The Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site unveiled a first-of-its-kind 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 Lakotaâ€™s. These aircraft are utilized daily in support of civil authorities and in assistance to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol along the southwest border, requiring regular maintenance at a higher standard than most army aircraft.
The LUH-72 is a Federal Aviation Administration registered aircraft owned by the Army and the 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 â€“ built VMT provides students the ability to familiarize and practice maintenance tasks prior to ever opening a door or hatch on the physical aircraft. As the only UH-72A Light Helicopter virtual trainer, the VMT supports the training program 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.Â 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, Arizona 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 U.S. Army for the UH-72A Lakota Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT).
A key element of DiSTIâ€™s UH-72A VMT development was the use of DiSTIâ€™s VE Studioâ„˘ software tools that provide an end to end solution for requirements analysis and traceability, design, development, and test.
â€śThe repair course provides instruction on 66 essential maintenance tasks,â€ť said Army Lt. Col John Morelos, battalion commander of the WAATS Total Army School System. â€śBy leveraging technology and learner-centric teaching strategies, the VMT provides a familiar digital platform that connects with the new generation of soldiers.â€ť
The trainer teaches nearly 100 students per year, and will serve as a reference for more than 150 student pilots and other aircraft maintainers.