A new partnership between the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and GE Aviation is improving aviation safety education by providing students and faculty with access to a leading flight data analytics platform. This is giving students and faculty access to the industry’s leading flight data analytics platform—opening doors to additional applied learning and research opportunities.
“Embry-Riddle intends to use the software on all campuses in our aviation safety education courses and programs, and to improve operational efficiency for flight and fleet maintenance in our flight departments,” says Alan J. Stolzer, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.
The university worked for more than a year to identify the best flight data monitoring tool for its use, he says. GE Aviation’s Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program is powered by the company’s flight analytics platform—the Event Measurement System (EMS). It’s the “gold standard” and is used by the majority of domestic and international airlines, and general aviation, Stolzer says.
Airlines, the military and many significant corporate aviation operations use flight data monitoring to detect conditions outside of normal, predetermined parameters and trends.
“GE Aviation’s FOQA program will give us myriad opportunities for research in data analytics, fuel consumption modeling and other areas,” Stolzer says.
While the software will assist Embry-Riddle with its fleet operations, the partnership’s primary focus is on students.
“Giving our students hands-on experience with the industry’s state-of-the-art flight data analysis program makes them highly competitive for positions in the safety programs of every major airline in the world,” says Kimberly J. Szathmary, assistant professor of aerospace and occupational safety at the Daytona Beach Campus.
The FOQA program allows for data visualization with animation and enables users to look for trends and detect precursors to incidents or accidents, says Szathmary. Her students, particularly those in her undergraduate Digital Safety Data Analysis course, will benefit greatly from the flight analytics resource, she says.
“Additionally, I envision master’s and Ph.D. students, as well as faculty members, using the software for research into real-world, pressing aviation safety problems,” she says.
The university’s Flight Data Analysis Lab will also allow for collaboration with industry and aviation experts to do unique research and offer professional education for aviation safety professionals.
Alexandre Beaux, sales and commercial director at GE Aviation’s Digital Solutions, has been a long-term advocate for the partnership between his alma mater and his employer. He says giving students hands-on experience with the flight analytics software used by most airlines worldwide is a win-win for them and for their future employers.
“It is critical to start impacting our industry at the source, where people begin their journey in our industry,” Beaux says.
Beaux’s passion for aviation started when he came to Embry-Riddle to play on the varsity tennis team.
“After a few weeks at Embry-Riddle, I knew this was going to be my industry,” he says. “I ended up falling in love with airline business management and airline economics. I am forever thankful for the opportunities Embry-Riddle gave me.”
Bob Whetsell, director of safety programs at GE Aviation’s Digital Solutions, says partnering with Embry-Riddle was a natural fit.
“Embry-Riddle is the leading aviation school in the world, so it was the right thing to do,” Whetsell says. “We feel that helping students learn on the tools that are actually being used in the field is very important.”
Alan Stolzer couldn’t agree more. “This software, in particular, gives us a huge competitive advantage over other flight and educational programs.”