Paul A. Bross reports from the 8th iteration of the event.

Held in conjunction with the ILA Berlin airshow, the Future Military Pilot Training Conference (FMPT) addressed both fixed- and rotary-wing pilot training from a number of perspectives. The conference provided a well-balanced mix of German and international speakers, from air forces, university and industry, briefing the audience on their approaches to flight training for air operations, mission and tactics, live and virtual training, use of simulators and innovative developments, research results and advanced training management systems. More than 50 high-ranking persons (military, government, industry) were present when the conference chair, Maj. Gen. a.D. Hans Jürgen Merkle, opened the eighth staging of the FMPT conference.

The first day featured three high-level military presentations – a keynote presentation from Maj. Gen. Günter Katz, Commander Flying Units within German Air Forces (GAF) forces command, on the Luftwaffe’s Flight Training; a presentation from Major Ulrike Fitzer on Eurofighter Pilot Training; and a joint presentation from Col. Patrick Logan, Assistant Director Flying Training from the UK Royal Air Force, together with Alasdair Shinner, Chief Operating Officer of Ascent Flight Training, on how to improve military flying training. All air forces are changing their general training approach to meet the necessities of the future.

The value of Full Mission Simulators (FMS) was implicitly recognised in all presentations and specifically addressed by Erik Heinzmann, Operational Factors Senior Manager, Eurofighter Aircrew Synthetic Training System (ASTA). Heinzmann discussed the value of simulator training with respect to quality of instruction. He stated: “A FMS is needed because many elements are difficult to train in the real aircraft due to resources or secrecy or environment.” Fred Stokkel, Principal Systems Engineer from Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands, provided insight on the benefits and a method to assess the economic feasibility of embedded training for existing fighter aircraft.

The Day Two keynote focused on pilot flight and leadership training with helicopters. Commander Col. Ulrich Ott from the International Helicopter Flight Training Centre at Bückeburg – formerly the German School of Army Aviation – described the training continuum: basic training and then qualification, leadership and combat training, using classroom, simulators and live training, supported by the experiences made in foreign assignments.

From three industry presentations we learned more about Combined Simulations – training simulations for helicopters and combined arms – provided by Olaf Herper and Marcus Zücker from Telespazio VEGA, then about aircraft training for Close Air Support Missions, part of the Joint Fire Support Team, given by Alan Carson from ESG Elektroniksystem-und Logistik GmbH. Dr. Sönke Pink, Airbus Defence and Space, provided more about basic ideas for realisation of mission training through distributed simulation.

OTL Kai Dittmar from the German Air Force explained why the Luftwaffe requires a Tactical Simulator Centre, using networked simulators with targeted fidelity. Finally we were provided with highly interesting insights and benefits in designing a very-high-contrast VisIR projector for Night Vision Training on a Full Mission Simulator, presented by Dr. Axel Krause and Sven Ziebart from Carl Zeiss Jena.

The conference attracted high-level speakers and a European-wide audience from military, government and industry to discuss relevant military pilot training issues. It succeeded in doing that.

The event was sponsored by Airbus, ESG and Zeiss, with Military Simulation & Training (MS&T) magazine as media partner.

Originally published in Issue 3, 2018 of MS&T Magazine.