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Plans for 2017

Anthony Lawrence



With the new community cohesion plans, Community Championships/Leaderboards, Central Training, and Pilot Training exercises all announced, it is a good opportunity for me to outline the plans for our department as we go forward and some of the technical challenges we need to overcome.

Quarter 1

The most noticeable change for our members that are embarking upon ATC Training will be the rebranding of the RTS System to the CT System to complement the new training plans we are slowly rolling out.

Phase 1 of the CT changes is:

  • Removal of the ability for OBS rated members to join any other Group than "New Controller"
  • OBS members cannot request any sessions until they've attended a group session, completed the Moodle course and completed the Theory Exam.
  • Theory exams will only be valid for 90 days, after which they'll need to be retaken.

Alongside the initial phase of Central Training, we'll slowly say goodbye to the RTS Groups as we know them currently.  This change has been outlined by the Community team and intends to further separate Training & Community aspects, with a view of fostering a better community culture regardless of rating.

Technical changes here:

  • Invite members to select their Home Community Group from the 15th December.
  • Improvement of statistics tracking in preparation for 1st January.

Finally, it's been asked for multiple times and members have provided plenty of feedback on how they'd like feedback to be handled within the division.  In the new year, we'll be providing further details of what the new feedback system will provide, but the plan is to launch this within Q1 of 2017.

Quarter 2

The Pilot Training Department have worked hard to produce a range of Pilot Training Exercises for members to complete.  We had to come up with a good, effective and autonomous method of tracking that these are completed to the required standard in order to award members for their efforts.

Within Q2 we'll be launching SmartCARS alongside the Pilot Training Exercises in order to meet these expectations.

Technical changes here:

  • Method of storing and displaying the expected Pilot Training Exercises.
  • Allowing members to "book" their PTE so that it appears within their SmartCARS Client.
  • Allow members to submit a PIREP following their flight
  • Provide an interface for members to review their past flights and receive feedback on what they've achieved (or how to improve).

By this time we'd imagine that Phase 2 of Central Training would be ready to release.  This, by far, provides the most technical challenges for us:

  • Removal of Regional Training Schemes
  • Create Group A and Group B
  • Ensure members are migrated to the correct training group depending on which stage of their training they're in (further details of how students currently undergoing training/approaching their exam, will be provided closer to the time).
  • Provide further automation of being able to request sessions and complete theory exams only once Moodle courses are complete.

We see an awful lot of tickets submitted from members who we've failed to correctly signpost to a suitable solution before they even ask for help.  We're slowly developing a concierge service which will replace the front-end of helpdesk.  Essentially, this service will force members to search for a help topic before they can open a ticket.  If they're unable to find an article to help them, they'll be asked a series of diagnostic questions to further provide support.  If, after all these possibilities have been exhausted, members are still struggling then we'll open a ticket on their behalf and put them in touch with the correct team.

This will compliment the Tawk.To service that members will have seen rolling out across services already.

By now we'll have a good amount of data to review for the community leaderboards.  This will enable us to agree on a point scoring structure/system and check that our plans are skewed towards a certain group or that our algorithm doesn't penalise those with fewer members than average.  We'll launch this alongside the new membership profiles - an example of which is shown here.


Quarter 3

We're anticipating that by Q3 we'll have been able to ratify the leaderboard structure and points system.  Once this has been done we'll be launching to the wider membership.

Our tasks for this quarter are:

  • Retrospectivly award points from 1st January until launch
  • Run statistics every evening and present the latest statistics to members
  • Allow members to compare community groups during a leaderboard period to track their current progress.
Quarter 4

Forecasting up to this point is challenging. However, we'd anticipate that we'll be in a position to apply the final CT changes/improvements to the web services.


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