UCF program is future of pilot training

Preparing for takeoff is changing inside the Institute of Training and Simulation at the University of Central Florida. 

Researchers are developing a virtual reality program that could be the future of pilot training, which typically requires an experience pilot and a student.

The UCF team is working with the team at Boeing to develop a program to create co-pilot avatars that can assist students through training exercises. 

“By 2030 we're anticipating the need to train 600,000 more pilots at least to fill the need for increased number of flights and airlines operating,” said Boeing researcher Elizabeth Biddle. 

The hope is the avatars will get hundreds of thousands of pilots ready to go faster.   The virtual co-pilots are customizable and programmed to speak to students like a regular person. 

"[You can] change to a female pilot.  Change different ethnicities, cultures, things like that.  We can do that very simply,” said UCF’s Michael Eakins.  

According to Boeing, the ultimate goal is to create a product package trainees can take home and use to practice multiple scenarios from the comfort of their living room.