Flyit Simulators of Carlsbad, Calif., (Static No. 9) delivered two helicopter simulators to customers at Heli-Expo on Sunday.
Florida Coast to Coast Helicopters of Pompano Beach took possession of a Standard Professional Helicopter Simulator, capable of simulating six different rotorcraft, and Memphis-based medical transport company Hospital Wing took delivery of a cockpit-specific simulator for a Eurocopter AS350B3. Flyit’s standard simulators cost about $140,000 while customized or cockpit-specific models are priced at about $150,000, including a trailer classroom for transporting and operating the simulator.
Though the simulators are technically Level 1, the FAA recognizes Flyit’s all-digital helicopter simulators as Level 3, allowing students to log 7.5 hours of initial flight training time–long enough to teach most students to hover–instead of the 2.5 hours of initial training that can be logged in a Level 1 simulator. Flyit expects that its simulators will be eligible to be certified as Level 7 simulators by the end of this year, subject to local FSDO approval, according to the company.
The prototype simulator was designed and developed under a Department of Defense (DOD) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract for the U.S. Army’s aeromedical lab at Fort Rucker, Ala. The simulator was created for use on a shake table to measure head loads imposed on helicopter pilots by helmet-mounted optical sighting devices in turbulent flight conditions. SBIR contracts require companies to make efforts to commercialize the technology the DOD pays them to develop. In 2000 Flyit first attended Heli-Expo and garnered four orders. “Those orders made us leave the consulting business we’d been in, and there’s been no looking back since,” said Flyit chairman Terry Simpkins.
About 120 Flyit simulators, both helicopter and fixed wing, have been sold around the world. Last year 60 percent of sales were outside the U.S, Simpkins said.
The Standard model can be configured as a simulator for Robinson R22 and R44 models, Bell 206 JetRanger, Schweizer/Sikorsky S-300, Enstrom FX280 and MD Helicopters MD500. An interchangeable single-piece dual-pilot cyclic can be interchanged with the standard controls to mimic the Robinson-style cyclic .
A worldwide database is included with the simulator, enabling users to “fly around the world” in the simulator, with large screens in front and on either side of the full-sized cockpit displaying the company’s advanced ground reference out-the-window view. Flyit also supplies scenario-based training software, enabling trainees to practice missions such as EMS and SAR flights.
Flyit will reimburse prospective buyers who come to Carlsbad for a demonstration for their travel expenses, if they purchase a simulator, and the company provides free upgrades when the system software undergoes significant enhancements.