Nicolai Bondo Rasmussen

The Use of VR in Cabin Crew Safety Training

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Nicolai Bondo Rasmussen
Head of Training Development/Training Manager, NP Crew Training, Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia

Nicolai has worked for three different airlines in Europe, and for the last seven years been with Thomas Cook, been part of the training department for the last six years. He started as a flight instructor and ATPL theory instructor, before moving onto the simulator training and CRM training in the airline. 

He attended the Human Factors and system safety Masters program at Lund University from 2012 to 2014, wanting to bridge the academic learning in human factors and system safety to the aviation training industry. This also lead Thomas Cook down the path to EBT, being the first airline in Europe to introduce and be an approved EBT operator.

Nicolai currently flies on the A321 and A330 and is a TRI/E on the A320.

The Use of VR in Cabin Crew Safety Training

We have in Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia been using VR in cabin crew safety training for more than one year. Due to our relatively small fleet and large area to cover, we are facing the training of 1000 crew on seven different bases all over Scandinavia. Bases where there is no training center located. We wanted to have the quality training that a training center delivers, but also wanted to train at our bases. The ideas was to launch the Thomas Cook virtual academy.

Initially we wanted to improve the door training we did every year. We engaged a local VR company, who is normally involved in the gaming industry. Our aim was to achieve better training for our crew in a more realistic environment. We achieved our goal and trained all crew in virtual A321. The crew can operate all the handles as in the real aircraft.

We tested the VR model on a group of 10. The group had never operated an aircraft door before, they did all the training on the VR model, when we took them to the aircraft, they did all the procedures correctly and were confident on all the modes the door can operate in. The realism in the VR is so good, that we have had crew, who were afraid of falling into the water when we trained a ditching and they were to release the slideraft from the door. 

We would like to show the possibilities with VR and gain momentum in the industry to make use of the technologies available to us. I see a future where the aircraft visit can be to a minimum, if any, being substituted by VR. Today there is a logistical problem to be able to allocate an aircraft to training, also the training is often done during the night, where the learning curve is at a minimum. Using VR we can train as much as we want, when we want, achieving a better outcome. We have now developed an exact model of our aircraft with all the emergency equipment located in the right place and you are able to operate the equipment.