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New Virtual Reality-Based Trainer Launched by CAE

The global aviation sector is turning to virtual reality (VR) technology reducing pilot training expenses and duration. Following the U.S. Air Force’s foray into VR-based training technology, Canadian defence company CAE is offering its own VR training system, and related educational material. The firm is optimistic about gaining the attention of militaries across the globe, including that of its neighbour U.S. 

The CAE TRAX Academy curriculum, along with the Sprint Virtual Reality training system will soon be debuted by the company, at the Interservice/Industry, Training, Simulation and Education Conference. CAE has ambitions of conducting continual T-6 flight demos using the two products.

The Pilot Training Next initiative by the U.S. Air Force is the inspiration behind CAE’s VR-based training system. The U.S.A.F. programme makes use of VR and other simulation tools to disperse basic pilot training. It lets airmen receive faster and more effective training.

According to Phillipe Perey, technology head at CAE’s defence wing, the company is putting in efforts to emulate the Pilot Training Next programme’s concepts and implement its own innovation. The expected result is a package system that can be sold to global militaries and the U.S.A.F.

The CAE Sprint VR trainer

Peley further elaborated on the company’s development concept and how it is building upon the Pilot Training Next programme. He revealed that even the small amount of scepticism that some generals have regarding the airforce-wide implementation of such a system can be written off with CAE’s efforts. Peley went as far as to explain that the new system being developed is carrying forward the Pilot Training Next’s objectives, by offering familiar features like a force-feedback stick and realistic aircraft simulation.

The Sprint Virtual Reality training arsenal consists exclusively of commercially-available hardware products, such as the Varjo VR-2 headset. Customers can opt for different hardware choices, or avail customised versions of their favoured ones. Perey emphasised that the curriculum and software developed by the TRAXX Academy is the key feature set of the system. Aspiring pilots can progress stepwise, from mobile platform applications and VR trainers to eventually, a high-precision flight simulation setup.

The training system package can maximise efficiency across the board. Training costs are reduced as students can learn at their own convenience and gain a boost in their competitive spirits. The system lets learners track the progress of their peers, and can influence them to step up efforts. As a result, training durations can become shorter than their usual lengths. – Phillipe Perey

Perey explained that the other potential benefit of utilising the CAE system stems from its virtual instructors and self-paced tools. Since no human resources have to be involved in training students, these staff members can be assigned to other key air force functions.

Image source: CAE

He said that the kit used for the CAE Sprint VR trainer’s development is identical to the one used for the Pilot Training Next programme, with certain tweaks employed to generate better self-paced learning.

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