FAA Announces New Center of Excellence

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced on August 12 the selection of the University of Oklahoma and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teams to lead the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance (COE). The COE will conduct research and development on technical training for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, engineers, pilots and technicians.

“This world-class, public-private partnership will help us focus on the challenges and opportunities of this cutting-edge field of research,” Huerta said. “We expect this team will help us educate and train aviation professionals well into the future.”

The academic team members all have nationally-recognized collegiate aviation-related education programs and core members also own and operate their own aircraft and airports. A partnership of principal investigators from the different universities will perform the research projects. The universities will engage senior faculty as well as graduate and undergraduate students in their research activities.

The FAA expects the COE will be fully operational and engaged in its research agenda within the next few months.

“The University of Oklahoma has a long history of partnerships with the FAA, including decades of work with air traffic controller training,” said James Pappas, vice president of Outreach for the University of Oklahoma. “We are very pleased to be involved again in this ambitious and proactive initiative.”

The FAA will take advantage of advancements in teaching, such as part-task training, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation and adaptive learning technologies that are standard in other technical workforces. The COE will examine human factors issues such as changes in learner expectations and academic best practices for training a new generation of learners.

The center also will research innovative training methods for this new generation. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning as well as new ways of collecting and managing training data.

The FAA’s center of excellence program is a long-term, cost-sharing partnership between academia, industry, and government. Congress authorized air transportation centers of excellence under the FAA Research, Engineering and Development Authorization Act of 1990. This legislation enables the agency to work with center members and affiliates to engage in research in airspace and airport planning and design, environment and aviation safety and other activities to assure a safe and efficient air transportation system.

The FAA has established 12 centers of excellence focusing on unmanned aircraft systems, alternative jet fuels and environment, general aviation safety, commercial space transportation, airliner cabin environment, aircraft noise and aviation emissions mitigation, advanced materials, general aviation research, airworthiness assurance, operations research, airport pavement and technology and computational modeling of aircraft structures.

For more information about the FAA centers of excellence program, visit the COE web page.

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Ashley Brand

Ashley Brand worked as a writer and editor for the college.