US Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site recently unveiled its Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT) for the UH-72A Light Helicopter Repairer Course at the Silverbell Army Heliport. The Arizona Army National Guard and the Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (WAATS) are home to more than 20 LUH-72 LAKOTAs.
These aircraft are utilised daily in support of civil authorities and in assistance to the US Customs and Border Patrol along the southwest border, requiring regular maintenance at a higher standard than most army aircraft, according to officials at the site.
The LUH-72 is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) registered aircraft owned by the US Army and US Army National Guard and must be maintained to FAA standards of flight safety, making the training and maintenance more stringent, and strictly monitored.
Consisting of 12 workstations, the DiSTI–built VMT provides students the ability to familiarise and practice maintenance tasks prior to ever opening a door or hatch on the physical aircraft. As one of the only UH-72A Light Helicopter virtual trainers, the VMT supports the training programme for maintainers from the Army National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty components. The VMT provides a virtual practical exercise interactive workspace designed to support the performance of UH-72A maintenance tasks to task standards. DiSTI has provided the army the ability to conduct training on large screens, desktop size screens, as well as mobile devices.
The trainer was successfully implemented at the WAATS in Marana, AZ in early 2016 and graduated its first class of trainees that June. The army exercised option year 2 of Interim Contractor Support (ICS) from the US Army for the UH-72A LAKOTA VMT.
“The repair course provides instruction on 66 essential maintenance tasks,” US Army Lt.Col John Morelos, Battalion Commander of the WAATS Total Army School System, said. “By leveraging technology and learner-centric teaching strategies, the VMT provides a familiar digital platform that connects with the new generation of soldiers.”
The trainer teaches nearly 100 students per year, and will serve as a reference for more than 150 student pilots and other aircraft maintainers.