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).
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.
Shreveport, La.-based Metro Aviation (Booth No. 415) had more than completions to announce at Heli-Expo 2014. The multifaceted business recently completed for the EC135 a single-pilot IFR digital cockpit supplemental type certificate (STC) that incorporates Garmin GTN 650/750 touchscreen technology and ADS-B to create a cockpit ready for 2020, when all aircraft flying in the U.S. will be required to have ADS-B OUT capability. FAA, Garmin (Booth No. 2427) and Metro Aviation representatives are at the Metro Aviation booth throughout Heli-Expo to talk about the STC.
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.
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.
CAE has been named by Dassault as the exclusive training provider for the recently launched Falcon 5X. The agreement, announced yesterday, covers advanced pilot, maintenance and cabin crew training for the new long-range twinjet. CAE has developed the first full-flight simulators for more than 40 new aircraft from 16 manufacturers. The Montreal-based company declined to say when it will deliver the first pair of simulators for the $40+ million 5X, which is expected to fly next year and enter service in 2017.
Airbus Helicopters (née Eurocopter) CEO Guillaume Faury announced today that the EC175 medium twin “successfully completed the EASA certification process yesterday” and the type certificate is to be issued in the coming days. (On Twitter, the EASA rather described the milestone as the “completion of the technical process” and said the type certificate will be handed over in the first quarter.) Fifteen EC175s are on the final assembly line, he said, speaking at the company’s annual press conference in Paris.
A busy couple of weeks for the executives heading Boeing’s 777X production site search perhaps overshadowed other significant developments, including an announcement last week that the company will help build a new full-service training facility in Russia and the revelation of plans to restructure its research and technology organization (BR&T) through the establishment of research centers in Alabama, California, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington state.
Dassault pilots performed the first “simulated flight” of the Falcon 5X on November 13, providing insight into how the business jet will behave in flight. The Falcon “simulation bench” is closer to a flight simulator than an iron bird, according to Dassault.