On the Navy side, enthusiasm for the possibilities and cost efficiency of simulation may be a bit higher. Nonetheless, the current breakdown between live flight and simulation looks much like the balance at AETC. Simulator time accounts for between 26 and 29 percent of flight training events said CNATRA Simulator Requirements Officer Wilfred Merkel. Those averages hold across multiple tracks within and between the various pipelines. Like their USAF counterparts, naval aviators receive primary training in the T-6. Rotary-wing students move on to the TH-57 Sea Ranger, multi-engine students step into the T-44A Pegasus, and fighter/attack students progress to the T-45B Goshawk.
“We think we can eventually modify the syllabus to move to an overall goal of being somewhere in the high 40 percent range for [the] simulation proportion of flight training,” Merkel explained.
“We think we can eventually modify the syllabus to move to an overall goal of being somewhere in the high 40 percent range for [the] simulation proportion of flight training,” Merkel explained. “Going from the high 20s to high 40s is a challenge but it’s what we think we can accomplish in most of the syllabi.”
Of course that goal hinges on having the right training devices.
“At CNATRA, we have a vision of a training spectrum of devices and we’re applying that in our roadmap,” Merkel said.
Don’t get the wrong idea from the word “roadmap’” he stressed.
That goal hinges on having the right training devices.
There is no formal, programmatic effort to bring a new array of training devices to the command. It’s more of a philosophy that CNATRA will try to realize where it can. Merkel said the desire is to see devices, ranging from laptop computers that allow students to practice using and accessing information provided by modern digital integrated avionics systems on multi-function displays (MFDs), to ground training devices with flat panel control presentations, interactive cockpit procedural trainers with basic controls, unit training devices (lower-end simulators with visual presentation), and finally to full-blown operational flight trainers with high-fidelity visuals and motion.
“We think there’s a place for each one of those, and we’re in the process of acquiring some of the laptop and basic devices for our T-6,” Merkel said. “The example I give is that in the days of round gauges, you could hand the student a flight manual of a couple hundred pages and they could flip through every option that every instrument could give them.
“Today, there are thousands of options that any MFD can present. The only way to have students learn glass cockpits is to give them something that functions like the actual cockpit device, laptops or desktops running software like or similar to the onboard version.”