The Edwin A Link Named Lecture was established in 2007 to honour Edwin A Link, the distinguished pioneer of synthetic training. Edwin A Link's remarkable foresight led to the creation of the Link Trainer, or ‘Blue Box’ as it came to be known, the precursor to today’s powerful synthetic training devices, most notably full flight simulators. This year’s lecture saw Dick Eastment OBE take a personal journey through the past 50 years of Flight Simulation, concentrating on its contribution to flight safety and operational effectiveness, and on why it has become such a vital part of today’s training. Dick drew on a number of key lessons that we need to take into the future of simulation, including embedded simulations on real aircraft. As well as reflecting on the various simulators he has used, and how they have increased in effectiveness, he considered why we buy these devices, and whether we have now reached a plateau in the training that they can deliver. Finally, he concentrated on the training aspects of simulation; why we find getting a balance between live and synthetic training so challenging, and on where flight simulation might go over the next 20 years.
About the speaker:
Wg Cdr Richard Eastment OBE FRAeS, RAF (Retired)
Dick Eastment joined the RAF as a pilot in 1968, and after a series of transport and maritime tours, trained as a Hawk QFI in 1978. He completed 3 tours on the Hawk and has some 3000 hours on type. He was an A2 QFI and ended up as the CFS Chief Flying Instructor. In between Hawk tours he commanded the Jaguar Simulator Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, attended Staff College and was a desk officer at the RAF Personnel Management Centre based at RAF Innsworth. He retains a reserve commission and currently flies Tutor aircraft on 2 AEF. In 1992 he moved to the Ministry of Defence in the Operational Requirements branch, and spent 6 years dealing with simulation and synthetic environment issues. During this time he was directly responsible for upgrading almost every simulator in the RAF, and also for introducing the first major training PFIs such as Hawk Synthetic Training Facility, The Apache PFI and the Medium Support Helicopter Training Facility at Benson. He was awarded the OBE for this in January 1998.