US Groups announce partnership for VR Pilot Training Solutions
Virtual training solution developer, The DiSTI Corporation, along with pilot training innovators, Visionary Training Resources (VTR), have entered into a partnership to develop virtual reality (VR) pilot training for the 737 and A320 aircraft.
Recent research by one of the United States’ leading four-year flight training degree programs estimates that the U.S. has a shortage of at least 3,500 commercial pilots, annually. That number is estimated to grow as approximately 5,000 pilots accepted early retirement offers from mainline U.S. carriers during the COVID pandemic.
“VTR chose to partner with DiSTI because they have a proven record of success,” commented Rick Parker, VTR’s Co-Founder and CTO. “With DiSTI’s VE Studio we get a superior software platform and a collaborative partner that can help us solve the inevitable challenges that come with using cutting edge technology. This will allow us to deliver cost-effective virtual airline pilot training solutions that meet the complex and customized requirements of commercial airlines.”
Focusing on the popular Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 aircraft, DiSTI and VTR are working to optimize the time pilots spend in training; while simultaneously delivering lower costs compared to traditional airline training methods alone.
This VR-focused solution creates a detailed digital twin of each of the aircrafts’ flight decks, allowing pilots to interact with switches, dials, and levers to build muscle memory before entering more costly simulator training. Additionally, the solution is entirely portable, deploying on mobile VR headsets like the Pico NEO Pro Eye.
In addition to the tracking of all virtual interactions, this solution utilizes the eye-tracking technology provided by the VR headset to track visual inspection tasks performed by the student automatically. With the ability to integrate into any learning management system (LMS) via DiSTI’s Schoolhouse software, students can train from anywhere while having their results recorded and achievements tracked for future review at their respective training entities.
“The combination of immersion, spatially accurate movements, eye tracking, and portability make this solution ideal for procedure training,” explains Chris Van Duyne, DiSTI’s Chief Engineer. “And because the students can train on their own, they can practice as much as they need, so pilots are optimally prepared when they show up to the full flight simulator.”
In its Safety Briefing, the FAA highlighted that the shortage of pilots demands more accessible means for training. The partnership between DiSTI and VTR aims to reduce the unpredictability and costs for airlines by providing highly standardized pilot training and better preparing pilots for simulator training.
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