Sim/Author Inc., of Boulder, Colo., has received a contract to
integrate a 3-D, high-resolution graphics visualization software
system, called FlightViz, into a U.S. Navy CH-60S helicopter Tactical
Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT), Debrief Work Station (DWS), according
to a company official. The award came through Coalescent Technologies
Corp., of Orlando, Fla., prime contractor on the TOFT project.
FlightViz has the capability to convert recorded flight training
data from a simulator into an audio-visual learning experience,
explained Ron Williams, director of government programs for Sim/Author.
The system can store a four-hour training mission for student pilots
to review outside of the simulator, he said.
A special instructor’s control allows any segment of the
mission to be tagged for later reference, Williams explained. Tagged
sections are available immediately for review, so there is no waiting.
This works better than the old method of hitting either fast-forward
or rewind to cue-up the desired section. “That takes time,”
said Williams who mentioned that simulator time costs between $300
and $600 per hour.
To reduce incidents of pilot error, FlightViz is programmed to
detect any unusual events that occur during a session. These segments
are flagged automatically for after-action review, Williams continued.
“This reduces confrontation opportunities between instructor
and student,” said Williams. “If I make a really bad
mistake, then I can’t deny it, pretend it didn’t happen
and hope the instructor didn’t catch it.”
With FlightViz, an instructor will be able to observe the aircraft
operating in simulation. This capability involves 360-degree tracking.
Additional aircraft can be added to the scenario when needed. Sim/Author
got its start in the commercial airline business, Williams stated.
He said that most airlines companies in the United States have already
incorporated FlightViz into their training programs. United Airlines
fronted most of the development money, he said.
A debriefing station costs about $100,000 apiece, he estimated.
“A couple of years ago, the same thing would have cost $300,000.”
The gaming industry has been largely responsible for driving software
development in training simulators, he said.
It is now possible to incorporate satellite images into scenarios
to accurately portray varying landscapes where a pilot might land.
The topographical background can be changed to reflect any given
operational theater in the world, said Williams
Installation of FlightViz into a CH-60S trainer, manufactured by
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronic and Surveillance Systems, in Manassas,
Va. will begin this fall, Williams said.