FL Technics, a global provider of integrated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul service, which is part of Avia Solutions Group, has begun implementing VR modules for the basic training of aviation mechanics. The company has presented its first VR module, which covers the opening of the reverse thrust engine of a Boeing 737NG, and is set to expand its list of modules in the coming months to cover the full scope of maintenance training.
Zilvinas Lapinskas, CEO at FL Technics, explains what inspired this innovative approach to training: "Our main goal is to reduce the time it takes new mechanics to enroll in the company. Globally the industry struggles with the 3-month long enrollment process needed for aviation mechanics. So that's why we are pushing to shorten that process as much as we can, and we aim to try to get it down to 3 weeks. Once we've reached that target, we'll be looking into the possibilities of taking our training product to market."
The VR module itself has been designed to be as intuitive as possible, with the trainee mechanic proceeding through the series of tasks necessary for the opening of the engine. This starts with the mechanic selecting the right tools, then opening the covers, opening the reverse, inserting the safety lock and so on. The trainee can also select whether or not they require in simulation guidance. All efforts have been made to make the simulator as accurate and realistic as possible, even down to the fact that it will record any financial damage that would have been done to the aircraft as a result of the trainee's performance.
Ramunas Paskevicius, Head of IT and Innovations at FL Technics, who is heading up the companies VR initiative, is convinced of the value that such training will provide: "We are currently testing the modules in-house and this will give us a better idea of how they fit into the business. As the general demand for professional mechanics in the aviation industry is constantly growing, we are hoping to make the process shorter and prepare mechanics as fast as possible with no loss in quality. I am sure that our VR modules will help us to achieve all our goals."
This new innovation is part of the company's already successful strategy for reducing the enrollment time needed for new aviation mechanics. The adaptation course that FL Technics created for onboarding new mechanics has already cut the enrollment process by almost a month. However, Mr Paskevicius, the course's creator, is not content to rest on his laurels: "Despite the fact that our special enrollment course is working, we still want to make the process faster. And, of course, new technologies are extremely valuable in this situation. A few years ago, very few professionals in the industry believed in the ideas for the future that I was presenting. Now we can see the results and how rapidly the technology has advanced. I am sure we can use it to our advantage."