VR flight simulator : Could the VR flight simulator be the future for pilot training?
VR flight simulator : For almost a decade flight simulator has been the ultimate method for pilot training and although this has brought many benefits to the aviation industry a lot has changed in technology over time. With the introduction and engagement of virtual reality (VR) in pilot training, it is bound to usher a whole era of professional pilot training with far-reaching consequences for the aviation industry.
A simple mistake in simulator training does not cost the lives of the passenger, the pilots have a clear understanding that they are not in the air unlike in real life where a single mistake can lead to a great disaster.
So will Virtual reality be the key part of the equation we are missing? From things being the right amount of real for the students to really grasp their training?
There are clear reasons why VR flight simulator has proven to be the next great technological breakthrough gaining acceptance as the new way to train pilots.
Less time consuming
Proving to be more efficient and less time-consuming in the long run. With the traditional training method, a student pilot would take up to a year to finally get his or her wings.
In the United States the Air Force’s Pilot Training Next program saw a dozen students out of a class of thirty earn their wings within four months.
Everything has a price, but just how costly is the VR tech compared to the traditional simulator technology.
With only an investment of $1000 training pilots with VR headsets and advanced bio-metrics. Whereas Cockpit experience with “legacy” flight simulators, comes in at a much heftier price tag of $4.5 million per unit.
Accurate learning experience
Students were able to fully immerse themselves in a cockpit using an HTC Vive virtual reality headset mentioned above. While bio-metrics monitored heart rate and pupil measurement ( giving flight instructors an accurate reading of just how immersed students were in the learning experience)
something not possible with traditional flight simulators.
The problem with the flight simulator tests is that they did not mirror the real-life situation. The pilots always have a prepared reaction to the Planned situations it presents. Flying in the sky is much more difficult as opposed to practicing on the ground.
To bridge this gap NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in conjunction with Systems Technology Inc. is taking the flight simulator to the air. Proudly named ‘fused reality’ the head-mounted VR tool will enable pilots to train while in air.
The long term vision for Fused Reality is that every plane will have a built-in flight simulator capability.
With the rapidly changing technology, training for the pilot is becoming more real and practical. Although VR technology still has a long way to go, it is developing in leaps and bounds. For now, the pilots of tomorrow can put on a VR headset and get to grips with a Cessna 172, fly the Airbus A320 and master a Boeing 747. After all, it all started with a dream before it became a reality.