Selva says the Air Force has been working to develop simulator software that could replicate actual flight. Complex details, such as the last 10 feet before landing on a runway or guiding a fuel hose to an in-flight aircraft, are particularly hard to recreate.
The Air Force tasked a chief learning officer in recent weeks to focus on improving these simulators, Selva says.
The Air Force has also found ways to save money in flight. It recently converted the massive amounts of paper on board each plane – for flight plans, manuals and other documents – into digital copies stored on iPads. It also calculated that pilots can save as much as 10 percent of their fuel by flying a specific distance from other planes in a "V" formation.