Training organisations acknowledge they lack understanding about the variety of virtual reality (VR) technologies, how this technology can be used with the existing pilot training infrastructure, and the costs involved in implementing such technologies.

That was one major takeaway from the Heads of Training (HoT) roundtables held prior to Halldale Group’s European Airline Training Summit (EATS), hosted by the Aircrew Training Policy Group and in collaboration with EASA.

The VR technologies discussion was hosted by Capt Veronica Zunic, a TRI/TRE on A300/320/330 aircraft and an experienced CRM and UPRT Instructor with extensive on-aircraft upset recovery training experience, and Luis Martins, an aerospace engineer who is the Head of Ground School for FTE Jerez.

They discussed the need for VR to be used more in training, the standardisation of instructors, and the need for instructors to be able to do a cost-benefit analysis of technology use. 

The duo discussed the need for VR to be used in training more, the standadization of instructors and the need for instructors to be able to do a cost benefit analysis of technology use. EASA's qualification of the first VR Flight Training Device last year was frequently cited in the conversations.

"We are certain that new technology will continue to appear in 2022 that offers better and more sustainable alternatives to the traditional training tools," Martins said.

"As the authorities seem keener than ever to adapt the regulation to the pace of innovation, the challenge will be to moderate the excitement with experience-based caution in implementing new solutions while trying to avoid unexpected consequences such as negative training."

Zunic was optimistic that the willingness to assist colleagues would mean the industry would quickly get to grips with the technology and understand the problems it could resolve.

"The highlight for me was to see the enthusiasm in the industry for improvement and collaboration," she said of the meeting.

"Sustainable aviation training in the future will hopefully see more virtual training that is equally, if not more effective training that what we are currently doing. There is a hunger for knowledge to meet the dynamic demands of Gen Z who are are future trainees."

This important debate was one of six critical industry topics that were discussed ahead of EATS 2021. 

We have recently released some insights from the discussion about diversity in aviation and environmentally sustainable aviation.

Stay tuned for further reports that will be released soon covering the other meeting discussion points:

The Path to EBT

Competency Fade

Big Data – Turning Data Into Action