The civil helicopter industry is, at last, taking advantage of simulators in pilot training decades after the fixed-wing aircraft industry began to do so. Simulators are proliferating around the world and, after having been concentrated in the medium-twin segment, now also include light turbine singles. The emergence of rotorcraft simulators in recent years was prompted by a combination of factors: technology, cost, insurance and a realization that the industry must improve a poor safety record.
The FAA issued a rule on November 5 specifically aimed at improving advanced pilot training for Part 121 pilots. The regulation is a direct result of a U.S. Congressional mandate following the 2009 crash of Colgan Flight 3407 near Buffalo, N.Y., in which the pilots first stalled and then lost control of the aircraft on approach.
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.
SimCom and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA) have qualified a second MU-2 simulator, which is located at SimCom’s Orlando, Fla., training center. The simulator is qualified to Flight Training Device (FTD) Level 5 standards and can be used for Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) pilot training, which is mandatory for all MU-2 pilots. Under SFAR 108, MU-2 pilots must receive specific initial, recurrent and requalification training. The new simulator replicates most MU-2 models except the MU-2F and earlier.
The Singapore Airshow is Asia’s largest aviation event and one of the three most important aerospace and defense exhibitions in the world. Held biennially, it is organized and managed by Experia Events. The 2014 event, to be held at the Changi Exhibition Centre February 11 to 16, will be the fourth since it started as Singapore Airshow in 2008, under the new organizers.
More than 22,500 pilots who have trained in Helisim helicopter flight simulators since the company opened in 2000 have contributed to it reaching a 100,000-hour milestone, which was celebrated by the French company just before the 2013 Paris Air Show.
Under a memorandum of agreement signed on June 4, Rockwell Collins and Avic subsidiary Beijing Bluesky Aviation Technology will form a joint venture to design, manufacture and market commercial flight simulators. The joint venture should begin operating by the end of the year, pending a final agreement and regulatory approvals. Products offered by the venture will serve training needs for regional, narrow- and widebody airliners in China and around the world, including training devices and full-flight simulators.
The European Corporate Flight Attendant’s Committee chair Paul Milverton of Gama Aviation, Stafford, Connecticut, and vice chair David Hulme managed and moderated this year’s NBAA Cabin-Crew Symposium held here in Geneva on Monday. The symposium, sponsored by the NBAA Flight Attendants Committee, the International Subcommittee and EBAA staff, featured a program on issues relevant to business aviation cabin-crew operations and addressed topics ranging from safety and security to service and training.
In parallel with global business jet sales, pilot training activity is, for the most part, stable and growing somewhat, particularly in new markets. At the same time, flight-training providers are reporting unprecedented growth in the civil helicopter sector, with much of this being driven by a surge in demand for rotorcraft support in the booming offshore oil and gas industries, plus the deployment of new-generation helicopter simulator technology.
With the number of business jets in China steadily increasing, the country is facing a shortage of qualified pilots, with virtually all of those attending its flight academies and training schools destined for the commercial aviation sector. Operators in China use a ratio of five pilots for every business jet in operation, according to Christopher Jackson, co-founder and executive director of China-based aviation consultancy Jackson Rosenberg, who sees a need for hundreds of additional business jet pilots in the short to medium term.