Air-to-air refuelling training set for P-8
Simulation training for air-to-air refuelling with Boeing Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) may begin before the end of August with the capability currently in testing at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pax River with embedded personnel from VP-30 squadron and one former tanker pilot.
The training would require some modification to the current full dynamic cockpit trainers at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington State and NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
The training systems at the two sites consist of cockpit trainers and rear crew areas with five stations but another will be added if an additional station is put into the aircraft.
Jacksonville has ten cockpit trainers and seven rear while Whidbey Island has seven and six respectively. The simulators at Jacksonville are being used as much as 18 hours per day.
Transition training from P-3 Orion MPA to P-8 is taking about six months and in most training situations the ratio of teacher to student is about 1-1. The training is planned to produce nine personnel for each flight and 12 crews for each squadron of seven aircraft.
P-8 personnel now undertake about 70% of their training in a simulated environment which has reduced the time personnel spend in aircraft for training and therefore training costs and aircraft maintenance costs.
There are some minor differences between the earliest P-8 cockpits and those of newer platforms, mostly relating to some switch arrangements. This situation is reflected in the physical simulation cockpit where some of the arrangements are different to some actual cockpits.
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