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Project Avenger: Simulators Get Live Air Traffic Control for More Immersive Flight Training

09 February 2022

From Ensign Jahanna Conner, Chief of Naval Air Training

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Student Naval aviators (SNA) with Training Air Wing (TW) 4, located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, now have the capability to speak directly with live air traffic control (ATC) personnel during simulator training, a significant advancement to the Navy’s undergraduate primary flight training.

The inclusion of live ATC communication into flight training is a feature of Project Avenger, Chief of Naval Air Training’s (CNATRA) new prototype primary flight training syllabus designed to develop more capable aviators at a faster rate. Project Avenger incorporates modern technology into the curriculum to optimize skill development while reducing training time.

To allow students live ATC interaction, the curriculum uses PilotEdge, a software service that provides students with live communications with certified air traffic controllers. These controllers give instruction through radio communications to the students during their simulators. Before Project Avenger, ATC communication was provided verbally by the simulator instructor. This new advancement gives flight students a quicker understanding of real-world flight.

According to Cmdr. Joshua Calhoun, TW-4 Project Avenger Detachment Officer in Charge, the addition of live ATC communication has provided SNAs a more immersive environment in which to learn.

“Our students are able to learn flight communications earlier, and more frequently, allowing them to become more adept more quickly than students who came before them,” said Calhoun.

For Lt. j.g. Anthony Janssen, who recently completed primary flight training with the new Project Avenger syllabus, the live communication made him more comfortable and familiar with ATC leading up to his first real flight.

“[The live interaction] is useful because you get exposure to ATC communications prior to ever strapping into the aircraft,” Janssen said. “Having this software creates a low-threat environment during the simulations that allows you to get practice so that when you’re flying and having to multitask you are more comfortable doing so.”

Calhoun, who led the transformation from the older primary flight syllabus into the new modern curriculum, has learned that students who went on to advanced flight training for jets after completing the new syllabus have performed above average in relation to those students who completed the previous syllabus.

“Our students are able to process information faster in the aircraft and we specifically train them to do that,” Calhoun said. “They can adapt more quickly to real-world changes.”

TW-4, comprised of four units, trains student aviators in primary, intermediate, and advanced flight training. These units have a combined total strength of approximately 800 officers and enlisted personnel, as well as more than 180 aircraft and simulators.

CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world's finest combat-quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.


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