Rolls-Royce and Qatar Airways are using virtual reality (VR) to train engineers in a pioneering programme between the two companies.

While practical training will always be the main focus, Rolls-Royce is working on way to incorporate VR into its engineering training programmes, as part of its IntelligentEngine vision.

Qatar Airways engineers are the first in the industry to receive the training, using Rolls-Royce’s pioneering Trent XWB engine, which powers the Airbus A350.

Chris Cholerton, Rolls-Royce, president – civil aerospace said; “At Rolls-Royce we are designing, testing and maintaining engines in the digital realm, so it makes sense that we bring cutting-edge technology to our network. In the same way pilots’ complete elements of their training in a simulator, certain engineering tasks can be taught through virtual reality. Qatar Airways were the first customer to take delivery of the Trent XWB, and their forward-thinking vision across the business makes them the perfect launch partner for this technology.”

The Trent XWB is Rolls-Royce’s largest engine. Due to its size, it must be separated before the engineers can transport it for maintenance and repair. Using HTC Vive equipment, engineers are immersed in the process, using sight, sound and touch to separate the two parts of the engine in a virtual setting.

Previously, an engine would have been transported to Doha to be used for training, or Qatar Airways would have provided an engine in service, with the risk of damage to equipment and valuable flying time lost.

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