Sparking Innovation: Parasim, the Upgraded Free Fall Simulator

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The road to Spark Tank 2023 begins! This means the 412th Test Wing Innovation team, SparkED, has begun the FY23 Airmen Pitch Process. The Airmen Pitch Process gives Units, Squadrons and Groups the chance to think of the next great innovative idea that sparks change for the better within their program.  Teams that pitch ideas can then compete for resources (e.g. facilitation help, leadership support, funding, etc). SparkED is the "Airman's Team" charged with leading culture change initiatives and resourcing these rapid project start-ups for Airman (Big A) innovations. 

"Innovation means change and hopefully change for the better," Ryan Lee, Range Safety Engineer, 412 SETR explained. "If the right person here's the idea and says 'I know how to make that possible' people can meet and collaborate and have a idea become reality."

To provide inspiration for the future pitch, the 412th Operations Squadron's Parasim, was a successful idea in FY22.  Parasim is the most realistic training simulator available for the Air Force’s sole test parachute program.

"Throughout the Air Force a lot of people use VR and VR simulation to train," TSgt. Robert Gregory, SERE Specialist, 412 OSS explained. "We beat that level here at Edwards. We just got a new upgraded system, Parasim, a system that can simulate all of the aircraft, all of the equipment our test parachutists will have so we have the best training possible."

With Parasim, the parachutists will be readily equipped to deal with equipment malfunctions and other non-routine scenarios during live jumps and real-world exercises. 412 OSS test parachutists will be more likely to resolve potentially fatal malfunctions with equipment or cope with harmful conditions during live jumps.

"Now with all of the new upgrades that Parasim has offered, we can take this system and adjust it from the smallest person to a linebacker; we can now fit them and train them adequately with the equipment available to us now," Gregory said.

This innovative idea provides significant reduction in risk during parachuting test operations, expedited training for aircrew, incentive flyers during refresher training, and significant reduction in TDY costs.

"Innovation and Spark Tank was able to find these funds to help our projects to just better our program," Gregory explained.

Now, it is your turn. Do you have a great idea that sparks change for the better? You can follow the FY23 Airman Pitch Process in five easy steps.

STEP 1:  For Team Edwards, enter problem you are trying to solve here: Innovation - Home ( Click on "Enter your idea".

STEP 2:  XPOI will contact you to assign a coach to help develop your pitch by working through the market research/applicable requirements.

STEP 3:  You and your coach will work with the Innovation Resource Advisor to ID funding type/vehicle or other applicable requirements and schedule your pitch with the XCITE (SME) Panel.

STEP 4:  Pitch your idea to the XCITE Panel for resources (e.g. facilitation help, leadership support, funding, etc.)

STEP 5:  If approved, work with your coach, RA, and contracting POCs for execution. If not approved, PIVOT! Go back to look at more research and try again.

You can also pitch your idea on the 412TW Innovation app. Stuck on a idea? You can contact the innovation team by email.

Keep a look out for a date and time for Spark Tank 2023, where the best of the best ideas compete for resources and funding this Spring.