Air Vice-Marshal Aliyu Bello, director of training for the Nigerian Air Force, and other members of the Nigerian Air Force visited Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, in January to get a firsthand view of the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) training program and check on a Nigerian student who is currently in class.

Bello and his group began their visit by exploring a T-6 Texan II simulator. This was a chance for them to see how the simulators aid student pilots throughout the training process. They were able to experience what their students go through on a daily basis and gain an appreciation for the reality the simulators provide without actually taking off.

After the simulator tour, the group was able to check out the various flying squadrons and learn about their operations and history.

Bello and his team also witnessed the new virtual reality equipment SUPT pilots are using to train. After giving it a try himself, Bello seemed pleased and excited with the new technology.

“We are very impressed with the innovations and technology used here to help student pilots train,” Bello said. “We plan to send more [Nigerian student pilots] here in the future.”

The VR technology that the 14th Operations Group uses has the potential to give student pilots more practice by immersing them into a virtual cockpit, allowing them to fix any discrepancies or issues. Bello was eager to find out more information on VR training to help Nigerians improve their own training.

The training offers a more inexpensive approach to give students a more practical and hands-on way of learning without using simulators or time in the aircraft.