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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.

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