Frequently asked questions
Eligibility is limited to students from colleges and universities in the United States. Additionally, all team members, including all faculty advisors and students, must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
No, international students are not eligible to participate in this Challenge. Team members must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Please refer to the Eligibility section in the Challenge Guidelines for a list of all eligibility requirements.
Yes, teams may collaborate with industry partners if desired. Industry partners and point of contact should be included on the cover page of the Abstract.
Yes, you are still eligible to participate as long as you are enrolled during one semester of the 2022-2023 academic year. Per the Eligibility requirements section, “Student team members must have been enrolled in a US-based college/university for at least one semester (or quarter equivalent) during the 2022-2023 academic year.”
Yes, FAA interns are welcome to participate through their university.
The data needed will be defined by the problem or need the team decides to explore. Please visit the resources section for past examples of research for project ideas and visit the link to the sites below for data sets available to the public. If your team has questions in the future about a specific data set, please send it to the challenge email, email@example.com.
This is the FAA’s first Data Challenge. In previous years, other challenges have been conducted with a different focus to include Smart Connected Aviation and Smart Airports — examples from previous successful teams of the 2020-2022 FAA Challenge are available on the website, https://faachallenge.nianet.org (2020 and 2021 are listed under the “Archives” tab).The FAA has also partnered with universities through the federally funded research. Participants are encouraged to explore past projects archived in the technical library.
At this time, non-US citizens/residents are not eligible to participate. The FAA will take this feedback and explore whether this is a possibility for future challenges.
Other datasets may be found on the FAA Data Portal, Data & Research site, and Sherlock Data Warehouse (see links on Resources page of website). We encourage teams to research and include in your Abstracts, then reach out to us again with specific data assets that are of interest to your team.
There are several datasets that are publicly available. We can work to provide a list and the location where the data is available. Examples: FAA Accident/Incident Database (AIDS), Service Difficulty Reporting System (SDRS), NTSB (authoritative source of aviation accidents and incidents), etc. FAA will gather resources and share directly with this team soon.
We will be looking for Originality! We are seeking new approaches that are different than what FAA and other research projects have been done before. We highly encourage participants to do research to learn more about what has been done or mentioned in that particular topic.
It is optional to have a proof of concept. Being able to demonstrate the viability of your idea whether it’s using sample data or actual data that you were able to access but enough so that your idea can be well understood by those who are going to be evaluating it to understand how it can be applied.
We are not looking for the code when you’re submitting the abstract.
No. You are not required to follow any template for the Abstract. Please be sure to follow the simple formatting instructions and include the required elements as detailed on the Abstract webpage.
No, the Abstract does not need to include a demonstration. You will have time to build out your solution after Finalist Teams are selected and such details may be included in the Technical Paper.
No, your Works Cited will not be counted as part of your 12-page max.
We understand that some solutions may not produce a project concept graphic. Therefore the bullet in the Requirements document has been updated to “Graphic or image of concept, if applicable.” If a project does have some sort of identifiable graphic, it’s nice to include on the cover to help the judges.
The ambiguous term “concept” is used because we want teams to present their solution at whatever level it can be developed during this timeframe.
For the Challenge purposes, we understand you are constrained by many variables – time and cost being large ones. The FAA is seeking new ideas of how to use AI/ML and data analytics to solve current problems. So, if the scope of your project is larger than you can fulfill during the academic year or would require external resources, it’s certainly expected that you may not have a “finished” product by June. Therefore, we are asking for “concepts,” which can be your potential solution and plan of action.
The Evaluation Criteria may help you understand how the judges will be considering each presentation – for instance, “can be implemented,” “approach to solving the problem,” “described the depth of integration required to implement the innovation”…
Also keep in mind the required sections of the paper – problem statement, solution definition, methodology, and key findings.
Of course, the further you can go with your research and show how implementation of your concept (idea/solution/innovation) will benefit the FAA with these challenges will be favorable. If you are presenting a solution that cannot be fully developed during this Challenge timeline, be sure to describe how you envision it being implemented and why you expect it to make a significant impact.
No, biographies are not required to be included in the technical paper. However, resumes may be uploaded (optional) on the Registration Form to be shared with our Steering Committee.
The Executive Summary is intended to give the judges a brief overall understanding of your project before they delve into the “Body of Report” details. The “requirement” is to explain all/any of those details as appropriate for your project – which is usually clearly written as separate paragraphs, but the formatting (ie, number of paragraphs) can be customized to your work.
There is no prescribed format per se, but there are a few guidelines. The posters should be “standard size” (48” x 36”) and printed horizontally. Specific details for all of the deliverables is included in the Deliverables Requirements document. In the past, we were more prescriptive on what needs to be on the poster, but this year the requirements didn’t need to be so defined. Obviously, make sure your project title and team are listed. And the rest should expound upon any important concepts and provide visuals to guide your poster presentation discussions with the judges.
Posters will be evaluated on the visual presentation and your ability to provide details about the project. It counts only 5% toward your team’s final scoring.
You may look at posters presented for our 2022 FAA Challenge at https://faachallenge.nianet.org/2022-faa-challenge-forum/ (and 2020-2021 under the Archives tab), but the goal and themes were quite different from this year.
I also found a couple of sites from UNC that may be helpful:
Yes, there is also time (8-9am) on Wed before the Forum begins that you can check in. We are just doing the Tues night one to save time and crowd control that morning. A table will be set up in front of the Auditorium.
No. As of May 1, 2023, MITRE ended all COVID protocols.
Please print them and bring them with you. We will have thumbtacks to adhere them to foam-core boards so they are easier to travel with. You may also wish to print the file at a nearby McLean store so you don’t have to fly with them.