Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


In the world of Air Traffic Management, words such as NextGen (NextGeneration) and SESAR (Single European Sky- ATM Research) elicit a sense of excitement or trepidation as to what this means for the world of Air Traffic Management (ATM). A number of collegiate institutions including members of the University Aviation Association (UAA), have degree programs that include air traffic control curriculum and different levels of simulation. Working in partnership with the FAA, these schools developed curriculum that met the basic needs of air traffic control, some going over and above the basic requirements to include high-fidelity simulation. What we know from the technological advancements with NextGen is that controllers will use automation more than ever; some tasks that were done manually before will now be handled by automation, and more decisions that a controller needs to make to separate aircraft will be handled by technology.

The findings from the study found there were significant differences in the perceptions of students regarding air traffic control simulation based on the demographic factors investigated in the study, and with students who had prior experience with air traffic control simulators or prior experience with simulation in another training environment. This may be due to the fact that some students were more comfortable with technology and were able to capitalize on the learning experience and not worry about the technical aspects of the simulator. Recommendations from the study resulted in several areas that may need further research.