Are Virtual Reality Flight Simulators The Future Of Pilot Training?

Virtual Reality Flight

To the surprise of many, flight simulators are not a new advancement. With over 80 years under its belt, the game style reality training has been used to train both commercial and military pilots.

But, with many advancements being made within the quality of technology, with breakthroughs hitting old school simulation, there was the need to make way for virtual reality, especially within the piloting industry.

Virtual reality and deep learning workstations are about to change the way potential pilots are taught up and down the country, no matter the industry they are going into, ushering in a whole new era of professional training, with the aviation industry hitting teaching heights like no other.

This being said, are we suggesting that virtual reality will be the forefront of the pilot training industry in the future? Well, in this article we will be discussing just this, how the advancement is implementing itself into the schools, and why there is no other training as successful as the real-life simulations of virtual reality pilot training.

What Is Virtual Reality Pilot Training?

The way in which flight simulation is created is by placing the training pilots in a controlled area that feels and looks as though they are flying an aeroplane, without the risk factors at chance from actually doing it.

They are placed in a fake setting of the front cockpit on a plane situated on a moving machine that can angle itself up to 6 degrees, with the realistic visuals seen through the television ‘window’. This allows the trainee to get hands-on experience of what flying in all different situations would be like, without the need of wasting fuel, contributing to air pollution or risking lives of passengers (in some cases).

However, while the simulator has brought huge success in the training on aspiring pilots, they are extremely expensive, with prices reaching up to $12 million, without the additional cost of the simulation features. As well as this, the chosen cockpits are only used for a temporary time, until a new style is released, to which the simulator has to be updated or training cannot continue, meaning that a large sum of money is going to be spent, again.

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Ultimately, the cost of pilot training is extremely costly and out of the reach of many, making many decide to move away from their flying desires to a more suitable career path.

Easing The Complexity Of Flying

Flying a plane is possible one of the most demanding tasks out there. A pilot must safely move and return human passengers over long periods of time, to different places all over the world with the hopes of there being no trouble. The pilot needs considerable skill, knowledge, awareness and above all, practice, something in many cases is unavailable due to having insufficient funding.

This is where VR pilot training can become most beneficial.

The users can get to know a situation from walking the plane lengths to being placed inside the cockpit, all before being placed into the real thing. The headset can give a realistic experience, that in some cases can be much preferred to that of the physical cockpit training, giving the same experience at a more lifelike level. With this comes a much better training scheme, the more lifelike the training, the better the pilot will be in the real thing.

Emotional Training

It is paramount that a pilot has the ability to stay emotionally aware when working, in the event of trouble, they must be able to apply themselves to the situation, rather than let their concern get the better and take a toll on how well the event is resolved.

Virtual reality has the great ability to be able to trick the user’s brain into believing what is being seen is real. Because of this, it can easily simulate the event of an emergency, for the user to both experience the event, and control the way in which they chose to react. The training is like no other, with no other device having the ability to create the fake yet realistic scenario, if we didn’t have the VR training, the pilots would have to deal with situations for the first time, as they are happening, which could be the cause for a problem.

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Not only this, but the VR simulation can train the pilots and even the cabin crew in becoming empathetic with passengers in the event of a life-threatening situation. This is a trait particularly important for those working on a plane, being a cause for many to have anxiety, having the crew able to calm and control these situations will be effective over the course of all flights.

Understanding The Responsibility

When training to become a pilot, it is important for those teaching to aid the pupils into the understanding that they do have lives in their hands, and the preparation of absorbing this information, particularly before a flight is likely terrifying. But, the use of immersive VR pilot training has proven best, in ensuring the training pilots know the responsibility they are carrying.

The somewhat burden of this responsibility is easily managed with the use of VR, helping the users to both understand, and visualise how a situation may pan out. This way, they have the experience under their belt, even if it is automated, to know how to best handle ensuring all lives are protected.

Flexibility

There is no room for mistakes when working with a real-life plane due to being prohibitively expensive to try and fix.  But, with the use of virtual reality pilot training, the user can crash the plane, ruin the plane features, and ultimately make any mistake wished, without the need to try and maintain a plane or give out the ridiculous amounts to replace one. Not to mention, making mistakes is the best way to learn, and with real-life training in an area as dangerous as this, mistakes cannot be made, so learning is made much more difficult.

As well as the ability to save a huge amount of money, pilots also have the ability to train wherever they wish in the world to gain as much experience as possible. From the simplicity of the home to the office or on travels, with VR, there is no reason to not train. Again, this is even more money saved on traditional travel costs that may have been needed in the past to get to the cockpit set up, as well as the likely much higher training fees cut down due to VR pilot training.

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This may work even better for those who have learning difficulties such as ADHD. For those who have to spend most of their time in an autism specific school, finding the time to take part in pilot training can be difficult. But, with the flexibility of the VR headset, training can happen at any given moment and not delaying those who possible difficulties from achieving their career aspirations.

Summary

Virtual reality pilot training can quite clearly change the way in which a pupil is taught in order to prepare them for their much awaited first flight. With the advancement being able to cover so many different areas of flying, through simulation, a potential pilot can be covered for almost anything that may arise in a real-life flight, through extensive automated experiences.

It goes without saying that a handful of occurrences will not be able to be taught, and will need to be addressed if the rare occasion of them happening arises. But aside from these, the VR pilot training can prepare the pilots for emotional situations, the events of a plane issue where flying can be life-threatening, and even understanding the mental strain faced by many pilots, understanding whether the trainee has the ability to deal with the level of responsibility that comes with flying a plane.

From the flexibility to the much cheaper price and simple upgrades, it is likely we will be seeing VR training stay around for a lot longer, overtaking that of its traditional cockpit simulation and proving to be the best option for teaching pupils in all workplaces, especially pilot training.

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