Thirty years ago, my high school still offered a typing class. At the time, I convinced the principal of my small school to let me drop the class and add an elective math class. His great concern was that I learn how to type. I told him that I would install a “typing tutor” application on my computer with its 386 processor. The software was “smart” enough to know what letters I could type and provide me additional exercises for those I had not mastered. I mention this anecdote because it marked a transition in the way people learned knowledge and acquired skills.
As flight test professionals, we are at a similar crossroad. Our ability to teach and train flight test and its related safety and risk management disciplines must adapt to the time we have available and accommodate the technology. In 1989, software did not include machine learning or artificial intelligence–this is a topic I hope to address in the December issue, so if you would like to contribute, please contact the Flight Test Safety Committee, the Chairman, or the Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month, however, we present a broad survey of the ways that flight test education and training are changing, spreading, and ultimately adapting. The articles herein are a snapshot of where we are today. They complement past issues that presented a more in depth look at specific innovations. Ultimately, I hope they will inform the reader of the possibilities and inspire us to take advantage of the potential that lies before us.
Download: Flight Test Safety Fact, 19-10.