FLT Zilvinas Lapinskas.jpg

Fast 5: FL Technics Looks At VR To Aid Technician Training

Last month, Lithuanian MRO FL Technics announced it was looking at virtual reality training to help with technical training. Žilvinas Lapinskas, CEO of the maintenance provider, discusses what it hopes to gain from exploring the technology.

What advantages will the company get from reducing training times?

A long enrolment of aviation mechanics is a global issue and it will continue to rise as the general demand for professional mechanics in the aviation industry is constantly growing. That is why we are working towards the faster procedures without a loss of quality. The main advantage is, of course, the shorter time needed for the mechanic to start working on his own. The basic mechanic training takes around three months and we believe that this VR project will allow us to shorten the time to three weeks. Looking into a long-term training processes, the VR training might also shorten the training for already working mechanics from five or six years to three to four years. Shortening the training time gives more motivation for the mechanics themselves, as they can start working faster. Especially, the young professionals. The other advantage is the company saves its finance that are dedicated for training purposes.

Was the technology developed internally or did FL Technics work with a partner?

This virtual reality training pilot project scenario was developed internally by FL Technics. Besides the scenario, all technical consultations and expertise was also done by our own employees of technical departments. Our personnel also did a full market research on what is already in the market and what was being developed but failed. We decided to do such research to learn the mistakes of others and ways to avoid them ourselves. In addition, intellectual property ownership is held by FL Technics. However, the programming was outsourced and done by a third party.

How many technicians are you hoping to train using virtual reality?

When we will finish all needed modules for the basic training processes, we will involve every new mechanic in it. There is no exact number as VR technology will let us involve everyone in the training process. There will not be any limit – neither time nor situation. Basically, mechanics will not need to wait for an aircraft that will need a specific maintenance project done. They will be able to train themselves on VR modules and when needed put their training into practice. 

Where will the VR module likely be rolled out to next after the 737NG engine reverse thrust?

We are going to expand the training process to all procedures included in the basic training of aviation mechanic. After that – we will transfer all technical trainings into virtual reality.

Would FL Technics consider extended the technology to augmented reality?

Augmented reality is yet another step. At the moment, it is not included in this project. However we observe the market and its needs and analyse all possibilities.

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