“Alpha Charlie one zero niner, this is Bravo Sierra tree two four. I have visual on downed aircraft at my two o’clock about half mile.”

“Roger tree, two four. One zero niner has target aircraft in sight …Oh man, this is awesome.”

These pilots are 15-year-old Royal Canadian Air Cadets who fly simulators every Monday at the Cadet Youth Development Centre in Breslau, Ontario. On missions in the virtual world, cadets apply math and science while learning avionics, flight dynamics and planning.

Lockheed Martin recently provided Prepar3D® simulation software to power the Centre’s computer-based simulators. The software, used by military and civilian professionals for training, is a virtual reality platform that supports immersive learning scenarios for deep-sea operations, supersonic flight and beyond.

“When our cadets get in the simulators, they are entirely attuned to their task and to their teammates,” said Lt. Col. Ronald Gowing (Ret.), founder and program director of the Centre. “Our simulation program empowers youth to take control of their futures by cultivating self-assurance that they can excel in math and the sciences.”

Unlike the single-domain missions they were limited to before, cadets can now execute complex operations requiring coordination among air, sea and ground units.

“What I like about this new system is that it’s not just a flight simulator,” said a sea cadet. “I now can learn to handle a realistic ship on rough seas or operate the submersible in an underwater search. We also get to work alongside air cadets with their planes and our ships in the same simulation.”

The Centre engages youth in science, technology, engineering and math at a time when Canadian students are slipping in math and science. Canada dropped three spots to 10th in the most recent assessment of 15-year-olds from 70 countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

More than 300 youth participate each year in the Centre’s free programming.