|Maj. Gen. Pittaya Krachangwong and a group of Thai Army pilots evaluated the Enstrom 480B during an October 2009 visit to the manufacturer’s plant in Menominee, Mich. Enstrom Helicopter Corp.|
Two national defense forces have chosen the Enstrom Helicopter 480B to train pilots. The Japanese Ground Self Defense Force has ordered a total of 30 Enstrom 480Bs, with deliveries scheduled to start this year and run through 2014. In a separate deal, Enstrom will supply 16 training-configured 480Bs to the Royal Thai Army. Representatives from the country’s military visited the Enstrom plant in October 2009. Maj. Gen. Pittaya Krachangwong and three pilots flew the 480B, as well as the piston F28F. Both contracts resulted from a competitive bid process. Blake & DeJong’s David Blake, Enstrom managing representative in Asia, describes the JGSDF bidding and selection process as “extremely rigorous. To be chosen after such an exhausting review really shows that Enstrom and the 480B are serious contenders for military training aircraft.”
The new CAE 3000 Series simulator offers realism for helicopter-specific mission training, including offshore, EMS, law enforcement, long line, high-altitude, corporate/VIP and other operations. CAE says the new series, which will enter service in summer 2010, results from the company’s simulator experience and helicopter training expertise, as well as input from its Helicopter Advisory Board (which includes pilots, operators, manufacturers and insurers). All CAE 3000 Series mission simulators feature a Tropos-6000 visual system with high-definition commercial off-the-shelf projectors, up to a 220-degree horizontal by 80-degree vertical field of view, direct projection dome with chin window coverage, and high-resolution databases tailored to helicopter training.
The 3000 Series is the first to incorporate artificially intelligent human form and moving vehicle dynamic simulation for civil helicopter training tasks and mission scenarios. When Rotor & Wing took a 3000 Series demo flight at Heli-Expo, we watched the power lines go by while approaching a roadside accident site, we saw the crowds disperse while landing and watched as the paramedic came around with a stretcher and loaded a patient in the back. We also got a good view of an oil platform and could see the rusty paint on the platform as well as the platform workers milling about the landing pad prior to our arrival. As we got closer, the workers ran to clear the pad. The chin bubble view was tremendously helpful in hover and landing scenarios.
Eurocopter’s pilot assistance system (PILAS) demonstration simulator was a popular stop at this year’s Heli-Expo. Set up inside the Eurocopter booth, the trainer featured flight guidance and mission information on two screens—a PFD and navigation management display (NMD)—that use aerial photos mapped on a digital elevation model. After receiving a mission, PILAS creates “tunnel-in-the-sky” symbology specifically tailored to helicopter operations. The simulator also monitors all potential hazards while flying, including deteriorating weather and air traffic conflicts, and quickly proposes an alternate route. Stephan Haisch, project manager of Mission Systems & Research for Eurocopter’s Commercial & Research division, explained various aspects of PILAS to Rotor & Wing on Feb. 23, conducting a HEMS demo. See the video of Haisch at Rotor & Wing’s Heli-Expo Video Archive: www.aviationtoday.com/rw/heliexpo2010/videoarchive/
Flight and racing simulator specialist HotSeat Chassis of Terryville, Conn. is offering a new lost-cost helicopter trainer that is easy to use. The HotSeat Heli Sim allows operators to practice techniques such as hovering, takeoffs and landings, and other maneuvers in the cockpit. Built around a steel tubular frame, Heli Sim comes with Flight Link Cyclic III Plus, a collective with throttle, foot pedals, six-speaker 5.1 surround sound and a flatscreen display. It runs Microsoft Flight Simulator X as well
as applications from other software companies.
HotSeat Chassis recently sent a demo unit to Rotor & Wing’s offices in Rockville, Md. Editor-at-Large Ernie Stephens, who is a helicopter pilot with the Maryland State Police, took the simulator through a variety of scenarios. Keep an eye out for more about the HotSeat Chassis Heli Sim in next month’s issue.
The U.S. Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) recently finished a five-day mountain flying and pre-deployment course with SRT Helicopters of Bakersfield, Calif. Pilots studied the effects of altitude on pilot and aircraft performance, flight techniques, mountain procedures and weather patterns. CAB pilots averaged 2.4 hours of training per day, starting at 3,000 feet and conducting numerous approaches to 10,000 feet.
The Kingdom of Bahrain has purchased a Rockwell Collins Transportable Blackhawk Operations Simulator (T-BOS) for UH-60M training. The foreign military sale was conducted through the U.S. Army’s Utility Helicopter Project Office. It marks the second international sale of T-BOS, as Rockwell Collins plans to deliver a T-BOS unit to the United Arab Emirates in early 2010.
FlightSafety International displayed its new Vital X visual system, which is specifically designed for helicopter operators, at Heli-Expo. George Ferito, director of rotorcraft business development, explains that visitors were able to use Vital X in various scenarios, including EMS, offshore, law enforcement and newsgathering roles. Among the features of the simulator are detailed scenery including mountains, accident scenes, airports and hospital helipads. Vital X also provides obstacles such as power lines, trees and bridges, as well as a complete oil rig with surrounding water animations. Rick Armstrong, vice president of simulation, said that FSI consulted with helicopter operators from various segments to create the simulator, which also features the Vital AccuView glass mirror optical system.
Meanwhile, FSI announced that its Eurocopter EC135B2 flight training device (FTD), which is qualified to Level D, will enter service in late 2010 at the Learning Center in Lafayette, La. FlightSafety designed the EC135 trainer with Frasca International.