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NEWS | March 9, 2018

Innovation Flight open house highlights virtual reality training

By Airman 1st Class Dillon Parker 502nd Air Base Wing

The Battlefield Airmen Training Group Innovation Flight held an open house at Forbes Hall at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex Feb. 28 to display virtual reality technology to senior leadership.


“The Innovation Flight was formed to present fresh ideas and act as a think tank for improving Battlefield Airmen training,” said Master Sgt. Joseph McCrae, BATG Innovation Flight chief. “The open house is to show leadership where we’re at and some of the stuff we’ve been working on.”


During the open house, attendees were able to try out a number of different virtual reality simulations aimed at providing training to Battlefield Airmen.


“We’re constantly coming up with ideas for different virtual trainings to utilize,” said McCrae. “Right now we have a virtual C-130 [Hercules] for trainees to get acquainted with the layout of the aircraft. Instead of having to go to the flight line and keep a C-130 on the ground, we can show trainees the aircraft right here with the virtual simulation.”


Along with the C-130 simulation, the Innovation Flight demonstrated other simulations to show the potential of the technology for future training related simulations.


Some of the new training simulations in the works include rock climbing, land navigation for Tactical Air Control Party specialists, and a jumpmaster course.


Using the land navigation simulation to generate foreign terrain would provide an impossible training experience, while the jumpmaster course could save money over the alternative of using real flying operations, said McCrae.


Among the open house attendees trying out the virtual reality simulations and speaking with the Innovation Flight members were Col. Jeffrey Fallesen, 37th Training Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Sharon Fuller, 37th TRW command chief.


“I was amazed by how real the simulations were,” said Fallesen. “It really felt like I was there.”


Having experienced the simulations firsthand, Fallesen said the technology could be huge for the BATG.


“I think there are a lot of practical applications for the technology,” said Fallesen. “Being able to put trainees in scenarios they’ll actually deal with without having to ship people out to austere locations is huge.”