TUCSON, Ariz. — Weather forecasts can be critical in military operations. Airmen in the 25th Operational Weather Squadron at Davis-Monthan can be deployed anywhere in the world. Recently they started using virtual reality technology to train for the places they might be sent.
“You can see your hands, but you can't see your body,” Senior Airman Jake Trimble explained. “So that can cause motion sickness for some people.”
Trimble says you can really lose yourself in this type of training.
“There’s wind going by, you hear that, you actually feel like you are at where you are. You don't feel like you are in a building at all.”
The 25th operational weather squadron operates out of Davis-Monthan air force base. They make forecasts for the air force and army covering the western United States and South America.
Their airmen can be deployed anywhere in the world.
The new form of training is giving weather airmen a chance to submerge themselves in the environments they might be sent to. They can battle the elements, build equipment, collect weather data, and develop a forecast.
“Maybe a helicopter 500 feet off the ground, what are the impacts of winds coming off the top of a mountain on turbulence,” said 25th Operational Weather Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Stephen Maile. “What are the visibility issues in those lowest layers of the atmosphere?”
A base full of people could be depending on their training.
“From the daycare centers that care about the temperature for your children all the way up to pilots concerns with visibility for runways.,” said Lead Trainer Ronald Bradford.
Trimble says he'll be ready.
“I know I can learn on VR and be put anywhere in the world and do what I need to do to get the job done.”