How to fully exploit the potential of Flight Data Animation combining both CEFA AMS and CEFA FAS for a safer sky

Today is the opening day f the World Aviation Training Summit (WATS) 2019. Now flight safety and pilot training are more than ever on everybody’s lips. Let’s discuss openly ideas to move things forward on this subject! So here is the last Tuesday’s blog article of this series “A pilot’s view”, with an idea proposed by Captain Pierre Wannaz about how to use flight data animation to its full potential.

#FlightSafety #ForASaferSky #FlightData #FlightDataAnimation #FOQA #FDM #PilotTraining #PilotDebriefing #LifeLongLearning #APilotsView

Looking back 20 years ago… All starting with detailed real cockpit Flight Data Animations used for the first time in France. Purpose: justice investigation

How did I learn about CEFA Aviation and started with flight data animation?

In 2000, I was hired by the French department of Justice to be part of the aviation experts’ team for the lawsuit following the Air Inter crash on the Mount Ste Odile. This is how I got to know Dominique Mineo, founder & CEO of CEFA Aviation. For the 1st time, the flight data animation software CEFA FAS – in its very first version – was used to show a real cockpit animation a few minutes of the flight preceding the accident. The purpose was to better understand what caused the crash and to correlate the cockpit voice recorder with what was visible on the instruments. The result was overwhelming and it massively helped to put all the people into the pilots’ shoes.

In November 2017, this independent French company launched at the Dubai Airshow the world premiere pilot’s self “on-demand” animation cloud-based service: CEFA AMS (Aviation Mobile Services), giving pilots for the 1st time the opportunity to replay on their tablets sequences of their own flights right after landing. I was immediately convinced that this tool would become a must-have for all airlines wishing to improve safety and training. That’s why I accepted to become Senior Advisor for CEFA Aviation.

The more I think about it and the more I talk to airlines,  the more I see a huge potential and opportunities in the implementation of CEFA AMS.

Instant understanding of own performances through the immediate availability of flight data animation can not only contribute to more safety, but also enhance the quality and the focus of crews debriefing. It can also facilitate pilots’ life-long learning, enhance communication between airlines’ employees and change the safety culture.

The latest point is particularly true for airlines where flight data is still a delicate subject. The cause of fear lies in the usage of data, often still used to punish the crew.

Concerning data, trust is the key to change the game and enhance flight safety!

Nowadays, pilots are called to see flight safety officers only in major incident cases. For minor exceedances, the flight safety department makes a statistical approach and doesn’t inform pilots.

This can be changed as data presents a big potential for understanding and learning. To achieve this, a free use in confidence of one’s own data is a pre-requisite!

How can we change the game?

A positive contribution to flight safety would occur:

  • If pilots are adequately informed even after small exceedances, as every time a lesson can be learned;
  • If a better dialog is established between pilots and flight safety departments;
  • If trust can be built up not to consider flight safety as a punishment center, as it is still too often the case.

Flight data animation: two usages

Firstly, I need to explain CEFA Aviation’s two products:

  • CEFA FAS (Flight Animation System) is a software placed on the computers of airlines’ Flight Safety departments & investigation bureaus in order to analyze flights. Using CEFA FAS, didactic animations may be created, for instance with best practices for the familiarization with an approach of a difficult airport, and shown for pedagogic and training purposes.

Launched about 20 years ago,   CEFA FAS is already used by more than 80 airlines worldwide , as well as by investigation teams and bureaus (like the French BEA).

  • CEFA AMS (Aviation Mobile Services) is an app based on a cloud service for pilots allowing them to replay flights on their tablets for debriefing and self-training purposes. It also facilitates instruction and explanations based on facts during line training.

CEFA Aviation started to promote this new animation solution in November 2017 during the Dubai Airshow. This mobile service is primarily aimed at the direct “producers” of the flight data: pilots themselves.

CEFA FAS and CEFA AMS: 2 products, 2 usages. Explanations of 2 tools for flight data animation.

Both products use the data from the Digital Flight Data Recorders (DFDR). To fully understand, CEFA FAS and CEFA AMS are two separate and independent products.

Their basic uses are quite different:

  • In the case of CEFA FAS, the product is aimed at a better understanding of incidents and FOQA events. The software is highly flexible and must be used by specialists and analysts of airlines’ flight safety departments in order to validate the data and then facilitate, via an animation, the understanding of occurrences that need to be investigated in detail.
    Thanks to the high impact of a realistic cockpit views corresponding to the aircraft type involved, plus the use of 3D projection and real in-seat pilot viewing fields, an extremely detailed analysis can be performed. The created animation offers an extremely easy way to understand an event. Many different functionalities allow for example to show graphs, nav charts, change the perspective of the flight visualized,

Safety departments can also create a video by selecting the different types of views (inside the cockpit, outside views of the aircraft, etc.).

CEFA FAS is a versatile software requiring the knowledge of a specialist within the flight safety department.

  • CEFA AMS is primarily aimed at the direct “producers” of the flight data: the pilots themselves.

This app allows crews to access the data they have produced immediately after the flight, without constraint, fully independently from any company department and in an animation format which is extremely easy to understand.

CEFA AMS is a self-debriefing tool. Among others, it is extremely helpful for instructors and their trainees to facilitate the general understanding of a specific event or to target traditional performance problematics of high workload flight phases, like take-off or landing. These flight phases are often related to a focus vision on just a few parameters. Looking at a flight sequence, after the flight or at home, helps to understand the globality of such an event, to understand the process that leads to the result, which is a great enhancement for training.

CEFA AMS offers the dynamic of an event. On client’s demand, it can even deliver statistical detailed figures (like landing distance, height over threshold…).

Analyzing an animation presents a huge advantage over the numeric approach: pilots have the possibility to understand the process that led to a value! Thus, individual technics -the so called FDM Flight Data Monitoring values flyers) can be drastically reduced by having the understanding of the occurrence and not just a numerical value highlighted in red.

CEFA AMS is an allrounder program, as every regular line pilot may have some doubts about an event during flight, or wants to learn out of a positive outcome from his colleague. This is now possible with an animation created by CEFA AMS.

All Nippon Airways using flight data animation on a daily basis

The best demonstration and proof that pilots want to understand and improve their performances comes from CEFA AMS first customer: ANA (All Nippon Airways) is the launch customer of CEFA AMS. 3,000 pilots have access to their take-offs, landings and sequences of flights it on a daily basis since February 2017.

Today, passed the curiosity of the beginnings, ANA pilots request more than 200 animations every day! One out of every 5th flight on average is analyzed!

This is a great testimony from ANA pilots: they are interested in understanding their own performances. This is also a great achievement for the visionary leaders and project managers within ANA who implemented such a revolutionary service.

Why not use CEFA FAS and CEFA AMS together as a winning team?

Let’s combine the strength of CEFA FAS, continuously improved over the last 20 years, with the ease to use new CEFA AMS.

A brand-new feature could be implemented for airlines already using CEFA FAS. The idea is that, if pilots are equipped with CEFA AMS, a new approach for quicker and easier reaction from the flight safety department is possible.

Using both programs in synergy offers a brand-new option: the possibility to have the animation created by CEFA FAS sent to the pilots concerned to be viewed via their CEFA AMS app, on their tablets, for personal analysis and unlimited view.

This would allow:

  • Flight Safety teams to create by themselves or on pilot’s request a detailed animation that will be sent to the pilot’s tablet thereafter. Typically, on a special pilot request for a type of representation that needs to be enhanced thanks to the flexibility and the additional features of CEFA FAS, for some reason.
  • Pilots to have access to an animation which is more focused on the problems. Also, they would become aware of minor exceedances that they might have overseen but that were detected by flight safety filters).
  • To make conference call or a telephone debriefing by having all parties looking at the same animation. This would be useful for issues that don’t need pilots to come into the flight safety office. Such a new possibility allows to save time and costs for the airlines (this is particularly true for airlines having several crew bases)
  • To have an event detected by the flight safety department analyzed and viewed much more rapidly after an occurrence happened, which brings a safety enhancement as the discussed facts are still fresh and much more accurate in the mind of the pilots who will have to comment them.
  • To have an event analyzed by the pilots concerned only as a complement of information, using the integrated CEFA AMS chatting possibility

Using the full potential of flight data animation, with a software and with a mobile service together, would increase the potential exchange of valuable information, in a much quicker and efficient way.

 Flight safety is a matter of all parties involved. So let’s increase the exchange of information in a constructive and non-punitive way between safety officers and pilots! Surely, both will gain benefits from such an approach.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your personal thoughts in the comments below!

You can also come & discuss with Captain Pierre Wannaz on CEFA Aviation stand, booth #210 during the World Aviation Training Summit (WATS) in Orlando, USA, today and until 2nd May 2019.

Find all Pierre’s other articles gathered here as well as on LinkedIn.

You can also contact him via LinkedIn or via this link. Talk to you soon!