RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University has installed a professional 2D / virtual reality flight simulation laboratory as part of the Aviation program. The lab, located in the Whalin Technology complex on the EKU campus, contains several simulation stations (commonly referred to as sleds), each equipped with a high-end Alienware computer, 43-inch ultra-high-definition monitor, from a control yoke, power controls, rubber pedals, virtual reality glasses, X-plane 11 software and Gleim X-plane multi-user flight training courses.
Virtual reality simulators are advanced technologies that are only available in a small number of university aviation programs in the United States. The technology is being incorporated into the pilot training programs of the United States Air Force and Navy.
“As the only flight school in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we are proud to offer this opportunity to students in the Appalachian region of our state,” said EKU President Dr. David McFaddin.
The simulators will provide students with real-time instruction, step-by-step guidance, and remedial commentary. After each use, the post-flight lesson report shows student performance and areas that still need improvement.
“We can narrow down any problems a student may have in techniques,” said Dennis Sinnett, executive director of the Aviation program at EKU. “We can get them out there and practice takeoffs, stalls, landings, whatever regime we expect our students to master, with the goal of reducing training time,” he said. declared.
The flight simulator is as real as it gets without actually piloting an airplane. Once the students put on the virtual reality glasses, they can look around the cockpit and out the windows to see amazingly realistic features.
“The Virtual Reality Flight Simulation Lab will provide our students with the opportunity to experience flight training in a less stressful and more controlled environment,” said James Glass, EKU Aviation instructor.
The lab is designed not only to teach students in a safer way, but also at a faster pace. With the lab in use, professors now teach students a lesson, students then practice in the flight simulator, and after mastering the material, they are ready to soar into the air. This new teaching method creates a less stressful learning environment for students, as they become familiar and comfortable with flying an airplane before they even step foot on an airplane.
“We can teach them the basics in the VR lab, and then once they get on a plane it’s not the first time they’ve experienced it,” Glass said. “They’ve been through it many times before they’ve even climbed in one.
The simulators are high-end training tools but will also serve as a recruiting tool for the EKU Aviation program in eastern Kentucky. “With us pushing the sleds to the community, we want to capitalize on interest in aviation, to stimulate interest in aviation, statewide,” Sinnett said.
EKU’s aviation program allows some high schools and community colleges to install one of the flight simulators in their own school so that students can use the technology.
The flight laboratory is accessible to all EKU Aviation students. For more information on the Aviation program, please visit https://aviation.eku.edu/.