FlightSafety International is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and has already qualified it in several level-D machines and for use in other advanced training devices. Providing sharper resolution and a larger field of view, 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, says the training provider.
“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.”
Shreveport, La.-based Metro Aviation (Booth No. 415), owner of the Helicopter Flight Training Center in Shreveport, announced at Heli-Expo that Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH) is its launch customer for simulator training. AMGH and Metro signed a four-year training agreement using the EC135 level-D full-motion simulator as well as the AS350 and Bell 407 Level 7 flight training device.
Two new full-motion helicopter simulators will soon be coming online at two FlightSafety International learning centers. An Airbus Helicopters EC135 simulator is expected to be up and running at FSI’s Dallas facility, followed by a Sikorsky S-92 level-D device at the company’s São Paulo center in the third quarter.
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.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two new safety alerts at Heli-Expo 2014 covering maintenance procedures (SA-032) and simulator training (SA-031).
Aviation insurance provider USAIG (Booth No. 4907) has recently enhanced the benefits for its rotorcraft customers. Operators that insure through the company are now eligible for Performance Vector, a safety program that offers a range of programs to helicopter operators. Complimentary training includes human factors for pilots and maintenance technicians, Z-Coach sleep-enhancing strategies and tools as well as reimbursement for line service training.
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.
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