Virtual meets reality – Red Arrows style!
Red Arrows pilot “Red 10”, enjoyed a new aerobatic experience at the Royal International Air Tattoo on Sunday, courtesy of the… Virtual Red Arrows display team.
Squadron Leader Adam Collins of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (story image), was invited to fly with the Virtual Red Arrows, in an immersive virtual reality cockpit ride. Donning a VR mask, Red 10, was guided by virtual pilot, Daniel Katzav also known has “Virtual Red 3”. It didn’t take him long to master virtual reality and was eager to take control, much to the delight of the VR “Reds” watching.
Sqn Ldr Collins, Red 10 of The Red Arrows said:
“That was an incredible experience. I’ve never used VR before. The sensation of being able to look around a see what’s going on. The references of the aircraft around me look very much like when I’m flying in the back seat with the team in the middle of the formation – it’s very realistic.”
After his “flight” The VR Reds presented Adam with a framed VR Squadron print and in true flying tradition, signed by all the pilots (or in this case VR pilots).
Whilst the Virtual Red Arrows fly using a hi-spec gaming PC, it is a very serious business. The VR team practise together at least three times a week ready for their live displays streamed on the internet, watched by thousands.
The Virtual Red Arrows Hawk has been specially constructed for the team to match the real aircraft in every detail. Red 10 was very impressed with its accuracy.
Sqn Ldr Collins added, “It’s incredible. The fact that you can replicate the inside of a cockpit, so when you look down, all the switches are in the places I’m expecting them to be in, the instrument panel looks the same as ours. Even looking forward from the back seat seeing the front seater’s head, it’s all incredibly realistic and very impressive.”
Sqn Ldr Collins explains the Royal Air Force is also taking VR very seriously. “We are bringing in VR into our training, not just for pilots but for our crew and engineers, being able look up into engine bays and (almost) do procedures, virtually before you do them for real. I think it’s a great introduction and something we are looking to use more and more in training”.
But today, for the VR team, it was about meeting the real deal; virtual meets reality. A perfect opportunity to discuss the intricacies of aerobatic flying with the best of the best. “We are all really passionate about the Reds.” Said Dale Brewis (Virtual Red 5). “I follow them on social media, I go to as may airshows as I can. Just to be able to speak to one of them, especially Red 10, and for him to experience what we do, was just a dream come true.”
Imagery: © Crown Copyright 2018
Source: RAF website