“Implementing recommended safety improvements that address helicopter operations can mitigate risk for thousands of pilots and passengers each year,” said NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman, referring to the recently released NTSB Safety Alert SA-031. “At this week’s Heli-Expo, we are working with HAI to increase awareness and identify voluntary action taken by key stakeholders to improve the safety of helicopter operations.”
That was no news to Metro Aviation president Mike Stanberry (Booth No. 415), who opened the Helicopter Flight Training Center in Shreveport, La., last year to provide sophisticated flight training devices, and soon, a level-D full-motion Airbus Helicopters EC145 simulator. “We have to commit to training the helicopter community in flight simulators and ridding our industry of preventable tragedies,” said Stanberry.
The Safety Alert states that through simulator training, operators can provide pilots a valuable tool to ensure proficiency in emergency procedures, including autorotations, use of NVGs, recognition of degraded visual conditions, and recovery from unusual attitudes. Consistent, standardized simulator training can augment performance on autorotations during any phase of flight, which reinforces the immediate responses required during actual emergencies. The Alert also recommends scenario-based training tailored to the mission, including NVG missions in low-light situations and site-specific training that considers obstacles and terrain; as well as degraded visual conditions, safe decision-making skills and practice with inadvertent IMC encounters.
Metro Aviation uses scenario-based training already in its program. For example, pilots training at the Helicopter Flight Training Center can expect to practice night autorotations in the simulators, with and without NVG.