Training system helps ASU aviation students take wing

April 28, 2015

Students training to be pilots in the aviation programs at Arizona State University have a wing up on their peers.

The university’s Polytechnic School, one ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is the first in the world to integrate a system called PilotEdge with its flight simulator in two advanced academic flight courses. It provides a link to live air traffic control and flight paths that simulate an experience as close to real-life as you can get. ASU aviation program students using PilotEdge in flight simulation Download Full Image

According to instructor Jim Anderson, a retired captain from Southwest Airlines and 20-year U.S. Air Force pilot, “The use of PilotEdge was noted in our recent AABI [Aviation Accreditation Board International] as a ‘best practice,'” putting the ASU flight program at the head of the class.

Airline pilots train in flight simulators, devices that artificially recreate aircraft flight and the environment in which it flies. They include the cockpit and flight controls, as well as a visual system that virtually replicates what it looks like when the pilot is flying. ASU instructors are using the ELITE Simulation Solutions King Air Simulator with PilotEdge.

“This is the first time PilotEdge has been used in this type of setting with our King Air trainer,” said Wayne Keyes, from ELITE Simulation Solutions. “We feel it provides a missing link in using simulation. The student is required to fly the aircraft while also communicating with live air traffic control, just like in the real aircraft.”

Students in the aviation programs are using PilotEdge for airline crew training. Many are already private pilots, but learning to be a commercial pilot requires skills in working with another pilot in the cockpit.

With PilotEdge, they practice skills such as picking up instrument flight rule clearances, taxiing at large, complex airports, instrument approaches, the coordination of multiple practice approaches and a wide variety of point-to-point flights.

What makes PilotEdge unique is the use of real people working all the air traffic control (ATC) positions. Other companies have provided synthetic ATC solutions using voice recognition systems.

“They are completely ineffective in terms of placing any pressure on the pilots, causing any kind of mic fright or building the sense that there is any kind of consequence to the pilot’s actions. There’s a huge difference between flying with synthetic ATC and human-driven ATC,” said Keith Smith, a representative from PilotEdge. “Those who have experienced PilotEdge have been blown away by the fidelity and realism it offers.”

PilotEdge controllers are a mix of active-duty and retired Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers, and well-trained air traffic control students, each with several thousand hours of experience. They are located all over the country and use software that emulates the various radarscopes used in the real world. They connect to that same network, allowing them to see the pilots on their scopes.

Students Katryna Novelozo, David Mizrahi and Tyler Faber demonstrated how PilotEdge operates on a simulated flight to the Santa Barbara airport. Faculty associate Mike Hampshire showed the iPad interface that allows the pilots to track their flight path. Once aloft, Anderson controlled the simulator bringing in clouds and rain to attain a low visibility condition.

“I’m currently trained to be the only pilot, and this training helps teach me how to work with someone else in an airline crew setting,” Faber said. “You learn to talk to air traffic control, to set the course. It feels very real.”

Both Novelozo and Mizrahi are military veterans – she is active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and he served seven years in the U.S. Navy. Both hope to continue their careers as pilots or working for airlines.

For more information on the Polytechnic School's aviation programs, visit

Sharon Keeler

From robots to golf: 10 cool summer camps at ASU

April 28, 2015

Sure, your kids could spend the summer in front of the TV or Xbox, but why not turn up the volume on their summer experience with these 10 cool camps available at ASU?

From robots to golf to digital art, there's something here to spark a variety of interests. For a complete list of all of ASU’s summer programs, visit ASU’s Digital Culture summer program Download Full Image

1. Level up: Create the next great video game

Minecraft and Super Mario aficionados, ever thought of designing your own game? Game Camps are a hands-on opportunity for middle and high school students to learn intensive video-game creation, visualization and production. Participants will use the latest software, hardware and development tools to create concepts and prototypes for 2-D and 3-D video gaming. Student-to-instructor ratios are very low in game camp – professor Kobayashi and one teacher's assistant for every 10 students – making this a very focused, individual experience.

- Ages: Grades 7-12

- Cost: $645 (high school session); $625 (middle school)

- When: High schoolers, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 1-12 (weekdays); middle schoolers, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 15-26 (weekdays)

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Yoshihiro Kobayashi,

2. To the moon, Mars and beyond!

Blast off into space exploration with the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration’s summer camp. You will explore missions, spacecraft and instruments used to find the largest canyons, deepest craters and highest volcanoes of our solar system, and visit science operations centers on ASU’s Tempe campus. Then you’ll design and build your own spacecraft for a mission to the planetary body of your choice!

- Ages: Grades 6-8

- Cost: $225

- When: June 8-19

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Margaret Hufford,

3. When art and technology collide

ASU’s Digital Culture summer program on the Tempe campus will challenge your creative and technical sides through a series of short, project-focused modules. Learn about producing digital music, computational imaging, projection mapping, programming and more.

- Ages: Incoming high school freshman through just-graduated seniors.

- Cost: $900, if registered by May 15

- When: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 8-25 (weekdays)

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Loren Olson, 480-965-9839,

4. We mean ... Fore! Improve that golf game

It’s in the hole! Or at least it will be after your young golfer attends the Sun Devil Golf Camp to learn the mental, physical and technical aspects of the sport – as well as the fundamentals – from ASU golf coaches in this introduction to playing team golf. Day camp and overnight options.

- Ages: Grades 3-12

- Cost: $200 (day camp), $1,100 (overnight camp)

- When: June 14-17 (overnight camp); June 18-19 (day camp)

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Tiernan McMackin, 480-567-5097,

5. Live the college life for 5 weeks

The Summer Collegiate Academy presents an exciting, one-of-a-kind opportunity for academically talented high school students this summer. During this non-residential program, students will become Sun Devils for five weeks and experience university life firsthand, take courses for credit and identify potential career paths through this selective, interactive experience. Summer Collegiate Academy allows students to: fast-track their future with courses for credit; learn how to be successful in college and high school; network with ASU faculty and staff and explore campus resources; establish a relationship with an ASU mentor, complete a capstone project to research careers and set goals for next steps; and experience ASU with a cohort of high-achieving peers.

- Ages: Grades 9-12

- Cost: $500

- When: June 1-July 3

- Where: Tempe or West campuses

- Registration:

- Contact: Taylor Whitley,, or Cecelia Maez, 480-965-6060

6. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

The future is here, and it needs more robots. Your student will design, construct and program them with this camp divided into two age groups:

7Up – Students learn programming using Alice programming environment with 3-D animation and movie and game development. Then students design and construct robots, learn NXT-G robotics programming and participate in the robotics challenge at the level of difficulty similar to FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition.

9Up – Students will learn Microsoft Robotics Studio, robot construction, VPL programming, C# programming, Web programming in Service-Oriented Computing and phone app programming. The camp features a robotics challenge.

- Ages: 7Up, grades 7-8; 9Up, grades 9-12

- Cost: $600. Deadline for scholarship consideration is May 1

- When: 7Up, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. June 1-12 (weekdays); 9Up, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m. June 15-26 (weekdays)

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Yinong Chen,

7. Move over, Trump; these students mean business

Got a budding CEO at your breakfast table? Get her started with the Business Scholars Institute, which introduces participants to business career opportunities and top business faculty. Tomorrow’s leaders will create business projects and begin building that all-important network – and while they’re at it, learn about the W. P. Carey Leaders Academy, an exclusive community for our top business students, and Barrett, The Honors College at ASU. If you’re going to take the world by storm, it’s best to start early.

- Ages: Grade 11

- Cost: $200

- When: June 15-19 (residential; housing and meals included)

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Danna Remillard, 480-965-1930,

8. Everything is awesome at this Lego camp

Unleash those creative powers during the weeklong, full-day FIRST Lego League robotics camp where student teams work their way through 2014 FIRST Lego League (FLL) World Class robotics missions. Along the way they learn basic-to-intermediate EV3 programming and mechanical design. The week culminates in an FLL-style robotics tournament and awards ceremony. 

- Ages: Grades 4-8

- Cost: $225

- When: Tempe, June 1-5 or 8-12. Polytechnic, June 15-19 or June 22-26

- Where: Polytechnic or Tempe campuses

- Registration:

- Contact: Jen Velez,

9. Unleash a student's inner Frank Lloyd Wright

Students can build a towering tomorrow with the Summer Design Primer, an introductory course on the design disciplines of architecture, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture and visual communication design. It introduces such basic design skills as sketching, interpretation and visual organization of information, creative thinking, model construction, spatial thinking and Adobe Creative Suite.

- Ages: Incoming design freshman enrolled at ASU for the fall 2015 semester, and area high school students who will entering their senior year in August 2015

- Cost: $1,500 if paid before 5 p.m. May 15; otherwise, $1,800. Deadline for scholarship consideration is May 31

- When: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. June 15-July 17

- Where: Tempe campus

- Registration:

- Contact: Jessica Vasquez, 480-965-3536,

10. What's college really like? Find out here

High school students can find out what being a Sun Devil is all about through the Summer Experience at ASU West, a distinctive college-prep experience at ASU's West campus. Interactive activities could include research, laboratory and museum visits, presentations, seminars, college-major explorations and panel discussions led by ASU students and faculty. 

Summer Experience at West I (overnight/residential):

- Ages: Grades 11-12

- Cost: $50

- When: June 9-11

- Where: West campus

- Registration:

Summer Experience at West II (non-residential):

- Ages: Grades 9-12

- Cost: $25

- When: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. June 16-18

- Where: West campus

- Registration:

- Contact for both: Anna Calloway, 602-543-2890,

Penny Walker

News director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications