The French Aviation Authority (DGAC) has approved the use of the two new Airbus simulation tools in the courses delivered by Airbus to train aircraft maintenance technicians. These new training tools, which are the Maintenance/Flight Training device (M/FTD) and the Virtual Aircraft, are key elements in the new Airbus approach for maintenance training, called AACT (Airbus Active learning and Competence focussed Training).
The M/FTD is a training tool that replicates the real aircraft cockpit with PC (Personal Computer) screens and simulates the aircraft systems and maintenance functions.
The Virtual Aircraft, a PC application based on virtual reality, simulates the whole aircraft and enables the trainees in a three-dimensional on-screen environment, to walk around the aircraft, visit aircraft areas and locate or act on aircraft components.
The link between both tools allows simulation of the whole aircraft (inside and outside). Mechanics can perform maintenance tasks throughout all their steps, from cockpit to aircraft component, like removal and installation of a failed unit.
The virtual cockpit and the Virtual Aircraft are installed in the Airbus classroom, directly on the trainee's desk. This easy and frequent access of simulation tools during the course, allows the trainees to participate more actively in the course, and to gain practical skills before practice on actual aircraft.
For the first time, an aviation authority has recognized the Virtual Aircraft as a tool capable to support part of the practical training for aircraft technicians. Even if the actual aircraft remains an important tool for training, the Virtual Aircraft provides an efficient and secure way to conduct practical exercises.
These PC-based training solutions will also allow a wider deployment of the Airbus maintenance courses, enabling to train even more technicians from the operators and the maintenance repair and overhaul companies.
The first Airbus maintenance course to benefit from these new tools is the A320 Family course. The same approach will be applied in 2006 for the A330 and A340 Family, and then for the A380.