Mixed Reality Training in the Highest-Security Environments
FlightSafety International, a leading provider of pilot training solutions, has adopted the Varjo Focal Edition mixed reality headset to enhance their flight simulation.
The ultimate close-up visual precision of the Focal Edition, along with its ability to meet strict security requirements, make it an ideal choice for FlightSafety International’s high-profile and high-security clientele.
Key benefits of VR & XR for FSI
- Many critical scenarios such as taxi, takeoff, landing, formation flight, and mission rehearsal can be trained easily and effectively with a smaller carbon footprint
- Cost-effectively extends capabilities of existing cockpit training solutions instead of requiring full replacement
- TAA compatibility and high-security of Varjo headsets enable deployment even to classified environments
Challenge: How to offer high-quality XR training in environments with the highest security requirements
FlightSafety International (FSI) is the leading provider of pilot training services to the general aviation, corporate, military, and commercial airline markets. They work with high-profile customers in the industry, including the US Military and many foreign militaries in Europe and Asia, and manufacture some of the most advanced flight simulation solutions on the market.
In addition to fidelity and immersion requirements to effectively train pilots for demanding operations, high security is extremely important for governmental clients. However, consumer-oriented headsets very often struggle with these requirements because their hardware and software has not been built with this kind of security in mind.
In the case of the United States, most headsets available on the market are also not TAA (Trade Agreements Act) compliant, so they can’t be used for large, high-security U.S. deployments.
This is one of the reasons why FSI chose to partner with Varjo. It allows them to combine their leading simulation solutions with the most security-conscious headsets available to offer next generation mixed reality flight training for high security environments. Furthermore, they can offer a fully TAA-compliant solution for the most demanding scenarios and deployments.
Solution: A Top-of-the-Line XR Simulation Solution with the Highest-Fidelity Hardware and Software
FSI’s VITAL 3D Image Generator couples the highest fidelity, photorealistic, FAA certified synthetic environments with the immersion of extended reality technologies. FSI’s latest advancements add mixed reality into the scenario, which allows combining the tactile benefit of a cockpit with an immersive virtual training environment. To further enhance the high fidelity and near-focus vision capabilities in their training solutions, FlightSafety International has also adopted Varjo’s Focal Edition mixed reality headset. With these advancements, FlightSafety’s Mixed Reality Flight solution offers a highly-effective 360 degree cockpit training device that is also cost-effective.
This system is far more immersive and effective for training than virtual reality trainers because it allows users to see and interact with the real world inside the cockpit while adding a virtual world outside. Furthermore, the system can be integrated into an existing cockpit training device, so it does not require full replacement of existing trainers.
“We introduced the Varjo Focal Edition headset on our MR device to a military customer recently and they really appreciate the ability to see something within that 45-centimeter focal range, specifically their avionics. They appreciate the ability to reach out and tactically feel or touch that knob or that button or their iPad which they may use as their electronic flight bag”, says Chad Schmitz, the Product Manager for Mixed Reality Flight at Flight Safety International.
When training with FSI’s solution, the pilot wears the Varjo mixed reality headset, so they can enjoy the highest fidelity available. This allows clearer readability of cockpit elements and a crisp resolution for the virtual world. The system allows for extended trainability and situational awareness including taxi, takeoff, landing, formation flight, mission rehearsal and more.
“We think it’s important to see clearly, specifically the avionics panel, the instruments within the flight deck itself, because that lends to increased flight training proficiency,” Schmitz says.
The benefits are not limited to the pilot, though. The system also allows adding two additional visual displays, allowing instructors to see what the student sees. The instructor benefits from integrated eye tracking, displaying pilot gaze and scan patterns in the real and virtual worlds.
“The initial feedback on the Varjo Focal Edition has been positive. The users enjoy the ability to see things close, specifically the avionics panel.”
Chad Schmitz - Product Manager for Mixed Reality Flight at Flight Safety International
Outcome: Better, More Secure Training for Pilots
By partnering with Varjo, FlightSafety International can offer industry-leading mixed reality training solutions for even the most demanding pilot training scenarios.
The solution is cost-effective, and allows combining the tactile elements of the physical cockpit with the immersive digital scenario produced by VITAL 3D, making sure pilots train with maximal immersion. The Focal Edition allows trainees to see close-up details, such as the avionics panel and electronic flight bag, in realistic, human-eye resolution, which is crucial for effective pilot training.
The solution also allows the instructor to efficiently monitor the trainee, seeing what they see. Varjo’s integrated eye tracking enables accurate monitoring and recording of the pilot’s gaze and scan patterns, allowing even more precise instructions and development of the pilot’s abilities.
Meeting the Highest Security Requirements
FlightSafety International has clients in the military that require the highest level of security in all aspects of their operation. Thanks to the security-conscious approach of Varjo headsets and the ability to produce them with full TAA compliance – and even disable radio signals entirely – the solution can be deployed even in locations that have the strictest of security requirements.
The Focal Edition allows FlightSafety International to meet these demands. The immersive mixed reality training solution can be deployed even in locations that have the strictest security requirements.
“With the Focal Edition, we’re able to give them that high level of security as we can use an offline license so there’s no connection to the Internet,” Schmitz says.
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