EASA Illuminates Path to Wider AR and VR Sim Approvals

 - March 20, 2023, 12:50 PM

EASA has issued a special-information paper dealing with the validation of new generation flight simulation training devices (FSTD)—including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—that eventually paves the way for approval and use of these devices, particularly with regard to eVTOL pilot training. 

The agency notes that “existing certification specifications (so-called Primary Reference Documents (PRD)) to evaluate and qualify FSTDs for pilot training—CS-FSTD(A) issue 2 and CS-FSTD(H) Initial issue—cannot serve or not entirely serve as a qualification basis. Following a gap analysis, they have to be amended or modified by special conditions (SCs). The definition and use of SCs is a faster way to amend the existing certification specifications than an update by a standard rulemaking process.” This includes FSTD special conditions for using head-mounted displays (HMD) combined with a reduced envelope motion platform.

EASA already has evaluated and approved these devices for use in the Robinson R22 Beta II and Airbus Helicopters H125. In April 2021, EASA has granted the first certificate for a rotorcraft VR-based FSTD to VRM Switzerland (now Loft Dynamics). The FSTD is qualified as flight and navigation procedures trainer level II for the Robinson R22 Beta II. Approval for the VRM H125 device was received shortly thereafter and has proved popular with a wide variety of operators, including Helitrans and Air Zermatt.