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New advances in flight simulator has players interact with real-life air traffic controllers

July 28, 2011, 03:51 pm

Pilots have been using flight simulators for training purposes for years, and thanks to New Jersey-based Pilotedge, the software programs are about to become even more realistic.

At the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Pilotedge introduced actual air traffic controllers into its simulators. A number of active and retired controllers will connect to the company's flight simulator network, and work to provide the same level of interaction with pilots that aviators experience when flying in controlled airspace.

Keith Smith, founder of Pilotedge, said that the system was initially created to help pilots learn how to interact and speak with air traffic controllers. "I wanted to help people get better on the radio," he said, "But it turns out situational awareness is getting much better." Better situational awareness will hopefully lead to fewer pilot life insurance claims in the future.

Air traffic controllers who participate are able to work from home and operate on real-life airspace frequencies. Just as in reality, aviators can expect to speak with several different controllers while they go through landing and takeoff procedures.

The Federal Aviation Administration reports that general aviation accidents have steadily declined for several years. There were 1,569 accidents in 2008, and this number fell to 1,396 incidents in 2010.

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