World Aviation Training Conference & Showcase Opens in Orlando

wats 2015

HealthySimulation.com is on hand to explore the very successful world of simulation in aviation! This morning at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando Florida, Halldale Media founder Andy Smith opened the World Aviation Training Conference and Tradeshow (WATS) 2015 to over 1,000 delegates from around the world and more than 80 industry vendors. The event was Diamond Sponsored by CAE, parent company to CAE Healthcare who is one of the leaders in the space.

Michael Whitaker, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided opened the show with an overview of the most up to date training and certification requirements for pilots, co-pilots, flight attendants and ground crew members. He reminded the audience that the FAA works hard to provide the “Safest most efficient airspace in the world, and your participation in this conference is evidence that your training experiences shares that goal.”

Captain Howard Attarian, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations at United Airlines (UA) followed Mr. Whitaker with an overview of their training program. Some will become regulatory in the future. “UA has a vested interest in staying above safety levels required by regulation to ensure the sage transport of passengers and cargo. Pilots, Flight Attendants, dispatchers, maintenance techs, and airport ops personnel are all included in our training programs.”

A variety of programs utilized by UA include data, flight, assessment, and management, all of which are cross-referenced against upcoming regulations. Statistical information is used to mitigate risk, warning us not to become “data rich but information poor”. Captain Attarian continued “You cannot give lip-service to these efforts – you will need full corporate support of these programs – every department needs to be set up for these programs and reporting needs to be complete. The system must understand mistakes but hold people accountable for their actions. You cannot achieve success without labor by making clear outcomes of how information will be used, promoting a shared model of trust that will enable your programs to succeed.”


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When asked “Why United Airlines chooses to put at-risk pilots on notice” Captain Attarian answered “You have to bold, but not brazen. We observed behavior that was unacceptable. We put those responsible on notice. We followed up with a CRM analysis and ride-along program. All of which is supported by rich data analysis which drives the ultimate decision.”

simulation aviation

What’s amazing about being at a WATS conference is to see an entire industry with over 50 years of integrated simulation experience. The value of simulation is never a question, but rather how to continue to tweak the technology and training to ever improve flight safety. While the industry is not without its challenges, being in a space that has fully adopted simulation is a refreshing reminder about what’s to come for Healthcare in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

You can learn more about WATS and the aviation simulation industry by watching my video interviews from the 2013 Orlando event. You can also visit Halldale Media for both their Civil Aviation and Medical Simulation magazines.

Learn more at Halldale Media’s WATS Page


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