This is the 2nd article of our new blog series by Captain Pierre Wannaz, “a pilot’s view”. It represents our modest contribution about how to take on today’s challenges in pilot training and flight safety. Let’s exchange points of view!

#BigData #Aviation #PilotTraining #Skills

“Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it…”
Dan Ariely, Duke University

Big data brought to an individual level: what for?

Today, big data is on everyone’s lips. At management level, I can figure out that they are of some importance. But what can a pilot learn from big data?

Sometimes, pilots receive some obscure statistics like the “Safety Index” or “Fleet performance”. For a regular line pilot, this is almost useless.

On the other hand, I am convinced that big data is important and can be a game changer in the way pilots will be able to improve their performances on a practical basis.

CEFA Aviation proposes a system called CEFA AMS (Aviation Mobile Services). This is an animation tool giving, a few minutes after landing, an animation of relevant parts of the flight using the data recorded by the digital flight data recorder (WQAR, Wireless Quick Access Recorder).

CEFA AMS, a breakthourgh innovation for pilot training and immediate debriefing after the flight

It gives a dynamic presentation. Now imagine an airline whose safety department would provide pilots with a set of usable “big data”, additionally to these recorded data.

In such a case, pilots, besides a better understanding of their own flight performance, would have the opportunity to assess their performance by themselves. They would see how they perform in comparison with the rest of their fleet and how far they are from the limits.

Today, as far as pilots are not exceeding the limits set by the flight data monitoring department and the safety officer, they have no idea of the quality of their own performance compared to other pilots in the fleet.

Assessing your own performances by yourself to improve your skills: case study of the take-off rotation rates

Let’s have a look at a concrete example: the take-off rotation rate.

On some fleets, this performance aspect is a crucial one. A too fast rotation might indeed lead to a tail strike, whereas a too slow rotation might lead in loosing valuable runway distance, low screen height at the end of the runway which results in a climb out trajectory, well below the path calculated by the performance computer. This can massively reduce the safety margin!

If “big data” is provided by the flight safety department, we are in a position to implement in our dynamic animation a static graph showing the actual flown values within the overhaul fleet performance.
How could we implement big data for pilots’ individual needs
On such a graph, the reparation of the rotation rate is in black, we can overlay the limits of flight safety (red) and even an area that could have been defined as the fleet target (green, as defined by the chief flight instructor or the chief pilot).

The magenta down pointing arrow is today’s achieved value.

Being able to use “big data” in such a representation will allow pilots to fine-tune their own flying skills, especially if they realize that they are operating very close to the published boundaries, in order to improve their safety margin.

Therefore, pilots will be in a position allowing a more efficient and homogeneous overall performance.

Many possibilities exist, here are just a few that could be implemented:
– landing distance,
– touch down distance,
– runway line up distance,
– application of braking,
– etc.

Using big data in such a way will be very useful for the pilots and, finally, will be a game changer to improve daily operations and to ensure the safety of the flight.

Pierre WANNAZ, Senior Advisor at CEFA Aviation

Pierre Wannaz
Senior Advisor CEFA Aviation
Captain on A330/A340, TRI/SFE,  acceptance pilot and legal expert in accident investigation

Next to be read: keep your eyes peeled next Tuesday, 23rd October 2018 with an article about the global pilot shortage!

If you wish to discuss more about flight debriefing, contact Pierre via LinkedIn or via this contact form, or come & meet us:
on CEFA Aviation stand, booth #11
at the European Airline Training Symposium (EATS)
on 6th-7th November 2018
in Madrid, Spain, organized by Halldale!