Research Foundation News

January 28, 2020

Air Force provides $1 million in funding for Purdue-related technology to improve critical pilot skills

phone-screens PlaneEnglish, a simulator created by three Purdue alumni, has received a $1 million SBIR Phase II award, sponsored by the Air Force and AFWERX, the Air Force’s technology and innovation hub. (Image provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Three Purdue University alumni will soon help more members of the U.S. Air Force advance critical communication skills to keep them safe in the cockpit.

PlaneEnglish, a simulator created by the three Purdue alumni, has received a $1 million SBIR Phase II award, sponsored by the Air Force and AFWERX, the Air Force’s technology and innovation hub. The technology addresses important communication and training needs for the Department of Defense.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to play an even bigger part in helping the Air Force train pilots using a digital approach that’s proven popular with users,” said Muharrem Mane, one of the creators of the simulator.

PlaneEnglish is an app-based aviation radio simulator to help new pilots acquire radio communication proficiency by developing advanced skills in more realistic environments.

Mane, an alumnus of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Eren Hadimioglu, an alumnus of the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology; and Sam Dickson, an alumnus of the Department of Computer Science, created and developed PlaneEnglish. The technology’s simulator is used in dozens of airports across the United States, and the team just launched a version of the technology for civilian pilots.

PlaneEnglish lessons guide users through simple and complicated interactions with air traffic control on every phase of flight from taxi out, to takeoff, to airspace entrance, to approaches, to taxi in.

Mane also said the technology comes at a time when the Federal Aviation Administration has put an increased focus on English language proficiency for pilots, and started asking instructors to test their students on their speaking and communication abilities.

The PlaneEnglish team works out of the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, and the creators work closely with the Purdue Research Foundation as they develop their technology.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, 
Source: Muharrem Mane,

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