One year, dozens of new simulator instructors, thousands of aircrew members and UAV operators that completed their conversion training and 31,859 simulator sorties
Tens of thousands of sorties were performed in the IAF’s instruction centers this year and every flying platform in the IAF has its own simulator. Each simulator center trains thousands of air crew members and UAV operators, who return to them in order to maintain their fitness after their discharge.
The establishment of the Mission Training Center in the Fighter Simulator Squadron in Hatzor, in December 2013 was a quantum jump in the world of simulative training in the IAF. For the first time, air crew members could train in a 360 display virtual reality environment. “Mission training is the future of the IAF”, stated Lt. Col. Gil, Head of the Simulator Branch in the Weapons Department. “This is a field that doesn’t replace any other niche, such as emergency or conversion training, but we see the MTC as an excellent platform for the accumulation of flight hours and taking standard training to the edge”.
In the coming years, the world of mission training in the IAF is expected to take a step forward as a Helicopter Mission Training Center and a UAV Mission Training Center are expected to join the existing Fighter MTC. In addition, a “Boom” operator (air crew member responsible for refueling other aircraft during flight) simulator might be acquired, a simulator center for the Hercules Division (“Shimshon” & “Karnaf”) will be established, and a Vertigo simulator – which simulates flight in vertigo conditions for all manned aircraft – will be acquired.
“A matter of life and death”
“In April 2008, I was scrambled to evacuate forces from the Gaza strip in extreme weather and performed a non-standard takeoff”, shared Lt. Col. A, Commander of the Helicopter Simulator Squadron. “At the time I was an instructor in the advanced transport helicopter squadron in the flight academy and used to practice take offs like the one I performed with the cadets, but I always thought that they were improbable scenarios. The only reason I successfully performed that sortie and evacuated the force safely was without a doubt mu simulator training. Many things that seem insignificant to us end up being a matter of life and death”.