Making training a (virtual) reality

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Simulated aircraft sit on the Airfield Management virtual reality system flight line at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 19, 2020. This flight line gives Airfield Management Airmen a chance to address and respond to real-world scenarios as they arise. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Christina A. Rios)
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The Air Force is dedicated to constant development of processes and procedures as it becomes more technology based and continues to match the needs of its Airmen.

The Airfield Operations Flight of the 355th Operational Support Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., set up a virtual reality training room to enhance training and save time while doing it. This is the first airfield management virtual reality training to be used in the Air Force outside of technical training at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.

“Airfield management ensures the safety of the entire airfield to include ground and flying operations,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Gregg, 355th OSS Airfield Management Flight non-commissioned officer in charge. “The purpose of the VR system is to create practical scenarios to help airfield management Airmen train for real-life situations.”

Training opportunities include seeing a simulated flight line with aircraft and having to address and respond to problems as they arise, giving them hands-on training.

“This helps us be more proficient with our job and give us a more in-depth understanding by giving a visual learning opportunity on top of the training that we already receive,” said Airman 1st Class Abbigaile Maragh, 355th OSS Airfield Management Flight shift lead. “This gives us an opportunity to go over all of the things that we deal with here and make us sharper with it.”

Staff Sgt. Jacob Gregg, 355th Operational Support Squadron Airfield Management Flight non-commissioned officer in charge, uses the Airfield Management virtual reality system at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 19, 2020. The Airfield Operations Flight set up a virtual reality training room to enhance training and save time while doing it. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Christina A. Rios)

Time and resources saved by this new training method ultimately go back into building and sustaining high-end readiness across the 355th Wing.

“We saw an opportunity for practical use of this system by coming back off the flight line while still being able to create training opportunities,” said Gregg. “This allows us to do training at any time and therefore helps us optimize our time. By optimizing our time, we get our Airmen trained faster and get people more ready to support the mission.”

The VR simulator training for the 355th OSS is just one way that it ensures readiness by keeping our flight line operational to support the Air Force’s largest rescue and attack mission on the busiest single runway in Air Combat Command.

“This training has a significant impact on Airmen because it can help us stay current on our information and give us the opportunity to refresh our memory on standards and procedures,” said Maragh. “This makes us sharper and more proficient with everything we do.”

The 355th Wing constantly adapts to further improve processes, procedures and most importantly, its Airmen.
 
 
 

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