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Bright Idea: Training virtually

In a novel approach, the International Air Transportation Association has brought virtual reality into its training.

While virtual reality isn’t new to the airline industry, since pilots undergo simulation training, it’s new to grounds operations training.

RampVR is the industry’s first virtual reality training platform for ground operations, developed in consultation with airlines, airports and ground service providers to meet their training needs while reducing the burden of accessing the ramp for training (security, safety, availability of aircraft, etc.), IATA says.

“Improving ramp safety and reducing damage to aircraft and ground equipment through better education and training is an industry priority, but training in this extremely active environment can be a challenge,” said Frederic Lager, IATA’s director for airport, passenger, cargo and security products. “RampVR allows users to safely immerse themselves in ramp operations and experience a variety of scenarios in different operating conditions. It also provides users with built-in metrics to track their performance, and real-time access to key reference material.”

Until now, ground ops training has been difficult, and can’t be performed at night or during adverse weather, IACA says. At the same time, it’s hard to replicate abnormal scenarios and airside training can be noisy and dangerous.

But RampVR allows trainees to simulate day and night operations, generate a variety of scenarios and record user performance.

IATA offers three training options: at career centers; location-based training with consultants; and the purchase of equipment with training guides.

“Talent development is essential to making our industry safe, secure and sustainable,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security.  “VR in the learning context increases knowledge retention by as much as four times while improving motivation and engagement. VR is here to stay and we are already considering expanding its use in different training areas.”

So could virtual reality be next on the horizon for associations? As organization look to inspire and engage members and program participants, VR could be the key – especially in the video gaming world in which we live.

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