Technology

IATA Aims for the Ground With New VR Training Tools

By / May 31, 2017 (YouTube screenshot)

The International Air Transport Association is taking a training process that is difficult to carry out at the airport and placing it inside a virtual reality headset.

Is the future of continuing education moving toward virtual reality for many associations? Maybe, maybe not, but one fledgling experiment from the airline industry provides an interesting proof of concept.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced a new virtual reality training tool for ground operations employees at airports. The program, RampVR, was built with input from major industry stakeholders, including airlines, airports, and ground-service providers.  Virtual reality is nothing new for the airline industry, of course—flight simulators are one of the best-known VR uses—but VR in ground operations training is a new strategy.

The initiative gets around a common problem with training ground employees: Providing training at airports is difficult because of the resources required, including aircraft and ramps.

“Improving ramp safety and reducing damage to aircraft and ground equipment through better education and training is an industry priority, but training in this extremely active environment can be a challenge,” Frédéric Léger, IATA’s director for airport, passenger, cargo, and security products, said in a press release. “RampVR allows users to safely immerse themselves in ramp operations and experience a variety of scenarios in different operating conditions.”

The initiative fully complies with IATA’s own training standards, laid out in the group’s Airport Handling Manual and Ground Operations Manual. The program also offers metrics during training, along with access to reference materials on the fly.

The association showed off the concept at the IATA Ground Handling Conference in Bangkok earlier this month. Curious what they came up with? Check out the video above.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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