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New ‘VR’ flight simulators join Hill’s F-35 fleet

Paul Eger, a contracted Rockwell Collins F-35 simulator technician, runs wiring

Paul Eger, a contracted Rockwell Collins F-35 simulator technician, runs wiring for 25 high-definition projectors that display an ultra-realistic image onto the dome-shaped screen that make pilots feel like they are in flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Ridge Yadori, a Lockheed Martin field technician, installs circuit breakers into one of two new F-35 simulator power distribution units

Ridge Yadori, a Lockheed Martin field technician, installs circuit breakers into one of two new F-35 simulator power distribution units currently under construction at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Once completed, Hill will be home to six high fidelity simulators, and F-35 pilots will spend roughly 3-6 hours per month training and “flying” in virtual reality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Nathan Hill, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Training Systems Manager for the simulators at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, showcases multiple display screens in a debrief room

Nathan Hill, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Training Systems Manager for the simulators at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, showcases multiple display screens in a debrief room where pilots can watch “God’s eye view” footage of their training mission along with imagery from their aircraft to assess their individual and collective performance during virtual missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

Two new virtual reality F-35 simulators are currently under construction here. The highly advanced systems are surrounded by an 11-foot-tall translucent dome, positioned in a blackened room to ensure pilots have a realistic sensory experience, while 25 projectors display a 365-degree image around them while in “flight.”

 

“The high-definition image is so realistic, pilots can feel like they’re moving even though their simulator cockpit is stationary,” said Nathan Hill, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Training Systems Manager for the simulators here.

 

The F-35 pilots assigned to Hill’s 388th and 419th Fighter Wings rely on simulator training to augment actual training sorties and spend 3-6 hours on the ground in virtual flight each month.

 

As software upgrades are added, the simulators will allow pilots to fly virtual war games with other pilots around the globe.

 

The new simulators will be completed this summer, bringing the total number at Hill to six.  

 

The simulators are operated and maintained by 13 simulator pilots and technicians from Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.