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    Ford Utilizes Virtual Reality to train Sailors for Flight Operations



    Courtesy Story

    USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78)     

    The Sailor places virtual reality goggles on and is instantly immersed into a different world. Their perspective changes to that of a Sailor working topside aboard a deployed aircraft carrier. They can see jets taxiing into position, flight indicators flashing and crew members signaling to each other. This no longer becomes a game but, training for up-coming operations.

    “Right now, you just have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening,” said Lt. Brianne Law as she guides a junior Sailor through a flight deck virtual-reality simulation. “We are watching the aircraft come up. There is our shooter down by center deck. You see him give the retract signal.”

    Sailors assigned to the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) air department began using virtual-reality to simulate flight deck operations inside the mobile Carrier-Advanced Reconfigurable Training System (C-ARTS) classroom located at Naval Station Norfolk. The trainer allows the Sailors to actively practice the procedures of flight operations in real time while the ship is pier side.

    The C-ARTS classrooms have been in operation since December 2018 while Ford was at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia.

    “Some of these Sailors here, right now, have had zero flight deck experience,” said Law, a Naval Flight Officer, from Pensacola, Florida, serving aboard Ford. “So, one of the great things about the virtual reality simulator is that we can do demonstrations. The Sailors can put on the virtual reality goggles and see exactly what is going to happen.”

    The flight deck of an aircraft carrier during flight operations can be very hectic with personnel and equipment moving around constantly. There are many variables to account for. Being able to simulate as many of these different circumstances in a safe environment is extremely beneficial to Sailors.

    “If something is wrong on the flight deck or somebody is giving a suspend signal, here is what I am going to do,” said Law. “You can walk through that scenario and go through the motions. Doing the actual procedures, in a simulated environment. That is a lot safer.”

    As Sailors rotate from Ford, so does their base of knowledge. Finding economical ways to train year-round is the primary purpose of the C-ARTS trainers.

    “In aviation we have simulators,” said Law. “We have that built into our syllabus and that allows us to save time and money, and allows us to get additional training. We thought it would be a good concept for carriers.”

    Sailors are enjoying the training and finding it vital to mission readiness in a multitude of ways. It also provides hands-on training while creating a place for discussion.

    “They had us grouped together,” said Aviation Boatswain Mate (Handling) Seaman Matt Costin, an elevator operator assigned to Ford’s air department. “It was like a big meeting. They were teaching us how to use the Gerald R. Ford equipment. Then we got to talk through all the issues we were having. It was nice to get together.”

    The C-ARTS trainers can be arranged to facilitate virtual reality training along with augmented reality and mixed reality training. This allowed Ford to meet necessary training requirements for flight operations.

    “The aircraft director just behind the shooter in the yellow, he is going to signal off breaks to the pilot,” said Law, walking through a scenario. “Take tension. The deck edge operator is going to hit tension. We are going to watch for good stroke, good hook, the man goes out. Thumbs are up. The shooter takes control of the aircraft. Goes into military power. After mil power, he makes sure the pilot does his wipe out and final checks. Thumbs, thumbs, thumbs. We see the shoot signal and we are off.”

    Gerald R. Ford is a first-in-class aircraft carrier and the first new aircraft carrier designed in more than 40 years. Ford is currently underway conducting testing in the Atlantic Ocean.

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    Date Taken: 01.15.2020
    Date Posted: 01.25.2020 14:05
    Story ID: 360385
    Location: US

    Web Views: 248
    Downloads: 0