Feature Story

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The new face of flight navigation training

T-45 Virtual Mission Training System


Updated in-flight radar software, a new debriefing station and a more accurate flight simulator highlight the T-45 Virtual Mission Training System.

After eight years of teamwork between Boeing, the Navy, and contractors, the most updated naval flight officer (NFO) training system is fully operational in Pensacola, Florida. Navigation students at Naval Air Station Pensacola began the first T-45 Virtual Mission Training System syllabus in January 2014. Former pilot and Boeing marketing field rep, Dick “Bush Hog” Nelson has been a member of the T-45 VMTS  team since the beginning, working to create a more cost-efficient and accurate radar training system for the future navigators for the F/A 18 aircraft.

“It was such a close working relationship with the subject matter experts, working right along with Boeing the whole way, that the product that they got was what they wanted - and what they needed,” said Nelson.

The new training system provides “backseat” NFOs the opportunity to train inside the T-45 Goshawk, which more accurately represents the cockpits and radar systems in the F/A 18 Super Hornet and Growler fleets. New data link technology also allows instructors on the ground to monitor virtual radar screens that mirror exactly what the student sees during flight training. From the instructor ground station (IGS), the instructor can also simulate virtual air-to-air and ground-to-air scenarios to the student while in flight. The T-45 VMTS also records the NFO’s radar for the entire flight training session, allowing the student navigator to play back and critique his session.

An additional improvement the T-45 training program offers is a Ground Based Training System. A T-45 “backseat” cockpit flight simulator offers more accurate radar training and flight experience. Boeing.com will profile this new flight navigator simulator later this month.