The Royal Air Force says it is leveraging advanced Virtual Reality (VR) technology to enhance the training of helicopter aircrew for Puma and Chinook helicopters.
This initiative, involving VR headsets and dynamic training environments, has been developed through a collaboration between Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), 28 (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF, the Support Helicopter Simulation Delivery Team, and CAE, a global leader in training for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets.
“CAE has delivered an Embedded Virtual Instructor Training (EVIT) capability for the RAF and has secured a 3-year contract to support the 360-degree video lessons for both Puma and Chinook training programs. This VR instruction facilitates more efficient airborne training and raises entry standards for new skills. EVIT notably enhances familiarity with cockpit and cabin environments and bolsters confidence in essential pre-flight tasks.
The EVIT system uses enhanced headset technology to deliver efficient ground-based and simulator lessons, consequently increasing trainee knowledge and readiness for flying sorties. Trainees receive a headset loaded with various EVIT sessions, ranging from airborne instruction on dust landing techniques to detailed procedures like hooking up underslung loads and preparing a casualty for a winch rescue from a jungle clearing.”
Flt Lt Brett Jones, based at RAF Benson, praised the technology, stating, “The introduction of the VR headsets on 28 (AC) Sqn has been excellent for both our trainees and instructors. The immersive environment has provided the trainees with a better understanding of what will be taught prior to the simulator/aircraft sorties and this has allowed more time to consolidate their skills.” He also noted the benefits of greater standardisation across the unit.
A trainee commented on the effectiveness of this approach, saying, “The addition of VR equipment to supplement our learning and consolidation of checks in the early stages of the course was invaluable. It allowed nuances, flow, and interaction with the crew to be understood prior to stepping into the aircraft and meant I got more out of my sortie in the aircraft itself.”