Steven Smith

Product Director, MissionFIT™, FlightSafety International, Simulation

Steve Smith is the Product Director of FlightSafety’s MissionFIT™ training system. Before becoming Product Director, Steve served as Chief Scientist leading FlightSafety’s simulation product R&D.

Since starting as an engineer at FlightSafety in 1995, Steve has developed flight dynamics models, created new engineering processes, worked closely with customers and regulators, developed new training device technologies, contributed to the creation of new international helicopter regulatory standards, and published numerous peer-reviewed papers. 

Steve has received the Top Contributor and two Special Recognition Awards from FlightSafety, the Best Paper in Simulation award from I/ITSEC, and a Best Paper in Flight Simulation award from the American Helicopter Society.

Steve holds a Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas and is an MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management.


New Technologies Changing the Paradigm in Pilot Training

Despite large advancements in flight simulators in recent decades, many traditional challenges in pilot training still persist. Training programs, which include physical classrooms, instructors and flight simulators, are located in centralized, fixed locations requiring many pilots to commit to additional travel and time away from home. The regulatory based structure of training programs and the scheduling of resources limit access to much of the training in-between training modules. Finally, the chronic shortage of instructors needed to resource these training programs continues to be a challenge for flight schools and operators.

Research and development efforts are underway to explore new technologies, many from other industries, in an attempt to overcome these barriers to pilot training. Teams of engineers, scientists, developers and SME’s are taking a top-down, holist approach focused on the problem areas of pilot training and are creating exciting new integrated training systems.

This material presents recent work to advance computer, software, and human interface technologies to improve pilot training programs in the areas of flight simulators, classrooms and courseware. Additionally, the recent emergence of accessible Cloud computing can be used to project this material from the centralized facilities to anywhere in the world. Advancements in machine learning algorithms provide exciting opportunities for dynamic, interactive, self-guided training content and the potential to reduce instructor workload. The combination of all of these technologies have the potential to facilitate the democratization and decentralization of pilot training and knocking down barriers due to geography, access, instructor resourcing and cost.