Ab Initio Training Conference

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WATS 2024 is entirely dedicated to airline simulation and training, allowing you to discover the latest innovative training solutions. Ab Initio schools have an important role to play in providing future pilots in sufficient numbers and of a quality suitable to move on to commercial multi-engine jet operations. The WATS Ab Initio Training Conference sessions will provide key insights into the future of the industry.

To find out more about the speakers and to learn what they’ll be talking about, click on their name or go straight to the Meet the Speakers page.

Ab Initio Conference Moderator: Paul Preidecker

Day 1 – Tuesday 30th April 2024

0930-1030  Session 1 – Opening Remarks & Keynote Presentations (all streams)
Room: i1-4
1) Michael Whitaker, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
2) Captain Erika Armstrong, Pilot (Part 135 and 121)/Director of Marketing, Advanced Aircrew Academy
The Pilot Brain: How Personality Affects Safety

1030-1115  Coffee Break
Sponsored by: EPST/COMPASS

1115-1245  Session 2 – Regulatory & Training Market Outlook (all streams)
Room: i1-4
1) FAA Update
2) Roger Marszalek, Director, Market Strategy & Product Marketing – Civil Aviation, CAE
Aviation Talent Forecast

1245-1415  Lunch

1415-1545  Session 3 – Different Approaches, Same Outcome?
Room: Wekiwa 6/7
A Panel Discussion on Ab Initio Training
Moderated by Paul Preidecker
Panelists:

  • Samantha Bowyer, Associate Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Lee Collins, Chief Executive Officer, National Flight Training Alliance
  • Lee Woodward, Chief Executive Officer, Skyborne Aviation Group Ltd.
  • Kelvin Mason, Senior Manager, Propel, Delta Air Lines

1545-1630  Coffee Break

1630-1800  Session 4 – The Expectations of Experience – Beyond the Numbers
Room: Wekiwa 6/7
1) Jeff Wolf, Senior Vice President, National Flight Training Alliance
Does Flight Training in America Need a Fundamental Overhaul?
2) Captain Salvador Costa Pereira, Chief Operating Officer/Head of Training, Sevenair Academy
Bridging the Gap Between Airline Training and Ab Initio Training
3) Katherine Baker, M.A., Senior Manager, Learning Design, JetBlue University & Amanda Bond, PhD, Manager, Learning Analytics, JetBlue University
The 1,500 Hour Rule: Quantifying Experience

1800-1900  Networking Reception in Exhibition Hall

Day 2 – Wednesday 1st May 2024

0900-1030  Session 5 – The Cost of Doing Nothing
Room: Wekiwa 6/7
This panel explores the repercussions of neglecting pilot training, emphasizing the imperative of establishing training and accreditation protocols in early pilot education.

Moderator: Maryanne DeMarco, Executive Director, Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations
Kimberly Pyle, Executive Director, Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, Federal Aviation Administration

1030-1115  Coffee Break
Sponsored by: Moog

1115-1245  Session 6 – It’s Not Too Late to Start Early
Room: Wekiwa 6/7
1) Kathryn Creedy, Aviation Journalist
Developing an Aviation Education Ecosystem and How Everyone Can Help
2) Dr. Carolina Anderson, Associate Professor & Samantha Bowyer, Associate Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Increasing the Pilot Population by Improving Aviation STEM Education in High Schools
3) Dana Marshall, Lead Teacher, South Alberta Flight Academy & Terri Super, Owner, Super T Aviation Academy
Pilot Training in a Canadian Public High School: A Unique Opportunity for All

1245-1415  Lunch

1415-1545  Session 7 – Creating Success Beyond the Norm: Integrating Alternatives
Room: Wekiwa 6/7
1) Captain Marnie Munns, Pilot Training Specialist, Commercial Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services
Revolutionizing Pilot Training: Early Introduction of Competency-Based Training and Assessment
2) Dr. Robert Thomas, Assistant Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Guiding the Selection of Proper XR Displays to Enable Effective Ab Initio Training
3) Dr. Nicholas Wilson, Associate Professor & Dr. Andrew Leonard, Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota
Assessing Stakeholder Opinions in the Shift to Electric-Powered Aircraft

1545-1630 Coffee Break
Sponsored by: Moog

1630-1800  Session 8 – Airline Training Leaders Panel (Pilot & Ab Initio)
Room: i2/3
Moderated by Captain Paul Preidecker & Rick Adams 

  • Captain Jean-Michel Bigarré, President, AMFTA

Day 3 – Thursday 2nd May 2024

0900-1030  Session 9 – Human Factors Panel: Stress, Fatigue and Mental Wellness (Pilot & Ab Initio)
Room: i2/3


0900-1030  BREAKOUT SESSION – Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) (Pilot & Ab Initio)
Room: Wekiwa 4/5
1) Murat Kose, CEO, Quantum3D
Mixed Reality eVTOL Flight Simulator
2) Dr. Steve Ellis, Learning Coordinator, AFWERX Agility Prime Program & Dr. Kent Halverson, Principal Scientist, Senior Director of the Training, Learning and Readiness Division, Aptima, Inc.
Training a New Generation of Pilots and Maintainers: Open Issues in eVTOL Training
3) TBD


1030-1115  Coffee Break

1115-1245  Session 10 – XR Goes Mainstream (all streams)
Room: i2/3
1) Amanda Bentley, Senior Director Integration Sales, Americas, Tobii & Dr. Aki Nikolaidis, Chief Science Officer, VTR
Building Disruptive Training with XR and Eye Tracking
2) Fabi Riesen, CEO & Founder, Loft Dynamics
Virtual Reality in Motion
3) Dr. Julian Abich IV, Senior Human Factors Engineer, Quantum Improvements Consulting
Multi-Pilot Mixed Reality Simulator for Aviation Training 

1245  Closing Remarks

WATS 2024 Sponsors & Partners

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Organised By

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Conference By

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Supported By

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