Airbus Military will supply a Thales full-flight simulator (FFS) for the A400M Atlas airlifter to the UK Royal Air Force in spring 2014, ahead of the aircraft’s entry into RAF service in late 2014. A joint venture between Airbus Military and Thales will maintain the FFS, which will be located at RAF Brize Norton, where all 22 UK Atlas aircraft will be based.
AIN had the opportunity to fly three simulators at FlightSafety International’s Farnborough Center: the Bombardier Challenger 605, into London’s Luton Airport; the Sikorsky S-92, out to an oil platform; and the Gulfstream G550 (with its Honeywell-derived PlaneView cockpit) on the “Canarsie” approach to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport–once visually and once trying the head-up display and very impressive synthetic-vision system.
CAE executives have rushed to Farnborough from Barcelona, Spain, where the company last week inaugurated a new center for commercial aircraft pilots and cabin crew near the main operating base of Vueling Airlines, the new facility’s anchor customer. The Canada-based group also recently expanded its training network by opening a new facility in South Korea and acquiring Oxford Aviation Academy in the UK.
As Bombardier works day and night to achieve its goal of flying the first CSeries test airplane by the end of this year, its many suppliers are working just as hard to make sure they meet their goals, defined by the Canadian airframer as “delivering out-of-the-box maturity on schedule and on specification.” Training systems specialist CAE is one of those suppliers, and in fact plays a central role.
FlightSafety International’s first Gulfstream G650 flight simulator, which is based at the company’s learning center in Savannah, has been qualified by the EASA. Evaluation and qualification of the G650 simulator by the FAA is scheduled to take place later this month and be completed before the start of customer training. A second G650 simulator will be installed in Savannah in a few weeks, and a third device will be added next year at a yet-to-be-determined location.
Flight training provider CAE has expanded its network of instruction centers to 42 with the acquisition of Oxford Aviation Academy. Through the $309 million purchase, the Canadian company adds seven civil aviation training centers in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Hong Kong, in the process gaining 40 full-flight and 27 cabin-crew simulators. CAE also gains four ab initio flight academies in the U.S., UK Australia and Hong Kong equipped with 88 airplanes. Over the past 50 years, Oxford’s academies have trained more than 26,000 pilots.
Simulation technology and flight training provider CAE (Stand 468) will set up its first Asian business aviation facility in Shanghai, China later this year. The Canada-based group, which is celebrating 65 years of business in 2012, will then have eight training centers around the world.
CAE’s Dassault Falcon 7X, 900EX/EASy and 2000EX/EASy flight simulators in the U.S., UK and UAE are all now equipped with smoke-generation capability, “providing a highly realistic pilot training experience for cockpit smoke emergencies.” The smoke-generation simulation is used during initial training in conjunction with crew oxygen masks and smoke goggles, which enable the pilots to see flight instruments as well as outside the cockpit for landing despite a smoke-filled cockpit. In addition, CAE provides training for the Dassault Emergency Vision Assurance System (Evas).
German aerospace research center DLR has completed a series of flight simulator trials with a new helmet-mounted display. The testing program enlisted helicopter pilots from the German federal police, ADAC (the German Automobile Association) and German armed forces. Aimed at easing landings in poor visibility, such as brown-out or white-out conditions, the information displayed includes altitude, speed, course, attitude and obstacle situation. The device eliminates the need for pilots to constantly switch between looking outside the helicopter and checking the instrument panel.
Loss of control in flight is now the biggest cause of commercial aviation fatalities, so what can be done to teach pilots how not to lose control? Two 2009 accidents involved stalls–Colgan Air 3407 and Air France 447–yet stalls are an elementary maneuver taught early in pilot training. If stalls are such a big problem, could training later in a pilot’s career using simulators better prepare pilots to get out of a stall or impending stall?