Cracking the ?da Vinci? code: Virtual reality accelerates helicopter aviator training

Aspiring Air Force helicopter pilots are now learning to fly using virtual reality ? and the first class to do so just graduated six weeks ahead of schedule.

The first six students to take part in the experimental VR-augmented training program ? called Rotary Wing Next and nicknamed ?Project da Vinci” after the famed inventor ? graduated at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Oct. 11, Air Education and Training Command said in release that day.

Ultimately, the Air Force hopes to cut its vertical-lift aviator training from 28 weeks to 14 weeks, and to double the number of students it produces each year from 60 to 120, without adding more aircraft or flying hours.


AF Education & Training Shifts To ?Space Warfighting Ethos?: Gen. Webb

AFA 2019: A key focus of Air Education and Training Command (AETC) for the foreseeable future will be training airmen for the space warfighting mission, says Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, the brand new head of Air Force Education and Training Command (AETC).

Space, he said, is a fundamental part of the Air Force?s multi-domain approach to tie together service operations via a lighting-speed command and control network, known as Multi Domain Command and Control (MDC2). But, up to now, it has been the purview of a rather small community within the service.


More academy cadets selected to fly as the Air Force works to close its pilot shortfall

The Air Force has been dealing with a pilot shortage, but the service?s elite four-year academic institution is doing its part to pump out qualified future aviators.

More than 530 cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy?s 2019 graduating class have been matched to attend pilot training pending final qualifications and commissioning.

That is a 26 percent increase over the 2018 graduating class.

?Airmanship is a large part of the academy experience, and a core part of our identity as a service, and we are proud as an institution to offer more flying opportunities to our cadets,? Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Air Force Academy superintendent, said in a press release.

Air Force Seeks New Ideas to Train, Retain Pilots

A new Air Force initiative is calling on its personnel, industry and all aviation enthusiasts to create next-generation technology to train pilots.

The effort comes as the Air Force ? and the aviation industry at large ? faces a major pilot shortage that could threaten future readiness. The Pilot Training Next v2.0 Challenge is administered by AFWERX, an Air Force innovation hub with offices in Las Vegas, Austin, Texas, and Arlington, Virginia.

The goal of the challenge, which was open for submissions through early October, is to develop emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, biometrics, simulator development, virtual reality and adult education, according to AFWERX.

OPINION: ‘There won’t be many prizes for second place’

Humankind’s fascination with space is timeless-but our exploration of space is only just beginning. Our ability to explore and inhabit the heavens will soon catch up with the wistful dreaming of our ancestors. Before long, reality will eclipse fantasy as we go, build, develop, and explore the far reaches of our galaxy, beyond the wildest dreams of those who came before us. Rapid technological progress is making access to space cheaper, more powerful, and more reliable. We see titans of industry staking personal fortunes to explore and develop space. And we see the military taking an ever-more active role in defending space from those who would deny its advantages. But these moves are just the beginning. As the human quest for adventure leads inevitably deeper into space, we would be wise to act with urgency across the spectrum of society to ensure that humanity’s approach to developing space is in keeping with our values. Our destiny as Americans is in space. But we must act quickly if we want to shape that destiny for the good, before others shape it for us.

Navy, Air Force Are Gaming the Recruiting System

Remotely operating an unmanned vehicle (UxV) has often been compared to playing a video game. But while there is a lot more to it than that, the military has found that games do have value in helping them identify potential recruits who have the abilities needed for drone piloting. New programs by the Navy and Air Force are reinforcing the idea that specifically tailored gaming systems can reveal the cognitive skills and personality traits necessary to operate their growing ranks of UxVs.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the development of a game called StealthAdapt, which will look beyond game scores by giving players a range of activities closer to those of actual UxV operators and measuring how well they handle it.