LABACE Convention News

Brazil Postpones Controversial Level-D Simulator Requirement

 - August 16, 2013, 3:00 AM
Brazilian flight training provider Efly demonstrates a locally built Marcnamara simulator at its stand. The manufacturer recently received ANAC approval for its King Air training device. (Photo: David McIntosh)

Implementation of a new Brazilian requirement mandating the use of level-D simulators for renewing privately operated business aircraft type ratings has had to be postponed until next year due to a shortage of suitable training equipment in the country. The country’s ANAC aviation authority had intended for the requirement to take effect from June 2013, and the agency has been criticized by operators and pilots for being too rigid over the requirement for full-motion simulators.

Commandant Milton Arantes Costa, president of Brazilian air taxi operators association ABTAer, told AIN that the changes to Brazilian Civil Aviation Regulation 61 impose a tougher standard than equivalent rules in other countries. “In the United States, a pilot needs just a multi-engine rating to fly a King Air. In Brazil, it’s a type rating,” he said. “The FAA requires only a level-2 simulator for a rating in a Mitsubishi MU-2, one of the most dangerous airplanes to fly, so why does ANAC require a level-D simulator to fly a King Air?”

For now, level-D simulators are in short supply in Latin America, forcing operators and their pilots to go overseas (usually to the U.S.) for expensive and time-consuming training. Some companies present at LABACE are offering lower-cost alternatives to full-flight devices.

Brazilian company Efly (Stand 1009) is demonstrating a simulator made in the city of Americana by local manufacturer Marcnamara. It has been on the market for five years. According to company engineer Marcelo Mancini, the company is now producing three simulators each month and has just added a King Air device to the five other aircraft types already approved for use by ANAC. Mancini told AIN that Efly can incorporate programs covering training for specific private landing sites in Brazil.

Meanwhile, aviation students lined up outside a Redbird simulator belonging to the Sorocaba Aeroclube, on display at the Cirrus chalet.“A school can’t spend millions on a simulator,” Blue Air representative Mario Rozas told AIN. “The Redbird’s motion is an electric rather than hydraulic system, which helps keep the price more accessible to schools,” he added. Four of the Redbirds are installed at schools in Brazil, Rozas said, with another two purchased by a private individual.

However, Líder Aviation, which represents CAE for business aviation in Brazil, has a different perspective on the simulator requirement. “ANAC puts safety ahead of everything,” said Líder CAE SimuFlite sales executive Camila Costa Santos. “Only in a [full-flight] simulator can some kinds of failures be safely tested.”

This view is diametrically opposed to that of Simcom (Stand 3014), which is extolling the virtues of lower-cost training in fixed-based simulators, and points to research showing the alleged negative training effects full-motion simulation can have on the grounds that it cannot fully replicate actual aircraft movement and acceleration.

Another proponent of the latter view can be found in south-central Brazil. In June, AIN visited the Pontifical Catholic University in Goiânia, where the aviation sciences school is serving as test ground for a simulator being produced by a consortium of São Paulo companies. Two simulators are being refined, one for a Cessna Caravan and the other an Airbus A320. While the simulator was fixed-base and the cockpit stylized without glass in the windows, “the control panel is accurate within half a centimetre,” according to engineer Kornel Ori-Kovaks.

The A320 simulator is powered by eight computers running Windows, the most powerful being 3.5 GHz. The computers are almost off the shelf, except for a custom card with 64 digital and 14 analog I/O ports. Similarly, the pilots’ seats are automotive rather than aeronautic. The cost of the simulator, however, is “two orders of magnitude less than a CAE simulator,” accordingto Ori-Kovaks.