Virtual Maintenance Trainer for UH-72A Helicopters at WAATS

WAATS introduces VMT for UH-72A, enhancing helicopter maintenance training efficiency

Defence/ Military

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The Western Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (WAATS) introduced an innovative Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT) for the UH-72A Light Helicopter Repairer Course at Silverbell Army Heliport. WAATS, operated by the Arizona Army National Guard, oversees more than 20 LUH-72 Lakota helicopters used extensively for civil and border patrol missions, necessitating rigorous maintenance adherence to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight safety standards.


The VMT, developed by DiSTI, features 12 workstations enabling students to simulate and practice maintenance procedures without accessing physical aircraft components initially. As the sole virtual trainer for the UH-72A, it supports training across Army National Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty units. This interactive workspace ensures trainees achieve task proficiency aligned with maintenance standards, accessible on large screens, desktops, and mobile devices.

Implemented in early 2016 at WAATS in Marana, Arizona, the VMT saw its inaugural class graduate in June of the same year. The Army extended its use through the Interim Contractor Support (ICS) program's second year, affirming the trainer's effectiveness and value in preparing maintenance personnel.

DiSTI utilized its VE Studio™ software tools for comprehensive development, covering requirements analysis, design, development, and testing phases crucial for meeting instructional needs and regulatory compliance. According to Army Lt. Col. John Morelos, WAATS Total Army School System battalion commander, the VMT's integration of advanced technology and learner-centric strategies resonates well with new-generation soldiers, enhancing training effectiveness.

In summary, WAATS' deployment of the UH-72A VMT marks a pivotal advancement in aviation maintenance training, leveraging virtual technology to prepare personnel to maintain LUH-72 Lakota helicopters to exacting FAA standards. This innovative approach not only ensures operational readiness and safety compliance but also aligns with modern training methodologies tailored to meet the evolving needs of military aviation.

Rrahul Sethi
June 27, 2024
5 min read