Rolls-Royce Virtual Reality Training
Rolls-Royce began virtual reality (VR) training in March, with its two-day BR725 familiarization class. Participants join the class remotely, from their homes, offices, or maintenance facilities, logging in over the internet while wearing VR glasses and handheld VR controllers.
The development of the VR training class came at a propitious time when much of the world became inaccessible for travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The benefit of VR training is that students can learn about parts of the engine that they might be able to see only if the real engine was fully disassembled. And they can see all the subsystems and components exactly as they relate to each other, either in an as-assembled view or by virtually taking them apart, assembly by assembly, piece by piece. Both the instructor and student can use a virtual marker to draw on any part of the engine. Routine tasks are also possible, like checking the oil level or finding a part-number stamp on a part or component.
One great advantage of the VR training is not having to travel to a class, with all the associated logistical hassles and costs.
The student can view the engine in various ways—for example, by virtually walking inside the engine and looking around; by using a cutaway tool to slice into the engine from the side or front; or by highlighting each subassembly and moving it off the engine and then taking a close look at its components.
The VR training is instructor-led, so someone is always there to help explain what the student is viewing. There is no end to the possibilities of VR training, and Rolls-Royce has taken a compelling piece of technology and turned it into a practical training tool. Anyone who takes this training will soon appreciate its benefits and capabilities.
While the effects of the Covid-19 crisis have touched virtually every aspect of the aviation industry, the pandemic’s resulting limitations on classroom instruction could have hit companies such as FlightSafety International particularly hard. But FlightSafety’s remote LiveLearning program has already delivered thousands of pilot and mechanics courses since its introduction in March.
LiveLearning differs from the company’s well-established eLearning offerings in that it replicates the classroom environment with a live instructor. Most recently, the company has expanded its LiveLearning offerings to include EASA-approved courses taught from its facilities in Paris and Farnborough, UK.
FlightSafety senior v-p of operations Brian Moore told AIN that, particularly for recurrent training, the program has “boomed” since its launch in March. V-p of sales and marketing Steve Gross explained that the company did something similar for ancillary courses such as RVSM and MMEL training for three or four years before the pandemic.
“We took that technology and broadened it to do a two- or three-day recurrent,” said Gross. “We’ve done the rare initial [training] this way too, but we really want to keep it to recurrent. We think that it’s best if you’re doing an initial to do it at the facility.”
Further relief from the FAA took the form of a “virtually” certified flight simulator in Dallas. “So rather than having the inspector sitting in the box with us going through the qualification, we brought him in through video and other web-based means to see all the squiggly lines and see the thing fly and do the demo and all the things that would normally be done,” explained Moore.
The FAA has also given FlightSafety some relief on the number of days and hours needed for FAR 61.58 recurrent proficiency checks in some programs, said Moore. “The FAA has been outstanding in terms of supporting the things that needed to be done here.”
CAE, which this summer introduced the Airside digital platform to provide career and training resources for pilots during the Covid-19 pandemic, said the site has attracted more than 10,000 visitors since it went live in June. CAE developed Airside after surveying more than 3,000 pilots in April, after the pandemic had shut down many areas of the globe. The training provider sought to create a pilot community and engage with its customers during the pandemic and has continued to add features to the platform.
“CAE is building a strong pilot community on Airside and providing the information and tools required to get through these challenging times,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s group president of Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “With the Airside platform, CAE is reinforcing its commitment to safety and excellence with resources that will allow pilots to sharpen their skills, remain connected to the industry, and emerge better prepared to pursue their dreams of flying.”
Content surrounds training, career, and lifestyle sections with features such as a resume builder, proficiency information, and pilot myth-busting. “CAE’s digital team will continue to enhance Airside as we grow our digital-product portfolio and serve the civil aviation industry with outstanding pilot-training experiences,” Leontidis added.
NATA Human Trafficking Training
A little more than a year after the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) began to highlight the issues surrounding human trafficking and associated regulatory requirements for the aviation industry, the organization teamed up with the U.S. government on its Blue Lightning air carrier awareness and training initiative and has now trained several thousand pilots and hundreds of air carriers on preventative measures.
NATA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June with the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation to help extend the DOJ’s Blue Lightning Initiative to general aviation. Under the partnership, NATA’s Compliance Services (NATACS) agreed to educate the general aviation community on the pervasiveness of trafficking, detection, and mitigation.
In response to the MoU, NATACS added the 17-minute Blue Lightning training program to its training suite. By the end of September, NATACS had already trained 533 companies and 4,723 crewmembers.
As for the training itself, it is a relatively short program that explains what human trafficking is, how it typically occurs, signs that it is occurring, and what to do should trafficking be suspected. The program explains that human trafficking is modern-day slavery involving force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking can be forced labor, domestic servitude, or forced sex.
It further highlights indicators of trafficking, including means of control over victims. One such example is the trafficker may hold the victim’s travel documents, preventing them from escape. The trafficker may hold the victim close to them, even accompanying them to a restroom. The victim may not have clear ideas of itinerary or give a non-sensical itinerary.
The trafficker can be anyone, including the victim’s friend or family member and, in turn, anyone can be a victim of trafficking.
The program provides numbers for crewmembers and operators to present suspected activity and urges that any suspected activity be reported immediately. The U.S. telephone numbers listed on the Blue Lightning website include (866) 347-2423 to report activity or (888) 373-7888 to get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.