Ground handling has entered the realm of virtual reality, (VR), with the launch of training software developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Ramp VR is a training package that uses software and a pair of virtual reality goggles to place a trainee on a virtual airport hardstand. IATA describes it as a ‘flight simulator for ground ops’.
IATA says the package removes many of the complexities of conventional training. There is no need for security passes or background checks, and no danger from bringing inexperienced people on to the ramp. And it can be used anytime, anywhere, regardless of weather.
The package can replicate incidents and accidents from live operations and can simulate different lighting and visual weather. As with a flight simulator, scenarios can be paused or recorded for instant guidance or later analysis.
The package can train specific skills, including aircraft damage detection, foreign object spotting, and hand signalling. Users mark and signal with hand-held controls.
IATA senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security, Nick Careen, said, ‘VR in the learning context increases knowledge retention by as much as four times, while improving motivation and engagement’.
Ramp VR was unveiled at IATA’s ground handling conference in Thailand last month.