FlightSafety Mixes Reality in New Simulator

An interesting development that might have a profound effect on the training simulation industry is underway at FlightSafety International’s Visual Systems division in St. Louis, Missouri. Some lucky visitors to the Heli-Expo show earlier this year in Anaheim, California, were able to get a private demo of the new technology, which FlightSafety calls a “mixed-reality” flight simulator.

The new simulator takes advantage of the many years of development of FlightSafety’s Vital image generator and visual display, marrying the most recent version with virtual reality headwear and hardware controls to create a mixed-reality simulator. 


Pentagon Eyeing More Advanced Virtual, Augmented Reality Headwear

Technology improvements driven by the commercial sector are expected to yield virtual and augmented reality goggles that solve many of the problems associated with the headsets being used by the U.S. military today, experts say.

Virtual reality, or VR, immerses users in a computer generated environment, such as video gaming. Augmented reality, or AR, transposes data or other digitally created images on top of a real-world field of view, such as the yellow first-down marker or the orange strike zone box that TV viewers see when watching football or baseball games.

VR and AR headgear can improve the way troops train for high-end fights against advanced adversaries by providing digitally created enemy forces or other environmental factors that they might encounter in a real battle, officials have noted.


CAE launches new virtual reality trainer

WASHINGTON ? As the U.S. Air Force looks increasingly toward virtual reality for speeding up and cutting the cost of pilot training, Canadian defense firm CAE is stepping forward with own courseware and virtual reality system with the hopes of attracting interest from the U.S. and international militaries.

CAE will debut its CAE TRAX Academy curriculum and Sprint Virtual Reality trainer this week at the Interservice/Industry, Training, Simulation and Education Conference. Throughout the show, the company plans to conduct T-6 flight demonstrations using both products.


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.


Full Flight Simulators Incorporate VR for Next Generation of Pilots

Modern full-flight simulators are so realistic that a student pilot can learn to fly from scratch in the virtual world and step directly into an aircraft for real-world, leave-the-ground checkout flights.

High-fidelity virtual reality simulators may be one answer to training the thousands of pilots the global helicopter industry will need to meet an expected skyrocketing demand over the next decade. To make that training more efficient and affordable, it is important to tailor training to individual students, according to Nick Scarnato, director of global strategy, training and mission systems at Collins Aerospace.

Growing up in the digital age, raised on handheld computers, immersive video games and the Internet, younger pilots learn differently than the methods employed by many, traditional pilot training programs, he said.


Inside the Air Force’s Plan to Revolutionize Pilot Training

When Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited AFWERX’s Pilot Training Next program in Austin, Texas, last year, she watched as trainees took flight from the seats in front of her — through the use of virtual reality. It piqued her interest enough to ask service officials to explore ways that similar flight simulator programs could be introduced to high schools to get young students involved in the nation’s endeavors to create more pilots.


Army to kick off virtual reality pilot training program in April

The U.S. Army will kick off in April a program to test just how effective virtual reality and simulation may be in training students to fly helicopters, with hopes the results could offer a strategy to improve its curriculum and get more would-be pilots in the air faster.

The effort comes in part to better position the Army to meet more ambitious training requirements that the service hopes will combat the ongoing struggle to head off a pilot shortage.


This Inventor May Have Cured Motion Sickness Without Drugs. And That Could Mean a Lot to the US Military

An inventor may have discovered a non-pharmaceutical cure for car sickness that could revolutionize the way people experience everything from travel to the newest virtual-reality headsets. That, in turn, could affect how the military trains, fights, and?navigates.

Just like civilians, troops get motion-sick. A 2009 study by the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory found that more than half of soldiers got sick while riding in Army vehicles. Roughly 25 percent of military personnel got sick on ?moderate seas? and 70 percent on ?rough seas.? In the air, as many as 50 percent of personnel get airsick; even 64 percent of parachutists reported?episodes.

To treat symptoms, troops typically take a drug called scopolamine. It has serious side effects, most notably drowsiness, so soldiers often take it with an amphetamine that carries its own downsides and side effects. It?s like being on uppers and downers at once, which makes for a fatiguing Friday night, much less a?war.

The military?s problems with motion sickness will worsen considerably as more and more training is conducted in virtual?reality.

These Air Force Trainees Spend Less Time In the Cockpit, More Time In Flight Simulators

In a makeshift classroom in Austin, Tex., 20 hand-picked airmen may represent the future of Air Force pilot training. They’re spending less time in the cockpit and more time in front of screens.

They’re the first participants in Pilot Training Next, an experimental program that relies heavily on virtual reality and artificial intelligence tools. The first class graduated this month.

“We haven’t really changed our pilot training for at least 20 years,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. “Yet technology and our understanding of how adults learn has changed quite a bit.”

The Austin classroom houses two rows of flight simulators. But they’re a far cry from the $2 to $3 million-dollar ones the Air Force normally uses. Each unit is made from an enhanced Windows PC, an HTC Vive headset, a gaming joystick and throttle. They cost about $10,000.

Airmen earn their wings in 6 months with modern pilot-training program

The Air Force is working to streamline and improve pilot training by using virtual reality and modern teaching methods.

The first graduates of Pilot Training Next ? a six-month program at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Austin, Texas, designed to accelerate the learning curve to becoming a pilot ? are slated to pin on their wings Friday, Capt. Jeff Kelley, a T-6 Texan II instructor, told Stars and Stripes in a recent phone interview.

?We believe that pilot training can be done faster, better and cheaper,? he said of the program, which is searching for inefficiencies in an Undergraduate Pilot Training program that has seen little change in more than half a century.