Sponsored Research > ASSIST
Development of Automated System of Self-Instruction for Specialized
An Interactive Simulator for Automated Inspection Tasks
Imagine an interactive software
that develops a person's ability to inspect? Clemson University
funded by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in collaboration
with Delta Air Lines and Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center has
developed a computer-based multimedia training (CBT) system
to do just that. This CBT draws on our inspector's knowledge
and skill to hone other inspectors' technique training, resulting
in more effective inspections, which will then improve aircraft
maintenance safety and reliability.
The Automated System of Self-paced Instruction for Specialized
Training (ASSIST) software consists of two parts: a general
module to provide potential inspectors with general information
such as the role of an inspector, factors affecting inspection,
safety and inspection procedures; and a task simulation module
that allows the "inspector" (trainee) to conduct a
simulated inspection of an aft cargo compartment. The simulated
inspection even includes simulated ambient noise such as rivet
guns, hangar door horns and other sounds found in a hangar where
inspector may be working. During the simulation, the trainee
visually searches for and classifies any defects and writes
up a computer generated non-routine card. He or she is provided
with immediate feedback on his or her performance.
According to the research team,
there are many reasons for developing a computer based instruction
program: the older, more experienced inspectors are now retiring,
and we need a more consistent system to train and retrain inspectors
on inspection techniques. In addition, both the airline industry
and FAA agree that steps are needed to enhance inspection effectiveness.
"Delta benefits from participating in the study because
programs like this take a proactive approach to human factors
aviation maintenance research," says Scott Turco, Director
Compliance and Quality
Assurance. "The results of this research will be used by
Delta, and hopefully by aviation communities around the world."
The prime benefits of ASSIST to Delta, according to George Stuckey-General
Manager-Quality and Chief Inspector, "is a consistent and
efficient training process for new inspectors, using a structured
training program that never existed before."
from the Instructor's Manual
Purpose of ASSIST
Automated System of Self Instruction for Specialized Training
(ASSIST) is a multimedia computer- based program designed to
train and retrain aircraft inspectors. The goals of the ASSIST
to provide training
in aircraft inspection,
to allow users
to learn at their own pace,
to monitor the
progress of users, and
to motivate the
users to learn and use the skills through an interesting media-rich
and interactive environment.
Development of the ASSIST software was centered on the aircraft
inspector requirements determined from a detailed task analysis.
The software evolved through appropriate stages of specification,
storyboarding, prototyping, development and user testing. To
ensure the software addressed the needs of the aviation community,
the designers worked in close cooperation with Delta Air Lines
and Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center.
General Inspection Skills Instructional
An introduction explains the need for good aircraft inspection
practices and presents an overview of the program. Then, the
ASSIST software provides five instructional modules:
Role of Inspector: The inspector's role in the aircraft maintenance
Safety: Safety issues that concern the inspector.
Aircraft Review: Types of aircraft the inspector may
Factors Affecting Inspection: Taxonomy and description
of the factors that affect aircraft inspection.
Inspection Procedure: Detailed descriptions of how to
perform aircraft inspection.
After the subject goes through
the five modules, the ASSIST software provides questions that
test the inspector's knowledge on the above topics. The ASSIST
software also includes an aircraft inspection simulator. This
simulator presents an inspection assignment on the form of work
card and information, such as descriptions and indicators, on
the defects that may occur in the inspection task.
The task is to inspect the floor area of the aft cargo bin of
an L-1011 aircraft. The user can visually search the area, click
on a defect to record it, write the appropriate discrepancy
report and use necessary inspection tools. The simulator can
run in feedback/no feedback modes and paced/ unpaced modes.
The simulator setup is customized from the "Simulator Setup"
option in the Instructor's Module.
Some of the inspection parameters,
which can be varied, are:
Inspection Simulator Modules
This module facilitates the collection of data and setting of
parameters to run the simulator. It provides a detailed and
overall summary of the results from the test/quiz for each user.
The parameter setup sub-module allows the instructors to set
up and create inspection scenarios.
Who Can Use the ASSIST Software?
The ASSIST software was designed in a modular format in order
to benefit the greatest variety of potential users. The modules
and sub-modules may be used as stand-alone training programs
or combined in different ways to fit training situation. In
addition, the video and graphics may be incorporated into other
software in order to make a customized presentation. In general,
entities that would benefit from the ASSIST software include:
Students and Instructors
at A & P schools
Stations (inspectors, supervisors, trainers, aircraft maintenance
College and Universities
with aviation disciplines
issues related to inspection
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
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