Drawing: Cobra Drawing: Cobra


VACR basics and recall learning are essential for effective training. Understanding the fundamentals of visual aircraft recognition is an integral part of the planning stage of the training program.


Evaluate your training needs. A review of personnel training records and the results of a VACR proficiency test will provide a list of soldiers who need recognition training and to what degree they must be trained.


Motivation plays a major role in learning to recognize and identify aircraft. Because the subject is learned through repetitive memory drills, an extra effort is necessary to motivate yourself and others to learn VACR skills. Aircraft recognition is essential to job performance and should be presented in a manner that will cause good performance. VACR high-skill level success, and recognition by peers of this attainment, are sources of satisfaction and motivation.


VACR training is enough of a challenge without adding distractions. In a VACR class, such subjects as aircraft attack profiles, hostile target criteria, and identification, friend or foe should not be included. While these subjects are necessary for most soldiers, they should be taught or learned in firing doctrine or other classes. The primary goal or focus in a VACR class is the identification of specific aircraft.


Prepare VACR presentations by developing training objectives, conditions, and standards. Then, write a lesson plan and set up a classroom.

Planned VACR presentations are necessary to get the most from a unit’s limited training time. Rehearse all VACR classes. Use the assistant instructor as an audience to provide feedback to improve your presentation. Instructors will be working with two projectors and giving out volumes of information that soldiers can understand and remember, so they must be highly skilled in VACR to teach the subject correctly.


Slides are very effective aids in training soldiers aircraft recognition skills. Slide presentations allow the flexibility to mix aircraft for comparison training. One-on-one exchanges between the student and instructor reduce boredom and enhance the concentration that is essential to this type of training.


Visual aircraft recognition training is accomplished by showing the soldier aircraft imagery, and is based on individual features of an aircraft such as wing and tail shape. The soldier studies the images using the WEFT theory, associates the images with the aircraft name and or number, and commits the aircraft to memory. When seeing the aircraft in flight or pictures of the aircraft, the soldier can recognize the aircraft and state the aircraft’s name and or number. Remember that it is the composite of features that make an aircraft recognizable.

Avoid slide recognition. Present uncluttered aircraft views without visual clues such as background, cloud patterns, national insignia, ordnance loads, or extended landing gear that could lead to slide identification rather than aircraft recognition. Also avoid slide shows as a substitute for well-planned VACR training sessions.


Use paired comparison training when teaching soldiers new aircraft or when you are teaching discrimination between aircraft. To pair aircraft, arrange the aircraft in sets based on the degree of similarity, for example, the Tornado and Su-24 Fencer or the C-130 Hercules and An-12 Cub, whenever possible. When there is little or no similarity, pair the aircraft by type and primary roles. If soldiers confuse one aircraft with another, then pair those two aircraft.

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Updated: 27 January 2008
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