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Vance flight simulators go HD

The Virtual Image Takeoff and Landing XI, left, is the visual upgrade system being made to T-6A Texan II simulators. The current system is on the right. The new system includes not only a visual upgrade, but also increased programming capabilities to simulator instructors, like icy runways or blowing dust. Students at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., can expect to fly the new system beginning Oct. 27, 2014.

The Virtual Image Takeoff and Landing XI, left, is the visual upgrade system being made to T-6A Texan II simulators. The current system is on the right. The new system includes not only a visual upgrade, but also increased programming capabilities to simulator instructors, like icy runways or blowing dust. Students at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., can expect to fly the new system beginning Oct. 27, 2014.

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Instead of flying in a computer-generated world reminiscent of a Windows 95 graphics reproduction, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training students will take to the simulated blue skies in high definition, beginning Oct 27.

Vance Air Force Base here is the first base to receive the new system called Virtual Image Takeoff and Landing XI.

"Students will have much better visual image," said Michael Oaks, the site manager overseeing the system upgrades. "The brightness capability of the new system is about five to six times that of the old system. The fine details of the display will be much crisper and will emulate the real world to a much greater degree."

Although the simulators are not full motion, these enhanced visuals will give students a more realistic feeling of motion due to their domed screens.

The new system is running on four T-6 simulators that are undergoing acceptance testing, which officials said should be complete by Oct. 24. All 17 simulators are slated to be upgraded by January.

"Acceptance testing is where representatives of the Air Force and flight safety perform a prescribed set of functional tests, designed to show that the new equipment is functioning properly per the specification of the contract," Oaks said.

"T-6 students will receive much better training with this upgrade," said Lt. Col. Joseph Roche, a 5th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot and simulator instructor. "We will be taking a giant step into 21st century technology with this upgrade."

Roche had the opportunity to fly in the new simulators.

"They are incredible," Roche said. "The upgrade provides much improved capabilities like undated terrain elevation cuts, which allow more realistic peripheral visual cues.”

The software introduces more accurate airport environmental cues, such as beacon lights, approach lights and taxiway configurations, he said. It also increases the ability for simulator instructors to inject realistic conflicts like multiple aircraft, blowing dust, snow and icy runways. All of these improvements provide better initial training for students to learn ground references.

"I absolutely love the new upgrade," Roche said. "I am very excited to instruct T-6 students with the new upgrade."

Currently, students fly one low-level simulator sortie. During the acceptance testing at another base, the visual cues were so crisp and clear that Roche was able to fly the Vance local low-level without the use of a map.

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