AFWERX Revolutionizing Pilot Training Open Challenge

The solution submission phase has ended. Pairwise community voting is now open until 11/16/18. The top 2 solutions based on Pairwise Voting will get an automatic invitation to the solution showcase in Austin.

In light of the tremendous interest in this Challenge, as well as relevant questions to the structure of the Challenge/Showcase, the Challenge submission period has been extended from September 12 to November 9, 2018.  We have provided some added clarity to our instructions.  Please review this entire page to fully understand all of the terms and conditions.  If you have already submitted a solution, you may elect to use the additional time to refine or perfect your submission or you may withdraw your submission. Submissions may be edited or deleted until the submission deadline.

We need your innovative solutions!

How will you contribute to the $100M redesign of U.S. Air Force pilot training?

The U.S. Air Force is short 2,000 pilots and needs to train new aviators faster but with the same quality. To do this, the USAF has committed to revolutionizing pilot training with the launch of the “Pilot Training Next” initiative. Endorsed by the most senior leaders of the Air Force, this challenge is prepared to spend up to $300K for the right set of upgrades and solution trials as it launches the next pilot training cohort. If proven successful, technologies and solutions adapted now may be the foundation of a total redesign of the program that has the potential to reach $100M or more in contracts over time.

This iteration needs to incorporate FAA Certification Content, Debriefing Software, Scheduling, LMS (learning management systems), adaptive content, and learner-driven experiences. The necessary funding is available RIGHT NOW to test and explore solutions.

Who are we looking for with this challenge?

Whether you are an aircraft enthusiast, learning expert, or tech industry specialist, we want to hear from you as we continue to refine the Air Force’s Pilot Training program. Please submit your ideas and we will then be able to engage with you!

We’re particularly looking for ideas from

Sectors of industry with solutions in:

  • Data science/data analytics

  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning

  • Biometrics/human performance

  • Simulator development

  • Both virtual reality platforms and graphics engines

  • Adult education and Learning Management System (LMS) platforms

People in the US or other allied countries with:

  • An idea

  • A prototype

  • A full-blown solution already being deployed and earning revenue

Challenge areas Pilot Training Next would like to improve?

FAA Certification Content: Learner adaptive content that will create an FAA Commercial IFR T-6 Texan Pilot Certification 3D model with full physics of T-6A audio, visual, immersive, interactive Adaptive based on student performance

Artificial Intelligence Tutor:
Pilot Training Next previously utilized AI as a tutor that provided game-changing elements of individualized training. However, the current AI could not keep pace with student progress. Request an AI solution that rapidly adapts to accomplished learning objectives

Data Collection:
Request a solution that tags collected data and synchronizes across all sensors, so it can be useful for machine-learning algorithms, or other analytical tools

A suite of biometric sensors and the ability to ingest multiple biometric data streams, assess it, then change the learning environment to optimize student performance

Debriefing Software Platform:
Device-agnostic debriefing tools able to integrate multiple time-stamped data streams automatically and synthesize into a single source for playback. It’s important to integrate the following existing data streams:

  • 360 video

  • Audio

  • kml/DIS

Scheduling App: Automated scheduling solution that suggests optimized daily scheduling of learning objectives based on several dynamic variables

  • Dynamic variables include:

    • Syllabus: Ideas for a course of study allowing student freedom of choice simultaneously guiding learning and training resulting in the desired breadth of knowledge; this can include (but is not limited to)

      • Automating recommendations for students’ progress personalized on historical performance

      • Recommending content for student study and instructor focus

      • Creating a system that ties together a variety of learning and training resources across modalities for self-directed learning

  • Student progress

    • Smart grade sheet: User interface that is accessible and modifiable from internet connectivity that enables students to track the learning progress that connects them directly to the information required for the next phases of training

    • Ability for real-time data to be integrated with grade sheets from automated grading applications

    • Provide a functional dashboard with past, present and future views of progress

    • A holistic viewpoint

  • Factor in weather forecasts

  • Instructor recommendations

AI-enabled Search Engine: Seeking micro-learning opportunities and incentivized study methods that create more guided learning opportunities through the simulator. The search engine must be able to aggregate relevant content based on machine-generated, performance-based search terms

Learning Ecosystem: Interface that allows for real-time collaboration, cloud-based documents, an online knowledge repository, and media which is prioritized to the learner based on smart-algorithms and crowd feedback

We want to hear any/all solutions you have on how to leverage tools or information on any segment listed above to increase the rate and/or quality of the student pilot’s learning experience.


In early 2018 the Air Force leveraged next-generation technology during the first phase of Pilot Training Next by focusing on individualized student training to accelerate learning. The program graduated 13 Pilots in half the time of the traditional approach to Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT)

These articles to document the first phase of our program:

What’s in it for you?

  • Chance to participate in prototype and experimentation funding

  • Potential contracts, agreements, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), and/or Other Transactions Authority opportunities (Please ensure your company has a DUNS number for consideration)

  • An opportunity to attend an event in Austin to meet peers and Air Force customers

  • Recognition for your brand or solution from industry and/or peers

  • Peer and customer collaboration with industry and the government

  • An opportunity to help the Air Force and improve the lives of the people that keep us safe

How long is the challenge and what’s the selection process?

This is an open challenge, and we accept solutions between September 6 - November 9.

The evaluation process of your solution is twofold:

  1. Once submitted to the challenge, your solution will be reviewed for the opportunity to be down-selected to participate in the PTN Showcase event:

    • Your solution must receive ten (10) “likes” by registered users on challenge website in order to be eligible for Expert Review (see #2 below). A “like” is completed by clicking on the ‘thumbs-up’ icon associated with the solution. The submitter of a solution may not “like” their own submission but may recruit any number of users to like their solution on their behalf.

    • In addition to the expert review, there will be a Community Voting phase from November 10 to November 16, 2018. Community voting occurs with the Pairwise function. All registered users on the challenge have up to thirty (30) Pairwise votes. Pairwise is a tool that presents a user with two randomly selected solutions. A vote occurs when the user picks one of the two solutions. The system will not present a solution owner their own submissions. The top two (2) solutions from community voting round will get an automatic invitation to the PTN Showcase in December, 2018 (date TBA). Pairwise results will not be available until after November 16.

  2. All submissions which get 10 “likes” will be provided to a panel of government experts. After being reviewed, the most promising solutions will be sent an invitation to attend the PTN Showcase in Austin, Texas, in December, 2018 (date TBA).

*The government will receive/review all solutions and reserves the right to choose any of the submissions for an invitation to the PTN Showcase, regardless of the number of “likes” it receives if that invitation appears to be the best interests of the government.

What will happen with selected ideas and solutions?

The top two (2) solutions from the Community Voting Phase (using Pairwise) and the other promising solutions chosen by expert review will be invited to present their solution at a 1-2 day PTN Showcase event which will be held in Austin, Texas, sometime in the first two weeks in December, 2018 (time and dates shall be announced before the end of the Submission Phase).

  • Once the PTN Showcase has concluded, a panel of government experts, including pilots, aircrew, and acquisition experts, may choose solutions to be awarded an opportunity to engage the PTN program for a trial/demonstration phase.

  • Depending on the solutions chosen, rapid prototyping and/or collaboration may run from December 2018 – July 2019. Solutions that prove capable of providing significant benefits toward the goal of revolutionizing pilot training could receive additional government contracts.

Some government contracting terms and conditions

·       Announcement of AFWERX events that are considered to have high potential for further efforts that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transaction Authority (OTA) for Prototype Projects, Prizes for advanced technology achievements, and/or Prize Competitions, may be made at the  and/or

·       All announcements made at the and/or website(s) are considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 2374a (b), 15 USC 3719 (e) and 10 USC 2371b (b)(2). 

·       All FAR based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b) accordingly.

·       This challenge will be managed by SAIC, a third party contractor.  Submissions will collected and processed by SAIC on November 9, 2018.  All members SAIC collecting and processing solutions will be working under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  NOTE:  If you submitted a solution prior to this update (October 12, 2018), you may feel free to withdraw that submission from the Challenge and prior to SAIC’s collection on November 9, 2018.

This website was last updated on October 12, 2018 @ 12:04 AM CDT.