projector along with a wireless microphone and high-performance router are enabling in-classroom simulations to more accurately reflect actual flight experiences.

Aviation Business Administrator Mark Atkinson said the Department of Aviation keeps up with technology as it advances in the aviation world.

“The equipment came from a desire to ensure our students leave our school with the best training they can have and the most up-to-date technology they can use,” Atkinson said. “When they graduate, what they’ll see in the industry is exactly what they’ve trained to do here.”

In the Crew Resource Management course, two students work as a team in a Frasca Advanced Aviation Training Device that resembles a cockpit, taking turns as pilot and co-pilot -- roles called pilot flying and pilot monitoring in the industry. The rest of the class observes from a nearby conference room, using tablets to track the flight by geo-referencing the exact location of the aircraft during the simulations. Instructors can place the student pilot and co-pilot anywhere in the United States. Meanwhile, both the students in the conference room and the Frasca can see the aircraft on IFR low enroute, arrival, departure, and approach charts – and its physical location at the airport.

Ryan Potter, senior in aviation flight and Air Force ROTC airman, has sat in the pilot seat. Potter explained that students are now able to give richer feedback during the debriefing discussion that follows every simulation.

“The new equipment allows us to take all of our aviation skills we’ve learned in our previous courses, combine them all, and break down exactly what’s happening during the flight,” Potter said.

The visuals are crisp and in real-time, and students can see instruments -- like the altitude indicator -- while they track the geographical location of the flight by using Foreflight, a GPS-based application that provides situational awareness. 

Students can also hear the instruction from Associate Professor of Aviation Deak Arch, who gives guidance and feedback during each simulation.

“The department has really gone out of its way to reinvigorate this course,” Arch said. “We want to produce the best candidates we can for whichever career path students decide to take.