Soldiers at Fort Campbell took off for an intensive flight training Friday without ever having to leave the ground. Technology has made it possible for soldiers to train through virtual reality flight simulators closer than ever to the real deal.
"If an engine goes out, you hear that," explained Spc. Jason Brown. "You hear the difference in the helicopter blades in case you slow down. It's very realistic."
It's called the Non-Rated Crew Member Manned Module. It's a flight simulator and training tool perfect for soldiers like Brown who grew up gamers.
"It's very virtual reality," said Brown. "It's very first person shooter-ish. I've personally never flown in an actual aircraft. I'm just starting. It's a good thing to get used to the verbage and the communication with the pilots in the front."
Wearing goggles, soldiers get a 3D view of the inside of a virtual plane and a dangerous remote area with enemy attackers on the ground below.
"This right here is realistic gunnery training," said SFC Clinton P. Bruce. "We're doing this for all our crews before they go out and fire live rounds."
With Fort Campbell facing possible budget cuts due to sequestration, post officials said virtual training in a 53-foot trailer can help by minimizing the costs of fuel and ammunition use.
"We have to still fly them in an actual aircraft because we have to log that flight time to their record, but we can reduce that amount by a great bit by letting them learn that coordination before letting them in the actual aircraft," said Bruce.
Earlier in the week, soldiers also did a virtual medevac training where they picked up a patient in the virtual world using features that gave them a realistic feel for what it's like to hoist a person into an aircraft.
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