HomeNewsArticle Display

103rd AW leads innovation with first virtual reality loadmaster training system

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Conn. (AFNS) --

Loadmasters at the 103rd Airlift Wing helped develop the first Virtual Loadmaster Training System, that recently became fully operational at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Connecticut.

The VLTS, the first loadmaster training program of its kind, was the result of a three-year long effort between loadmasters of the 103rd Airlift Wing and developers at Capewell Aerial Systems, a defense contractor.

“This is another tool in our training arsenal,” said Master Sgt. Joe Amato, 103rd Maintenance Group aircrew trainer and VLTS project lead. “It’s more diverse than traditional methods and now I can fill some holes in training folders on items aren’t physical action.”

Wearing virtual reality goggles, the VLTS program puts trainees directly into a C-130 Hercules aircraft during flight.

“It gives you a true 360-degree look around the airplane as if you were really in it,” said Master Sgt. Khaleef Graham, 103rd Airlift Wing loadmaster.

Graham, who has experienced VLTS training first-hand, believes the new training program is beneficial to the unit.

“In the event that an aircraft is not available, there is a weather cancel or something beyond our control, we have the luxury to go over to the virtual sim and run through the same checklists and work issues that could happen on the airplane. It basically enhances our proficiency before we get out to the airplane and actually do a mission.”

Amato, who led the VLTS project for the 103rd Airlift Wing, agreed with Graham.

“This doesn’t replace being in the actual aircraft, but having the ability to take someone with minimal experience and put them through different scenarios before having them experience it in real time is going to raise their comfort level and efficiency during an actual flight.”

Another feature the VLTS provides is the ability for a loadmaster to experience in-flight emergencies that would be too dangerous to train on during flight. One example is an airdrop of heavy cargo using two 28-foot extraction parachutes, known as a double-28 extraction. If the parachutes deploy, but fail to extract the load from the plane, it becomes a critical situation because the parachutes hinder the plane’s operability.

“You will never see a double-28 extraction go wrong until you see it,” Amato said. “And you never get any experience with it until it actually happens. Hopefully, this will build the muscle memory for our loadmasters to take the appropriate reaction when they see those two big chutes deploy, the load not extract and you feel the plane slowing down, you’ll get the muscle memory to ‘pull this lever, pull that lever’ and make the right radio calls.”

Training in these types of critical situations is exactly what Jared Burns, Capewell Aerial Systems Director of Operations and former Air Force B-1 Lancer weapon systems officer, had in mind when developing the VLTS.

“The system is meant to fill a training gap that we saw as defense supplier to the Air Force,” Burns said. “Several NATO allies we sell airdrop equipment to often ask for training, and some of the emergency procedures can’t be trained in a way that’s realistic. Limiting training to ground school or chair flying wasn’t doing enough to prepare loadmasters for these situations that are time critical. Up until the advent of virtual reality, there was no way to do it practically. We set out to give units the capabilities to practice these things at the unit, to see these situations in virtual reality, practice emergency procedures and develop some of the muscle memory that goes along with it. This reduces the time to react and time to correct, to overall improve the safety and effectiveness of the loadmasters.”

Ultimately, this is just the beginning for the VLTS program.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the loadmasters, instructors, and leadership from the 103rd (AW) because really, we built the system around what they told us would work,” said Burns. “It’s a good partnership, we’ve taken their feedback and put it into the software and we’re looking to continue to work with the 103rd (AW) to build upon this program.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Incredibly proud of the readiness and professional focus of the men and women supporting the upcoming inauguration. https…
Twitter
Screamin' Eagle The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground mis… https://t.co/0gkqBohUj6
Twitter
Supporting international partnerships and deterring adversaries. #AimHigh https://t.co/ktC0QF19sa
Twitter
A1C Olivia Vargas performs maintenance on a B-1B Lancer at Andersen Air Force Base in support of a Bomber Task Forc… https://t.co/FQo2egYXuN
Twitter
Equality for all. Today we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and what he stood for. King dreamed of a… https://t.co/SrZbBhwSt4
Twitter
Go Falcons! The @AF_Falcons played against the Boise State University Broncos during a home game at Clune Arena, i… https://t.co/TYFkhh367H
Twitter
Airmen at @RamsteinAirBase proudly show their reasons for receiving the #COVID19 vaccine. #WhyIVax 📸 by SrA Jenni… https://t.co/D8xD5VZEWw
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/vGbMwtkjNY
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: This achievement is an important milestone toward the @AFResearchLab objective of developing & adapting quantum technologies f…
Twitter
Remembering Operation Desert Storm Desert Storm was the first conflict in history to make comprehensive use of ste… https://t.co/Roncc8toL7
Twitter
Today marks 30 years since the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. Read @MitchellStudies' report on "Lessons Lea… https://t.co/6aWVGXjzNl
Twitter
“As an #AirForce, we need to create the best leaders so that our Airmen realize they can reach their full potential… https://t.co/Rk4LtjIzHl
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Recruiting, training & educating #Airmen requires force generators dedicated to their craft & to laying the foundation of o…
Twitter
AFIMSC Innovation Rodeo finalist The AFIMSC leadership team and Ventures Innovation Office picked 8 finalists to c… https://t.co/f78UDv6fYY
Twitter
RT @AirForceGaming: // TESTING COMPLETE // LOADING SEASON 001 Registration for Air Force Gaming League is now open! We're going gl…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,314,929
Follow Us