FAA Explores New Flying Concepts, Technologies

 - December 28, 2018, 3:41 PM
The FAA is collaborating on an EZ Fly aircraft and demonstrator that will be used as a learning tool on simplifying flying. (Photo: GAMA)

The FAA is collaborating with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on an EZ Fly aircraft and demonstrator designed to help the agency develop policies that will make flying easier and safer as the industry is on the cusp of urban mobility.

The agency detailed the ongoing project during a recent meeting of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s Simplified Vehicle Operations Subcommittee at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the association said.

There, the FAA gave a presentation, “A Revolutionary Cockpit Concept Research Sponsored by the FAA Office of Policy and Innovation,” highlighting the project to a group of more than 70 government and industry leaders and researchers.

According to GAMA, the agency launched the project about two years ago to demonstrate capabilities of simplified small aircraft operations to an average person and use that research to make piloting more intuitive.

During the presentation, the FAA selected a non-pilot to take the controls of the demonstrator. The volunteer was able to conduct a series of maneuvers. “Because the interface has been designed to completely protect the aircraft, the simplicity of flying with limited or no training was immediately apparent and the minutes-old pilot quickly matched the skills of an experienced pilot,” a GAMA spokesperson said.

One anecdote involving the demonstrator was a change of heart that occurred when the demonstrator was shown to a person with a fear of flying. Within minutes of using the demonstrator’s automated approach, the person became comfortable with using it, and the experience ignited an enthusiasm toward flying. But once the automation was shut down, the student became frustrated and no longer wanted to pilot the demonstrator.

“GAMA’s members are working hard on building amazing innovations that will make flying easier and more accessible while maintaining the highest level of safety,” the spokesperson said. “The FAA has been researching these innovations and has been working arm-in-arm with the industry to bring amazing new capabilities into the air.”

The agency has brought together internal experts to collaborate with industry to build on lessons learned and bring new ideas into fruition, the association added.