Elite Simulation Solutions has won U.K. Civil Aviation Authority approval of its Evolution S623 as a flight and navigation procedures trainer 2 (FNPT 2) device. The approval is to JAR-SD 3(H) standards, according to the Swiss company, which said the first U.K. unit is now in use at Norwich International Airport.
The S623 is configured to represent a single-turbine helicopter based on the Eurocopter AS350BA Squirrel. The use of an S623 to train helicopter pilots in Australia and New Zealand, where it won approval two years ago, has helped to refine the design for clearance in European Union countries, according to Elite.
The device has a four-channel, external visual system offering a 170-deg field of view and features a fully enclosed cockpit with dual pilot instruments, pedals and cyclic layout. It has full autopilot capability with a flight director and navigation coupling to both VOR and GPS and, for the latter, has a TSO C-129-certified system allowing Global Navigation Satellite System RNAV capability with an autopilot NAV coupling.
The open instructor station is at the rear of the enclosed flight deck, which is designed to have an unobstructed view of the visual scene via front windows. Hardware, such as switches and knobs, are in the same locations, similar in appearance, and offer nearly the same responses as those of the AS350BA, according to Elite. Upgrade options include a King EFS40/50, additional GPS receivers, a fully enclosed instructor’s station, and 3D models such as oil rigs.
For flight training organizations with limited space in which to install a simulator, the S623’s external footprint is compact, at only 13.1X13.1 ft (4X4m).
In England, the S623 joins Elite Evolution S812 FNPT 2 simulators that are used for fixed-wing training by Blackbushe Aviation, a Redair Flight Center at Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire, by Aeros at its Gloucestershire Airport base, and by Flightpass based at Exeter Airport.
CAE SimuFlite plans to open its newest facility, the North East Training Center in Whippany, N.J., early this year.
Located near Morristown Municipal Airport about 20 mi west of New York City, the new center is to open initially with six simulator bays, including one for an S-76, and includes room for expansion. The center will be the home of training for the new Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, as well as training for the Falcon 900EX EASy, Falcon 2000EX EASy, and Gulfstream 4.
"We and our customers are excited about the opening of the North East Training Center as we deliver on our commitment to provide high-quality, customized training in locations most convenient to our customers," said Jeff Roberts, CAE’s group president, innovation and civil training and services.
The S-76 simulator is designed to be reconfigurable between the S-76C+ and S-76B. According to CAE SimuFlite, it is the only S-76 Level D simulator to feature full-size chin windows. It is to be available for training in the first quarter.
The company set up the Northeast U.S. facility to better serve the large number of business-aviation operators in the region.
Roberts has said that if you draw a 400-500-nm circle around the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the circle would encompass a large percentage of rotorcraft registered in the United States. A preponderance of U.S.-registered helicopters are east of the Mississippi River, and many of those operate in the Northeast.
CAE SimuFlite is relocating the S-76 simulator to the new facility from its headquarters facility at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Two Florida flight training operations have joined in a new helicopter flight school targeting students in the Tampa Bay area.
Bringing together Tampa Bay Helicopters of Sarasota and fixed-wing training specialists Leading Edge Aviation, the school will be based at Leading Edge’s headquarters of Vandenberg Airport in northeast Tampa.
Previously, Tampa residents had to travel about 35 mi east to Lakeland or 60 mi south to Sarasota for helicopter training. With Tampa being a top 20 Metro Market, officials of the two schools considered it one ripe for a helicopter flight school.
"We have been approached by several helicopter flight schools in the past wanting to base here," said Mark Moberg, owner of Leading Edge Aviation and manager of Vandenberg Airport for more than 12 years. "The merger of our two schools will complement each other, and we’re happy to now offer both fixed-wing and rotor-wing flight training."
Tampa Bay Helicopters trains students in a Hiller UH-12C, which its manager, Scott Smith, called "the safest helicopter available today." Hillers have been used extensively by the military to train pilots. It not only provides a beautiful view, the company said, but can carry more weight because of its design.
The next ground school, offered at Hillsborough Community College, starts in April.