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  • By Senior Airman Reilly McGuire
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Airmen at Dyess Air Force Base are always looking for ways to innovate, save time and save tax-payer money without compromising the mission. They are doing all of this and more at the 317th Maintenance Group’s Virtual Reality Training Center.

The 317th built a revolutionary VR lab from the ground up as a solution to multiple problems. May it be weather, flight scheduling, or other logistical factors, training has not always been available at a moment’s notice until now.

“The biggest takeaway from this is that the opportunity is always there. If we want to get more proficient we can come in here, a safe environment, and get better.” Said Master Sergeant Scott Maples, a Production Superintendent at the 317th Maintenance Squadron. “Out on the flight-line we may not meet the required conditions. It might be too windy, there might be lightning within five… so it’s nice to be able to get that training done without any outside factors intervening” he added.

The convenience and practicality of the VR lab has helped contribute to a 40 percent decrease in time used for training.

“The details within the training system are incredible and accurately depict the aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Velez, 317th MXS isochronal inspector. “This VR lab helps provide a realistic training environment for our Airmen.”

While state of the art technology continues to grow into a bigger role for training, hands-on, real-life training will always be more important. The 317th VR lab is being used as a supplement for Airmen to gain the knowledge they need without any interference.

"This type of training allows Airmen to become familiar with day-to-day operations,” said Maples. “Even though it won’t replace every training scenario, it is a very strong baseline for our Airmen to learn what basic operations need to look like.

The 317th Virtual Reality Training Center is one of many ideas approved by base leadership that have turned into real world solutions at Dyess Air Force Base.