I/ITSEC 2019: TRAX aims to stem pilot shortage
CAE has launched its TRAX Academy pilot training system along with its core component, the Sprint VR trainer.
The company has said that TRAX Academy is an ‘integrated and advanced training continuum designed to deliver faster and more efficient throughput for military student pilot training’ with the system making use of the company’s RISE (Real-time Insights and Standardised Evaluations) software to objectively assess performance.
The launch of the TRAX Academy and its associated Sprint VR trainer coincides with the US Air Force Academy’s Pilot Training Next (PTN) initiative however, TRAX is aimed at undergraduate pilot training whereas PTN covers an introduction to airmanship.
‘There are three core elements to TRAX Academy,’ explained CAE’s head of defence and security technology, Philippe Perey, ‘where students, learn, practice and perform.
‘Learn involves interacting with courseware delivered on a mobile phone, tablet or laptop to assimilate basic knowledge and airmanship,’ he told Shephard. ‘Students then observe manoeuvres as a spectator through an HMD.’
During the practice phase, students use the new Sprint training device to fly manoeuvres, practice take-offs and landings (both normal and abnormal) and are mentored by a virtual audio coach. Continually assessed by RISE, objective student performance data is injected into the learning management system (LMS). Assessment occurs at the end of each lesson.
‘One of the benefits of RISE is that it can recognise problems early and highlights areas where remedial action needs to be taken,’ said Perey. ‘This helps to reduce washout rates and subsequently, saves money.’
The final performance phase sees students move on to higher fidelity flight training devices, flight simulators or the actual aircraft.
The Sprint training device features a single channel Medallion image generator to provide cockpit instrumentation and out-of-the-window imagery through a Varjo HMD providing 20:20 resolution. According to CAE, the device features two high-end PCs.
‘Global militaries are faced with a current and growing challenge to produce pilots faster and more efficiently without impacting the quality standards that military pilot training has become known for,’ said Joe Armstrong, VP global business operations – product & solutions at CAE.
‘Today’s digital technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and data analytics are enabling a new approach to pilot training that is more self-paced and tailored to student learning… the CAE TRAX Academy is CAE’s answer to redefining how military student pilots learn, practice and then perform on the journey to becoming a pilot.’
In terms of how much time TRAX could save, Perey told Shephard that studies are still ongoing but ‘we believe around 25%’. This, he explained, would lead to ‘shorter courses’ and ‘change the instructor/student ratio’ such that their time spent together would be of ‘greater value’ as students would be better prepared.
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