Recently I was fortunate to experience something that is probably fairly ordinary for most corporate pilots, initial type rating training at a simulator training center. I had the opportunity to complete a Citation V type rating initial course at FlightSafety International’s Long Beach, Calif., learning center. And for a pilot who hasn’t spend much time in a two-pilot cockpit environment nor flying a jet, the experience was tremendously beneficial, illuminating and hugely enjoyable.
China’s Avic International is going into the flight training business. The group announced at Airshow China 2012 yesterday that it is bringing to China a new company, Alabama-based Zulu Flight Training, to address the need for general aviation pilot training in China. Zulu Flight Training opened its first training center in the U.S. last July.
Russian Helicopters and CAE are studying the joint development of helicopter flight simulators and pilot training programs in Tomilino, near Moscow. They will also discuss the joint creation of training centers in Russia and other countries. Russian Helicopters may thus “gain access to CAE’s technologies,” while CAE in turn will “have the opportunity to promote its products for Russian-built helicopters.”
While most of the aircraft builders at NBAA build their products out of tons of aluminum or increasingly carbon fiber, one new exhibitor here builds them out of thin air. 3DVisualization Service is demonstrating its technology (Booth no. 2885), which allows customers to create a virtual aircraft and enables people to actually walk through it, long before the first metal is ever cut.
FlightSafety International’s Orlando Learning Center caters to the full range of Cessna Citation clients. Many return to the center for recurrent training while their aircraft undergo maintenance across the street at Cessna’s factory-owned and -operated regional service center.
SimCom CEO Wally David is optimistic about growth prospects for his Orlando, Fla.-based aircraft simulator training company, even though he concedes that business has been flat over the past year. “We haven’t seen much pickup in our side of the market, which includes light and midsize jet training, as well as for pistons and turboprops,” he said. “This is because of a general lack of confidence in the economy and the many unknowns, the largest of which is the uncertainty over the U.S. elections.”
Urbana, Illinois-based Frasca International has expanded its market share in China with contracts totaling eight flight simulators this year and has also developed its first level-D full-motion simulator.
FlightSafety International is revamping its classroom curricula to be more participatory and less pedagogical. The company says students learn more and faster by doing as opposed to listening to a traditional lecture. The theory is not new, but its application to typical ground school instruction, combined with high-tech training devices, is. “It’s a new approach to the way we deliver training,” said Greg McGowan, FlightSafety International (FSI) senior vice president of operations.
Western Aircraft recently built and donated a cockpit simulator to be used as a learning tool in Idaho State University’s College of Technology.
Hilton Software’s WingX Pro 7 moving-map iPad app is now integrated with the X-Plane flight simulator software, so X-Plane users can fly with WingX Pro 7 and view all of the WingX features during a simulated flight. This includes the position of the simulated aircraft depicted on WingX’s moving-map and geo-referenced approach plates. Additionally, X-Plane users can try out WingX Pro 7 features such as synthetic vision with pitch and bank, without needing a separate AHRS device.