NASA has partnered with American Airlines in a deal that will span the next five years, giving NASA researchers observational access to AA cockpits during flights throughout the years. The observations will be used as part of the space agency’s work on improving cockpit displays, as well as flighting training and “other flight desk operations,” NASA said in a statement. Under the partnership, NASA researchers will be able to tag along on half a dozen or more round trip flights every year for the next half decade.
The idea behind the partnership is that researchers who are working on the aforementioned projects need to see cockpits in real time and in real usage scenarios, something that will best enable them to improve on the technologies. “It gives us a better idea not only about how current technology works, but how designs for future flight deck systems can provide the most impact,” said senior NASA Langley researcher Steve Young.
American Airlines will also make its professional pilots available for NASA testing at times; those pilots will be able to offer comments and their own observations on NASA’s work, helping shape it into something suitable for real-world use. Per NASA’s statement, it appears American Airlines will benefit through access to better flight training.
NASA’s researchers will ultimately be tackling a variety of projects, including improving the vision displays used by flight crews, developing new technologies to aid pilots in determining specific aircraft behavior causes, and more. NASA has partnered with other airlines in the past, likewise to further its various research projects.