FLYBY DFW, a mobile app dedicated to teaching all ages key aspects of aviation/aerospace while virtually flying the world’s most sophisticated aircraft, is available as a free download through a government and business partnership led by DFW Regional Aerospace Consortium and North Central Texas Council of Governments.
“Aviation is one of the leading economic drivers in North Texas, providing an impact to the region exceeding $40 billion,” said Tom Harris, president of Alliance Air/Aviation Services, and chairman of the DFW Regional Aerospace Consortium. “FLYBY DFW” seeks to generate interest in aerospace and aviation careers for elementary, middle and high school students in an effort to build the local talent pipeline for future employment opportunities.”
The North Central Texas Council of Governments partnered with the DFW Regional Aerospace Consortium, a Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County initiative, local aerospace companies, such as Bell Helicopter, Lockheed Martin, ELBIT, and others, and the University of Texas at Arlington to develop FLYBY DFW.
Game participants can pilot aircraft such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, Bell Helicopter’s V-280 and Airbus Helicopters’ H155 and EC255 through varying levels that test maneuvering abilities and industry knowledge. Operating in virtual re-creations of Fort Worth Alliance Airport, the Dallas-Fort Worth city-scape and Corpus Christi waterfront, gamers amass points by collecting coins, completing airdrops, dodging other aircraft – and not crashing. Bonus points are collected at the end of each level by correctly answering aviation trivia questions.
“As Dallas-Fort Worth leads much of the nation in aviation and aerospace, it is of paramount importance that we recruit and prepare additional aerospace professionals and skilled laborers to support our industry’s continued success. Concurrently, we also need to educate young people and their families on the rewarding and high paying careers available to them in aviation and aerospace,” said Harris.
The industry will require approximately 617,000 new commercial airline pilots nationally over the next 20 years, according to aircraft manufacturer Boeing. Technicians will be in even higher demand. Boeing projects that 679,000 new maintenance technicians will be required by 2035 industry-wide. In North Texas, Lockheed Martin has a need for 1,800 aircraft technicians on its F-35 production line alone by 2020.
Tapping into the interest and everyday skills of the next generation’s workforce, gaming is an effective way to inspire and engage the pilots and aerospace technicians of tomorrow. National research shows that 91 percent of children ages 2-17 spend time gaming on a variety of devices. By embracing gaming, the industry has found a new way to reach future aviators and aviation professionals.
With three major commercial airports, a large military installation and aviation and aerospace companies with significant operations in the region, opportunities abound for the next generation of North Texans to become involved in the industry.
The game is available for Apple and Android devices by searching “FLYBY DFW” in the Apple App Store, or “FLYBY DFW” via Google Play.