For the hundreds of helicopter pilots that have trained or flown with Dr. Gordon Jiroux in a Robinson R22 over his 30-plus, accident-free years as a flight instructor and the countless others in the industry who know him, the announcement that he would receive the W.A.“Dub” Blessing Award (Flight Instructor of the Year) here at Heli-Expo 2014 was probably met with the thought, “Well, it’s about time!”
Last year at Heli-Expo simulator manufacturer FlyIt Technology (Booth No. 2433) enlightened attendees about the advantages of flight simulation for helicopter training and proficiency. The display of FlyIt’s “Advanced Flight Motion System,” which replicates the feel of flying in a non-moving device, was a success. Deliveries began in July 2013, with simulators going to Russia, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala and Angola.
FlightSafety International (FSI) received approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its Embraer Legacy 500 maintenance training program on February 21. Embraer Executive Jets factory and authorized service center personnel are already receiving training on the under-development Legacy 500, and FSI will begin providing training services to operators of the new jet immediately following its certification.
FlightSafety International (Booth No. 5902) is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and already has qualified it in several level-D units and for use in other advanced training devices. FlightSafety says the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail.
While the safety and practical benefits of simulators are well known to the airline industry, they are still relatively new to civil helicopter pilots, instructors and operating companies. First, the student and instructor do not have to spend time flying to a particular place–for example, a hilly area, an offshore platform and so forth. With one click of a mouse at the instructor station, the helicopter and the crew find themselves teleported.
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.
L-3 Link Simulation & Training specializes in intelligent training solutions across civil and military fields. The company has supplied the AVCATT (aviation combined arms tactical trainer) system to the U.S. Army at 11 training sites, each suite comprising six reconfigurable simulators, a battle master control room and an after-action review theater. The system provides network-based multi-player training exercises, from basic flying to complex operational scenarios.
L-3 Link Simulation & Training (Booth U75) has announced that its operation in Crawley, U.K., has been awarded a contract by Cathay Pacific to deliver two Airbus A350 full-flight simulators, two pilot transition trainers and multiple flight management system (FMS) trainers.
Cathay Pacific will install the equipment in its flight-training center at Hong Kong International Airport. It plans full operation of all systems during the third quarter of 2015 to support A350 fleet introduction the following year.
Bombardier, FlightSafety International and Nantong Tongzhou Bay Aviation have signed a joint letter of intent to establish a training center for Q400 NextGen turboprop pilots, in preparation for the launch of Sutong Airlines in 2015. Bombardier will support planning of aircraft training, while FlightSafety will supply and operate a full flight simulator. Nantong Tongzhou Bay Aviation will support the set-up of the facility in China’s Jiangsu province, the airframer said here at the show.
High-quality flight simulation is extraordinarily expensive, and Caleb Taylor, founder of flight-training provider ProFlight in Carlsbad, Calif., believes his company has found a lower-cost and better method to help pilots learn how to fly a new jet and stay current. ProFlight specializes in Cessna CitationJet training (CE-525/CE-525S) and offers a full-motion Level D-qualified CJ3 flight simulator as well as a non-motion Level 6 CJ3 flight training device (FTD). ProFlight also offers training for the Cessna Conquest I and II turboprops.