Oz SIM Flight Expo – retargeted to The Australian Defence Force VR Simulator Experience at Wings Over Illawarra airshow!

Due to border closures and the subsequent inability of exhibitors to attend the scheduled Oz Flight SIM Expo, we have refocussed this feature in 2021 as an Australian Defence Force Simulator experience.

The feature will showcase some of the STEM programs of the Navy and Army and will be a fantastic immersive experience for all ages.

The Naval Aviation Prospects Scheme (NAPS)

The Naval Aviation Prospects Scheme (NAPS) is a Fleet Air Arm (FAA) recruiting initiative established in 2007 as a mitigation strategy to combat critical manning shortages in both aircrew and aviation technician categories. NAPS includes an external program involving attendance at significant public events, such as air shows, careers expos, local and non-local school visits. The aims of NAPS are to raise the profile of the FAA within the community, generate prospective applicants, encourage students to consider a career in the FAA, and foster civic virtue.

To achieve its aims, NAPS uses portable high-tech Flight Simulators (Sims) as an engagement tool to open short discussions with people who might like to know more about a career in the Navy or Defence. NAPS utilises a team of Navy Personnel from different job categories to assist the prospective applicant get the full experience of what it’s like to fly a Navy Helicopter. NAPS latest Sims include Virtual Reality goggles for the pilot visuals, realistic helicopter controls, motion to add the feeling of flying, and the latest in Flight Sim software that is as close to flying the real thing as possible for someone who isn’t a helicopter pilot.

NAPS will have a variety of Simulators set up at Wings Over Illawarra to cater for all ages. From pre-schoolers who can use the junior Sims. Primary school age and older can experience the helicopter sit on Sims. High school age and older can experience the very realistic helicopter flight sims with virtual reality and motion. An Aircrewman winching Sim with virtual reality optics that all ages can experience what an Aircrewman has to do in a rescue situation where you operate the helicopter’s winch to save a person in distress.

The Aviation STEM Motivation Program

The Aviation STEM Motivation Program is an Army Aviation program aiming to increase awareness and develop interest among young people in STEM Aviation pathways within Army Aviation (Pilot, Engineer, Groundcrewman, UAS Operators, and Maintenance personnel). The complete system consists of four Virtual Reality Helicopter Simulators, comprising the main platform, flight controls (cyclic, collective, and anti-torque pedals), and a seat mounted on three separate movement actuators. The System also has a portable display for audience viewing. The unit has wheels attached to allow for easier transportation to ground floor rooms or into elevators. These complete systems are transported in our Fly Army Branded Van.

The STEM Aviation Program has been established for presentation to high school students primarily from grades 7-10.  The program is also very adaptable to Career Expos, Job Fairs, and Airshows allowing us to offer the program to a wider audience or a greater number than possible with the teaching Program offered.

The aviation STEM team conducts roadshows across Australia visiting high schools, cadet units, Air Shows, and other events of public significance. The school program consists of a complete lesson plan on STEM and its relationship to flying. Our advocates provide this lesson to the students in the classroom and finish with a virtual reality helicopter experience on our Helicopter VR Simulators for each student to complete the teaching module.

Our team consists of aviation professionals that are currently employed across a variety of aviation roles within Army Aviation. Our advocates are drawn from a variety of different backgrounds and offer a vast array of experiences and knowledge, all of which are freely shared with participants. The informal and fun nature of this STEM Aviation Program along with our diverse team inspires students to seek out additional information in the various STEM fields of study and Army Aviation Capability roles.