KSLA Salutes: Instructors use VR to train aircrews for worst case scenarios

Barksdale Air Force Base uses virtual reality to train air crews for worst-case scenarios

BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - As virtual reality technology continues to evolve and improve, a team at Barksdale Air Force Base is using VR to train crews for the worst case scenario.

Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE instructors, have been using these tools since December of last year.

"When everything else goes wrong, we're the guys there showing you how to make it back," explained SSgt Lake Thompson, "They're never going to eject out of a plane until it's a real life situation, so having the most realistic training piece that we can have, so that when they eject from the aircraft this is the closest thing that we can get to simulating what they're going to actually do and get them as well prepared as we can."

For years crews have trained on emergency parachute simulators, hanging from a harness, but this new form of training adds a visual cue to show airmen exactly what they're doing.

Posted by Marie Waxel KSLA on Friday, April 19, 2019

“It has some pretty sweet goggles that you throw on, the whole virtual reality deal there’s an Xbox Kinect, that’s how it reads his body position,” Thompson continued. “It shows them how once they exit the aircraft what to do with their body until the shoot actually opens up it shows them how to fly the canopy down to the ground and how they’re going to land it.”

With this training, adding a more realistic approach which could mean the difference of life and death in an emergency.

“We care, obviously, about all our aircrew we want to make them the most well trained the best prepared we can and obviously this is cheaper than having each one of them go out to the drop zone and learn how to fly can’t be so this is really a cheaper alternative.”

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