Sep 6, 2012
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Prospective flight officers at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., were recently introduced to a rising star in the future of aviation training.
The Undergraduate Military Flight Officer operational flight trainer, also known as the UMFO OFT, is the first advanced-jet student trainer to replicate the rear-cockpit of the T-45 aircraft and the first of six devices delivered this past spring to NAS Pensacola.
“The simulator brings tremendous capabilities to the student,” said Capt. John Feeney, Naval Aviation Training Systems (PMA-205) program manager, whose office oversaw the design and development of the trainer. “All naval flight officer (NFO) students assigned to tactical aircraft platforms, as well as international students, will eventually utilize the device. With the simulator taking precedence in the training curriculum, the cost savings to the Navy will be substantial.”
The UMFO OFT capabilities range from navigation and electronic warfare training to hands-on communication and radar manipulation. Approximately 150 students per year, utilizing the advanced-jet training syllabus, will train in both air-to-air and air-to-ground scenarios for interactive mission rehearsals.
State-of-the art technology was incorporated in all aspects of the design to include visual out-of-the-window display and enhanced-motion seats. The high-fidelity device is based on actual aircraft instrumentation and cockpit configuration. The UMFO OFT provides a realistic training environment for F/A-18D Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and EA-6B Prowler NFOs.
In another first, a strike fighter NFO student completed the pioneer training mission June 1.
“The look and feel of the new simulator was very realistic,” said Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Clinton Kelley, Training Air Wing Six student. “I was impressed from the beginning. ‘In flight,’ the graphics were incredible, very clear and detailed to include buildings, bridges and landmarks that looked 3-D. The visuals included other features, such as the hangar, other T-45s, and even the Blue Angels parked on the flight-line.”
Unlike students before him, Kelley will conduct some of his training inside the simulator, versus only flying in the T-39 or T-45 aircraft. Beginning October 2013, most of the training will be completed using the device.
“Prior to the UMFO OFT, instructors conducted simulated training on the instrument flight trainer and the radar desktop trainer,” said Tommy Ober, PMA-205 chief of Naval Air Training lead. “The new device combines both trainers and introduces additional functionalities, enhancing student knowledge and skills before they set foot in their assigned aircraft platform.”
For Kelley, the experience enhanced his tactical insight and afforded familiarity with the aircraft’s tactical configuration.
“The instructors were very knowledgeable of the new system, and I really enjoyed the experience. I am privileged to be the first user and the first of a new generation of NFOs that will train using the UMFO OFT,” Kelley said.
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