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Bringing training to-go

A tablet showcasing the Pocket App program is displayed inside of Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, March 15, 2021. The team first created the app to help future Air Traffic Control students study outside of class and hope to achieve funding through the Spark Tank program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine Galloway)

A tablet showcasing the Pocket App program is displayed inside of Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, March 15, 2021. The team first created the app to help future Air Traffic Control students study outside of class and hope to achieve funding through the Spark Tank program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine Galloway)

The Air Education and Training Command Air Traffic Control Pocket App team pose for a photo inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, March 15, 2021. The team first created the app to help future Air Traffic Control students study outside of class and hope to achieve funding through the Spark Tank program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine Galloway)

The Air Education and Training Command Air Traffic Control Pocket App team pose for a photo inside Cody Hall at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, March 15, 2021. The team first created the app to help future Air Traffic Control students study outside of class and hope to achieve funding through the Spark Tank program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine Galloway)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- Master Sgt. Carlos Santiago, 334th Training Squadron Air Traffic Control Apprentice Course superintendent, helped develop the Pocket App alongside a team of four others in response to ATC course students wanting a more effective way of studying outside the classroom.

“The Pocket App is a revolutionary one stop shop ATC training application,” said Santiago. “This app can build anyone that knows nothing about the career, giving them basic principles of air traffic control.”

Students would be able to access the app on their mobile devices to learn the basic principles of air traffic and phraseology, take quizzes, and navigate interactive maps and games. Instructors would receive data to help gauge what areas to focus on more before changing the curriculum.

“We’re trying to accelerate change and we don’t want to be stuck in the times of using paper books when there’s a better way to do it,” said Tech Sgt. Chase Evans, 334th TRS ATC Apprentice Course instructor and Pocket App team member. “We’re aiming to accelerate change so that we don’t lose.”

Though the Pocket App is a working prototype and not fully developed, the team sees its potential to not only benefit students and instructors, but to save the Air Force an estimated $700,000 yearly.  

“We have to continuously innovate in the Air Force and technology is not the solution, but it’s definitely a part of the solution,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Roosa, 334th TRS ATC Apprentice Course instructor and Pocket App team member.

The team has high hopes that the Pocket App will receive funding and are entering the Air Education and Training Command 2021 Innovation Challenge to try and achieve that goal.

“In the beginning I didn’t think it would go this far, but I’m super thankful that it has,” said Santiago.  “To have the major command recognition is definitely a huge step in the right direction. Once that started happening, I felt like the possibilities were endless and that we could actually make a big change.”

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