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L3Harris’ In-Flight EO/IR Training Transforms and Develops Highly Skilled Operators

In-Flight Training for WESCAM MX™-Series

Safety is the primary requirement of the aerospace sector. L3Harris’ In-Flight Training transforms and develops highly skilled WESCAM MX™-Series operators from the ground up. Our instructors are front-line operators who are up-to-date on changing technologies and product enhancements – ensuring students get the best experience possible, and in the best format, for long-term retention. Combined classroom and hands-on training align with the students’ aircraft, WESCAM MX-Series system and configuration. That hands-on training is one of the best methods of reinforcing and expanding on current knowledge for mission success.

Real Life Scenarios for Best Results

“There is a definite benefit to training with us. The operators can leverage the real-world experience they have plus put theory to practice,” explains Brendan McCormick, Airborne Trainer for L3Harris.  “The students are required to achieve certain objectives, certain goals, with minimal or no input from the instructor on board. We put them in a real-life scenario, as an operator, and they need to be able to ascertain the situation and effectively use the WESCAM MX system for that given situation. This translates to the students being able to make those quick, real and accurate decisions in the future, ultimately allowing for them to achieve the objective and effectively provide the deliverable.”

WESCAM Advance Operator Training

In-Flight Training is offered both as open enrollment (buy one to five seats), or as a complete six-seat, full-class buyout. This combined classroom and hands-on training promotes effective learning and yields very good results. Further, the small group scenario allows for an open exchange of knowledge. The instructor, the operator and the pilot are all keen to share their experiences with others in order to introduce best practices across the entire industry. This is especially evident in open-enrollment classes, where there is a wide breadth of experience, “When you have a mixture of civilian operators, Department of Defense, and members of airborne law enforcement agencies, there's a lot of commonality between the surveillance missions that they fly,” explains Cooper Gordon, Manager of Air Operations for L3Harris.  “Each group develops their own tactics, techniques, and procedures specific to their mission set. Many times those can be transferred between the different types of flying that people are doing. It gets them to think, ‘I can use that next time I'm up flying in a law enforcement role,' even the civilian operators who are out doing wildlife counts. A lot of it is very relatable to the different mission sets.”

High-ranking Air Force official

"WESCAM’s In-Flight Training courses provided our operators with the knowledge and skills required for an intense and demanding ISR theater. It coached our ISR operators on how to use the MX EO/IR system capabilities in the field. Overall, our operators gained a very big advantage in the field thanks to the knowledge they gained from WESCAM’s In-Flight Training course."

Likewise, when you have a mix of senior operators and junior operators, there is advanced learning taking place on both fronts. Operators need to remain on top of the latest technology, and the most accurate way is in a user-based setting with structured and personalized trainers.

WESCAM In-flight training classroom environment

“There have been quite a few operators, who have been operating a WESCAM MX product for years, and we find that if they're not exposed to the full suite of capabilities, they get tunnel vision and end up using the same, limited number of features they used from the start,” says McCormick. “When they come into these classes, they're exposed to all of the WESCAM MX features, all of the benefits. In every single class, even the most experienced have gone away saying, ‘I think that's usable for me, or I knew it was a feature but dismissed it.’ I think everybody gleans usable information that they can ultimately use in their daily life as a WESCAM MX operator.”

Brendan McCormick, Airborne Trainer for L3Harris

“There have been quite a few operators, who have been operating a WESCAM MX product for years, and we find that if they're not exposed to the full suite of capabilities, they get tunnel vision and end up using the same, limited number of features they used from the start,”

Safety of Flight

Trainers with real-world experience and knowledge give guidance to the operators if they have difficulty with a task that they are trying to complete. This expert advice can help them perform the task correctly and safely. 

WESCAM MX-Series In-flight Training

“Being in my role, managing an air operations group, flight safety is a main consideration.  This type of training helps an operator to feel more comfortable with how they're operating the WESCAM MX sensor. It increases their efficiency, which relieves some of the workload for the operator. This in turn, allows them to participate further in crew resource management practices and be further invested in the mission at hand,” explains Gordon. “When you have a flight crew where everybody's invested in what's going on, everybody has a little bit more to give to the mission - because they're comfortable in their role - safety of flight increases, and that's paramount.

Reinforcement around simple things like crew coordination language, where specific terminology is common for a particular unit or company, affects every mission they fly. In the small group environment, the benefit of having open dialogue means that trainers can proactively address any deficiencies by optimizing the training curriculum and focusing on areas that need improvement.

“In-flight you can see from day one the operator who is new and who is experiencing WESCAM MX operation for the first time.  They are wide-eyed and overwhelmed,” explains McCormick. “As the class goes on and we've flown more, they've learned more, and they've had more experience, they're calm, they're relaxed, and they're more effective. When you have that person who is calm and composed, and able to achieve their objectives quickly, the rest automatically falls into place and they become a more effective part of the flight crew.”

Cooper Gordon, Manager of Air Operations for L3Harris

 “When you have a flight crew where everybody's invested in what's going on, everybody has a little bit more to give to the mission - because they're comfortable in their role - safety of flight increases, and that's paramount.”

Empowerment over the operator’s specific learning scenario is one of the elements that makes in-flight training effective. “It allows a student the ability to relate the material that they've been learning to real-world application and to see exactly how that classroom learning will translate to an airborne mission back home with their unit,” says Gordon.

WESCAM In-flight training practical environment

When given the opportunity to practice what they are learning in the form of In-Flight Training, operators experience an increase in knowledge retention. In a hands-on learning environment, the operator’s critical thinking skills are expanded. They must make decisions on what to do next to receive the outcome they are striving to obtain. These critical thinking skills remain with the operator long after training is complete. 

Learn more about our WESCAM MX-Series In-Flight training by visiting our In-Flight Training page and contact us for dates and training locations.

Discover more about WESCAM MX-Series In-Flight Training

In-Flight Training