Virtual Technology Creates Bridge for Distance Learning
Virtual Technology Creates Bridge for Distance Learning

Virtual Technology Creates Bridge for Distance Learning

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus is empowering students to experiment, test, develop, analyze and reconfigure crash sites and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) using virtual reality technology. 

The Embry-Riddle Virtual Crash and Virtual Aerial Robotics labs marry products developed by Michael Durant, a Worldwide Campus alumnus and the founder of Pinnacle Solutions, an engineering and training services company, with the university’s distance-learning platform.

The Virtual Crash Lab places students in real-life crash investigations. As virtual National Transportation Safety Board investigators, students can direct their avatars to zoom in on details, collect and analyze data, and apply theory to determine possible scenarios and failures that led to an aircraft disaster.

The Virtual Aerial Robotics Lab allows students to design and build their own UAS in a virtual environment where they can test flight capability and analyze the results from anywhere in the world.

Aeronautics Professor Scott Burgess says virtual labs are the future of learning. “We want to lead with cutting-edge technology for students,” he says. “What we want to do is bring Star Wars-like capabilities to life and position students to expand their learning in an enhanced environment. The virtual aspect is one way to do that."


To experience the Virtual Crash Lab, visit

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, oldest and most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 100 associate, baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and through online programs. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at