Security screening personnel at 79 US airports are to be selected, trained and evaluated using a computer-based system intended to provide standardised, realistic training combined with performance testing. Improved training for screeners was one of the key recommendations of the 1996 Gore Commission on aviation safety and security.

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded Safe Passage International, of Rochester, New York, an $11 million contract to install computer-based training (CBT) workstations for the Screener Proficiency Evaluation and Reporting System (SPEARS). The system has been under test at 19 airports and the new contract will expand its use to an additional 60, each airport receiving between two and 10 workstations.

The SPEARS is being developed by the FAA to "-select, train, evaluate and monitor the performance of employees who operate the X-ray screening checkpoints". The CBT module will be used to test candidates and provide "self-paced, realistic learning" as well as refresher training.

A module is being developed that will enable the artificial images of improvised explosive devices to be projected on to the images of real bags as they pass through the X-ray machines.

The threat image projection module will be capable of simulating thousands of different threats, automatically scaling them to fit the bags, the FAA says.

Source: Flight International