FlightSafety International is beginning to install the second generation of flight-visualization debriefing software in its fleet of more than 200 simulators worldwide. The training services company bought the debriefing program FlightViz from Boulder, Colorado-based SimAuthor in late 2001 for use with its simulators. The program, a display of which is shown here for the AH-64D Apache, presents data from a flight as perspectives from within and outside the cockpit. An instructor can mark portions of a training flight for replay during the flight, then go directly to those portions during the debrief. FlightSafety has since improved upon the program and is offering it as the SimVu visualization upgrade in all new simulators, including the Sikorsky S-92 simulator being checked out at its West Palm Beach, Florida center. It also is being retrofitted in existing simulators.
L.A. Pilots Transition to Firehawk
Bell 212 pilots from the Los Angeles County Fire Department are undergoing transition training to fly that department's Sikorsky S-70 Fire Hawk aircraft, using the S-70/UH-60 Black Hawk full-flight simulator at FlightSafety International's center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The county received its third Fire Hawk, the firefighting/medevac version of the Black Hawk. The simulator received FAA Level-D approval in January, which certifies it as capable of accurately replicating all-weather, all-mission flying (including the use of night-vision goggles). It uses a VITAL-9 visual system with high-definition displays and naturally textured scenes. FlightSafety has a second Black Hawk full-flight simulator at its Daleville Training Center, adjacent to Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Frasca Training Device Gets Level-3 Ticket
The FAA has given Level-3 certification to a Frasca International Helicopter Flight Training Device owned by Petroleum Helicopters Inc., which Frasca said makes it the first Level 3-certified helicopter flight training device in the world. The unit simulates a medium, twin-engine rotary-wing class of aircraft, such as the Bell 412. Level-3 certification means credit can be granted to students for training and checks on all items under FAA Practical Test Standards, and for special procedures such as OSAP and GPS approaches. The device uses electric control loading and has a graphical instructor's station, plus Frasca's FVS-200TX with custom visual database and TruVision 220 visual display system. Lafayette, Louisiana-based PHI also operates Level-1 flight training devices for the Bell 206 and Bell 407.
Whirly-Girls International has selected nine members to receive scholarships worth $40,490 of helicopter flight training. The winners include:
- Terri Watson, an EMS pilot for CJ Systems Aviation, whose scholarship was provided by American Eurocopter and will allow her to attend an AS350 transition course.
- Patricia Boyer, a teacher director for Head Start in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, will use a scholarship provided by Bell Helicopter Textron to attend the Bell 206 transition course.
- Angela Wittenberg, an aviation operations specialist for the Alaska Fire Service/Bureau of Land Management, will use $4,500 provided by the Doris Mullen Flight Training Scholarship for recurrent training and an instrument add-on to her commercial helicopter rating.
- Lisa Pendergrass has received $2,500 from the Esther Gardiner Memorial Scholarship for recurrency training leading to a commercial and CFI rating.
- Pam Gallina, an FAA aviation safety inspector, will receive an 18-hr. refresher course from Flight Safety International.
- Patricia Calder of Wuppertal, Germany has received the International Whirly-Girls Helicopter Flight Training Scholarship that provides $4,500 for a non-U.S.-licensed female pilot to allow her to obtain an helicopter add-on rating or upgrade her current helicopter rating. Calder is currently a flight attendant with Lufthansa.
- Melanie Real, a teacher and site coordinator for Harbor Community Adult School in San Pedro, California, has received the Robinson Safety Course Scholarship that will allow her to attend the Robinson R22/R44 Safety Course.
- Cathy Yelle received the Vortex Flight Training Scholarship, providing up to $3,000 toward recurrency or an advanced rating at the Vortex facility in Long Beach, Mississippi. Yelle owns Yankee Helicopters.
- Danielle Smiley has received the Whirly-Girls Helicopter Flight Training Scholarship providing $4,500 for a helicopter add-on rating. Smiley, currently a fixed-wing pilot and First Officer on a Jetstream 31 with Paladin Advanced Air Ambulance in Vancouver, Canada, will use it to get her helicopter rating to become a helicopter air ambulance pilot.
Bond Advances Use of Flight Training Devices
Bond Air Services has awarded cueSim a contract for a full-motion, six-axis Flight Training Device (FTD) for use in training crews on the latest Eurocopter EC135s. Bond is acquiring 15 EC135s for police and air ambulance support and other operations. Nine of the aircraft have been delivered. The training will be installed in a purpose-built facility at the company's headquarters at Staverton Airport in Gloucestershire, the U.K. The $2-million project is slated to be online early next year. The device will be used in training Bond's own pilots, emergency services' personnel and third-party pilots from Britain and overseas for instrument ratings, type conversion and recurrent training, as well as emergency procedures that cannot be practiced in-flight. The visual database, tailored to Bond's requirements, will make extensive use of digital photo imagery from aerial photography, supporting low-level training tasks and visual navigation. The U.K.'s largest onshore helicopter company, Bond operates a fleet of 21 twin-engine helicopters from 16 fixed bases throughout the country. CueSim is a subsidiary of QinetiQ, a major European science and technology organization.
Israeli Firm Wins Uzbekistan Simulator Work
Elbit Systems of Israel is developing full-mission/full-motion flight simulators for the Uzbekistan Air Force Mil Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters under a two-year, $6.5-million contract. The simulators will be used to train crews as part of a high-priority project to enhance border security and ensure continued support to the multi-national Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
'Little Bird' Visits CAE in Tampa
An AH/MH-6A from the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) visited CAE Military Simulation and Training factory in Tampa, Florida in mid-December 2003 to allow engineers to test and evaluate the aircraft. CAE is building what is billed as the world's first combat mission simulator for the Little Bird. CAE also is developing a combat mission simulator for the MH-47G Chinook Special Forces aircraft and is refurbishing such a simulator for the MH-60K Black Hawk. The contracts for that work cover development of MH-47 and MH-60 desktop and part-task trainers based on CAE Simfinity technology for the 160th SOAR(A). The MH-47G and MH-60K combat mission simulators will include the common avionics architecture system designed to give Army's special operations helicopters a common avionics capability. They also will feature the CAE Medallion-S image generator and a large field-of-view display system, as well as the ability to simulate flight of aircraft with "doors off."