RAB expands modern training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 86th Maintenance Group recently implemented a virtual reality program to supplement flightline training, reduce noise emissions from aircraft and reduce costs at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

The training uses  VR technology that allows maintainers and aircrew to simulate real-world maintenance tasks with fewer time constraints compared to training on the flightline with an aircraft. 

“It provides an opportunity for us to really hone in on focus areas for training and expand our interoperability across the theater,” said Master Sgt. Gabriel Vest, 86 MXG unit training manager. “Now we have that capability.”

While the concept of virtual reality is not necessarily new, Airmen across the world have implemented it in many installations to assist in training and other exercises. Currently, the 86 MXG has modules to simulate working on multiple weapons systems to include the C-130J Super Hercules and C-5 Galaxy aircrafts. 

After various functions and maintenance tasks are uploaded onto their computers, they are able to practice and teach those skills in training sessions. Staff Sgt. Spencer Koepp, 86 MXG maintenance training instructor, said they have been working on how to implement VR into training for a few months and began integrating it into a class a couple of weeks ago. 

“The effectiveness is pretty substantial based on the time that it would normally take us on the flightline compared to virtual reality because you can have a whole class doing one task,” Koepp said. “You save countless hours, which is a lot of money when you are talking about aircraft time.”

Maintainers, specifically ground equipment maintainers, now have the opportunity to improve more efficiently because not all of them are able to work on aircraft every day, said Koepp. Their goal is to create multi-capable Airmen, which enables Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.’s Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept.