Aviation training involves many hours of advanced-simulation exercises. Air traffic controllers, for example, use simulators that give them the same bird’s-eye view they would experience in the tower. The simulator can display any part of a flightline or base and helps the air traffic controller through scenarios, starting with basic ones with one or two aircraft and building to ones with four or five aircraft. Controllers must respond to real-life situations and are tested on their abilities. Airplane pilots also use simulators to learn how to fly fighter planes and refine their air-to-air combat skills. Simulators can reproduce the experience of enemy missions, such as takeoffs and landings, low-altitude flight, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons delivery, electronic countermeasures and emergency procedures. Realistic interactions with a wide variety of adversaries improve offensive and defensive skill levels as pilots move through mission scenarios. Likewise, helicopter pilots use a specialized, tactical operational flight trainer that they sit inside as they navigate in combat environments.
Captain flies a MiG-29 mission on a simulator at the Distributed Mission Operations Center.
Captains prepare for the first flight in the new MH-60R (Romeo) Tactical Operation Flight Trainer (TOFT).