Atlantis helmet sim can teach autorotation

 - March 15, 2007, 11:36 AM

Atlantis Systems International (ASI) of Ottawa, Ontario, has developed what it calls a helicopter vocational trainer for autorotation (HVT) and is demonstrating its finesse in Heli-Expo Booth No. 4401. Ian McIntyre, v-p of marketing and sales for ASI, said the HVT provides a small-footprint, completely immersive environment to train pilots in difficult maneuvers or to simulate the most dangerous landing sites. Pilots training in the HVT wear a wraparound helmet called the full-motion head-mounted display (HMD). The HMD not only changes what pilots see with each swivel of the head, but also eliminates the lost coverage in extreme corners of the flight simulation that can occur in full-screen simulators.

The initial rotorcraft types used in the HVT simulate the Bell 206B JetRanger and the AgustaWestland EH101, though the HVT will eventually cover nearly any piston, turbine or multi-engine type. ASI has extensive experience training fixed-wing pilots for Airbus, Boeing and the Canadian Forces, but the company is new to Heli-Expo and to the rotorcraft industry.

McIntyre said the HVT is not meant to replace the full-scale simulators in use at training centers, but merely to focus on the prevention of autorotation accidents as well as to equip pilots for operation into confined areas, such as those on oil rigs.
“The HVT has better fidelity because it’s a full-immersion environment, including a stereoscopic view with no blind spots,” said McIntyre. “Every move of the student’s head can also be recorded, so an instructor can see if he fixates on the instruments.” Pilots can command the cyclic while turning their heads as they might for a natural scan of the instruments and landscape. Each cyclic input and turn of the head varies the HVT instrument display and the landscape in continuous response. In concert, the simulator turns nimbly beneath the pilot to convey realistic motion.

Each training application can be reconfigured within 10 minutes. Though the HVT was initially developed for autorotation training, the system can be reconfigured to provide training for deck landings, oil-rig landings, operations to a confined area, slinging and hoisting, and low-level flight including to an area with high activity. The HVT can also provide a realistic night mission for night-vision goggle (NVG) experience.

“The pilot can ‘crash’ the HVT,” said McIntyre, adding that it fits the expectations of “the X-Box generation.” He called the HVT “low-cost” but declined to estimate its installed price, saying that each facility and application would require a custom quote.
The HVT instructor operator station offers the student’s view, a bird’s-eye view and the view outside the helicopter, along with the ability to record and replay flights as well as to insert bookmarks at key points of the simulation.