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.
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ProFlight founder Caleb Taylor believes that there are better ways to train pilots and he isn’t afraid to try new techniques to help new and existing CitationJet pilots learn how to fly safely. “Everyone trains to pass the checkride,” he said. “We don’t do it that way. We go into every aspect of flying this airplane.”
Implementation of a new Brazilian requirement mandating the use of level-D simulators for renewing privately operated business aircraft type ratings has had to be postponed until next year due to a shortage of suitable training equipment in the country.
Why all the growing interest in low-cost flight simulators?
Some announcements at this week’s Sun ‘n Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., for example, underscore wannabe and regular pilots’ fascination with these devices. Redbird Flight Simulations introduced its new low-cost Jay device, which, while it can’t be used to log time, promises to help pilots stay proficient. And Pilot Mall today unveiled the Advanced Panel, which is a modular instrument panel with flight and other controls that works with Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) software.
Pilot Mall’s new user-configurable instrument panel for table-top basic flight training devices is making its public debut this week behind Hangar B at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla. The Flight Training Cockpit–Advanced Panel, brainchild of Pilot Mall president Neil Glazer and Michael Moore of Coldwater, Ontario-based Redfab, is designed to work with Microsoft Flight Sim on a PC platform. It uses Saitek ProFlite instruments, avionics and flight controls in a 21- by 31-inch metal instrument panel with pop-out cutouts.
A new device developed by Redbird Simulations and Bad Elf connects Apple iPads to flight simulators, allowing pilots to use iPad moving-map apps while flying the simulator. The new Cygnus device allows pilots to fly with iPads using simulators just as they would in the airplane.
“There are risks when using new technology,” said John King, co-chairman of King Schools, which develops training courses and also sells Redbird simulators. “You ought to have standard operating procedures [when using iPads] before getting into the airplane. And this should be part of training.”
Marignane, France-based Helisim has started operating the first EC 225 Super Puma flight simulator, which was to be EASA certified as a level-D simulator late last month. The company, a joint venture among Eurocopter, Thales and DCI, is positioning itself to meet demand for simulator training as the world’s helicopter fleet grows. Some 80 percent of Helisim’s civil customers are offshore-oil transport operators.
“What makes our system unique is that it is based on a simple personal computer network that ties all of the components together,” Mike Altman, CEO of Mather, Calif.-based Precision Flight Controls, told AIN. “That allows it to be a cost-effective jet trainer. Depending on the exact configuration, the price ranges from about $125,000 to $150,000.”
With two major players in the field of simulator training for business aviation, competition for a larger share of the market is a constant, and innovation has driven both CAE SimuFlite and FlightSafety International to seek the advantage by continually upgrading and improving their respective curricula and systems.
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