Airtime VR is the prototype for a virtual reality simulation that aims at supporting aspiring paragliding pilots in their practical learning of common flight routines. As a complimentary tool to their regular outdoor practice, the simulator introduces basic flight mechanics and playfully provides users with advanced topographical as well as aerial knowledge.
An ongoing research project by the Cologne Game Lab (CGL) – Institute for Game Development and Research at TH Köln and German paragliding training provider Papillon, the Airtime VR project explores the opportunities of virtual reality-based training to teach safety relevant aspects in a 360-degree digital environment. Seated in a rigged paragliding harness with risers and steering lines and equipped with a VR head-mounted display, Airtime VR pilots can fly through a life-sized reconstruction of Mt. Wasserkuppe, one of Germany´s most popular paragliding pilot training arenas. Blending in theory and in-flight practice the virtual training allows pilots to get acquainted with the take-off and landing facilities in the classroom.
A first prototype was created by a group of CGL researchers and students in July 2017 and is being tested and evaluated by Papillon in selected beginners´ courses in fall 2017.