RWS 104 – Virtual Reality Simulators 2021 Revisit with Chris Ryan


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Chris Ryan is the owner of Ryan Aerospace – a company building virtual reality flight simulators that are changing the way pilots train.

How would you like to have been holding a steady hover and taking off and landing at 3 hours of helicopter flight time? Chris Ryan couldn’t afford helicopter lessons so he built himself a simulator to practice at home. His instructor was so impressed at his progress that he encouraged Chris to turn the simulator into a business.

From a humble PVC pipe contraption to now selling hundreds of virtual reality helicopter flight simulators into the military market, Chris Ryan (Ryan Aerospace) has taken a long road to get to where he is today.

Back in 2017, in episode 61, I spoke with Sérgio Costa from where we covered a lot of information about virtual reality (VR) and how it applies to flight simulators.

There are almost 9000 members of Sérgio’s facebook group now and it is a very active place for people interested in helicopter simulators. To the point where he’s been able to influence the development of big name consumer sims to make them more helicopter friendly.

In this episode we revisit VR sims and see where they are up to. This gear has the potential to reduce in-aircraft training time by up to 40% – which given the cost of helicopters, is going to grab anyone’s attention.

US Army pilots training in virtual reality on the HELIMOD Mark III Helicopter simulators

Chris talks about what it takes to turn an idea into reality and some of the journey that this technology has taken to get to point where it is standard for pilots training at Fort Rucker.

Along with the simulators the goal is to develop a learning management system which will allow a student to move through sequences with a simulated instructor and features such as being able to see and follow the path for a demonstrated circuit.

We also cover:

  • sim sickness and how it affects some people
  • new technology that is coming out in mixed reality and hand tracking, and
  • what gear you should be looking for if you want to make your own home VR setup for training

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Ryan Aerospace – This is Chris’s company based on the Gold Coast, Australia and building simulators for customers around the world including the US Army and US Air Force.

Chris had his first helicopter ride while in the Australian Army Reserves. His Dad owned planes growing up so Chris was on the controls from an early age.

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The post RWS 104 – Virtual Reality Simulators 2021 Revisit with Chris Ryan appeared first on The Rotary Wing Show Podcast.

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