Document Type




Publication Date

Fall 9-14-2018


Students today represent a new generation of learner which requires us to look beyond our tradition training methods. Augmented Reality (AR) has already shown great promise of transforming the way interact with students in any technically driven education such as aviation.

The operation and maintenance of modern aircraft requires an understanding of several interrelated human and machine components requiring practice and immersion. The immersive experience can be enhanced with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Relevant to the task at hand, they both have the ability to alter our perception of the world, give real-time feedback, improve the efficiency of skills transfer and increased knowledge retention. Where they differ, is the perception of our presence.

Virtual reality (VR) is able to transpose the user through closed visors or goggles, which block out real world surroundings. VR is useful for singular operations such as reviewing a special qualification airport to allow the pilot to experience the terrain and surroundings before actually flying the approach, learning a procedure or checklist, and practicing maintenance or other operational functions.

On the other hand, Augmented Reality (AR) blends virtual reality content with the real world. As a result, users can interact with virtual contents while continuing to be in touch with the real life around them. Operations tasks such as aircraft maintenance can be augmented with procedures, checklists and manual information to create a hands free environment. This experience is achieved by the wearing of AR or mixed reality (MR) headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens. MR adds computer-superimposed holographic enhancements to a user’s real-world environment. The ability for remote instruction for crews and maintenance technicians could be a game changer for the entire industry.


Presented at the 2018 Fall Convocation, Western Michigan University

Included in

Aviation Commons