In 2006 the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced it was introducing new competency based training (CBT) regulations requiring all flight schools to keep detailed reports of all student training flight programmes.
To comply, the University of South Australia (UniSA) Aviation Academy had to maintain an achievement record, training summary, training matrix, achievement matrix, lesson plan template and lesson and assessment record for each student. The additional reporting would now require data entry from flying instructors who had to quickly learn how to use the new FlightFile as well as adopting the CBT's into their training environment. The Academy trains an average of 50-60 students in a training year, with an average of 70 flights a week. An upgraded system needed to be implemented that would cope with the student learning competency requirements and still be user friendly enough for administration staff and flying instructors to pick up quickly. The upgraded system had to replace the existing one without any interruption to the Aviation Academy's student flying schedule.
Frank Pellas, Business Manager - Division of IT, Engineering & Environment, University of South Australia had previously designed a system using Filemaker Pro to record and track flying operation costs to ensure that the operation costs were covered by the students' tuition fees. This original system had been performing successfully from 2003 to 2007 however, Pellas explained, “We needed a solution to centrally store detailed data on our aircraft, employees, students, flights, performance and aerodromes.”
The introduction of the new CBT by CASA provided an even greater challenge as this required data entry by flying instructors. The original data base had been managed by the Aviation Academy Administrator and this person was the only one responsible for data entry. The new database had to incorporate all the features and operational functions of the original system, plus the added requirements for student competency records on each training flight, and be quickly embraced by new users.