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Published On: Fri, Dec 1st, 2023

The Role of Technology in Safety Training

Safety is something that industries of every kind should be concerned with. But in the world of aviation, it’s of paramount importance. Even the slightest oversight can lead to disaster – and, as such, it’s vital that we use every available means to identify and eliminate potential hazards. 

Over the years, safety protocols in the world of air travel have changed dramatically. Things have gotten more sophisticated when it comes to procedure and technology, with much of the change having arrived in the last few years. 

photo by Scott A. Thornbloom

Emergence of Virtual Reality and Simulation Technologies

Today, it’s possible to simulate a disaster situation aboard an aircraft without creating any real danger. This is possible through the use of VR and simulation technologies, which allow pilots and crews to be exposed to situations that rarely, if ever, arise in real life, but which need to be nevertheless anticipated and prepared for. 

Virtual reality technologies are able to approximate the real thing to a degree that’s perfect for training purposes. What’s more, they allow for easy recording and review. Simulated situations might be pored over later to a degree that isn’t possible through traditional means.

Realistic Scenarios for Pilots

There are a number of scenarios that lend themselves to this kind of training, particularly for pilots.

Emergency landing situations are a favorite for simulation training, since emergency landings are costly and impractical to prepare for in the real world. The costs of a simulated landing, on the other hand, are trivial; you might perform a hundred of them for negligible cost.

Adverse weather conditions are favored for a different reason: they involve real-world phenomena which, by their nature, are unpredictable and rare. A pilot might be provided with hours of experience in weather conditions that, in the real world, occur only at certain place and times.

Technical malfunctions are also easy to prepare for using VR. Simply have a given component fail, and then see how the pilot identifies and troubleshoots the problem.

Crew Member Training Enhancement

It isn’t just the pilots who benefit from this kind of simulation. Crew members might be trained through VR in much the same way.

Certain in-flight emergencies can be prepared for using this technology. This will test the ability of crew members to communicate with one another in stressful circumstances, and to adhere to the right protocols when it comes to passenger safety.

Interactive Learning and Skill Development

While there’s a place for learning through lectures and written study materials, the hands-on experience tends to provide a more memorable and enduring form of training. Virtual reality allows for the development of specific skills, like the ability to think and make decisions under pressure, and to function as a team.

Benefits and Impact on Safety Measures

VR is more popular for flight training than ever before, particularly in the private jet industry. Thus, we have a fairly complete picture of how effective it is. According to Lufthansa, around 20,000 flight attendants have been trained in this way. We also have evidence suggesting that pilots perform better when trained in this way. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a VR-based training scheme saw 58 students requiring 30% less training time overall.

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