August 16, 2017: Hong Kong’s cargo handler has introduced a revolutionary Virtual Reality (VR) training environment that will enable new staff to gain valuable experience before working in the challenging ramp environment.
Unlike existing training systems, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl’s) COSAC-VR provides users with an interactive, fully immersive, 360 degree, 4-dimensional experience. The first phase covers aircraft cargo compartment operations, and other areas of Hactl operations will be included in future modules.
COSAC-VR overcomes the limitations of on-the-job-training in preparing new staff for working in ramp handling: the fast pace of work, and the restricted opportunity to practice on real aircraft and ramp equipment. The system is not dependent on a high-technology, fixed-location training suite; it is fully portable, and can be quickly set up in any location.
Hactl expects COSAC-VR to speed up the learning process, enable trainees to experience a wider variety of scenarios such as handling odd-sized cargo pallets and special loads, and enhance safety awareness.
Simon Yap, Hactl’s senior manager - Learning and Development, explains, “In the past, newly-recruited ground service staff had to undergo extensive classroom training before experiencing the real-life aircraft cargo handling environment. COSAC-VR has reduced the reliance on real aircraft availability and suitable weather conditions for training, and trainees meanwhile can undergo work simulations in a totally safe environment. We have greater flexibility in scheduling training, so trainees can spend more time in familiarisation before they face the real-life situation.
Mark Whitehead, Hactl’s chief executive adds, “Today’s young recruits are already well-versed in VR technology through their use of computer games. We believe this same technology can be employed to capture their interest and enthusiasm, and turn learning into an enjoyable experience.
“This is just the beginning: we will add progressively to COSAC-VR’s scope, and look at other ways to deploy VR, such as staff induction and internal communication. We are very interested in exploring collaboration with our airline customers on the VR training concept, for our mutual benefit.”