Helicopter Training: From the Field

By Compiled by R&W Staff | November 1, 2006

Firm Offers Evaluation Tool for Flight Schools

A Fargo, N.D. company that specializes in "augmented reality" is offering a low-cost flight recording and evaluation tool to flight schools.

Appareo Systems develops portable consumer electronics combined with 3D graphics software for capturing, rendering, and even replaying "the human experience." The company has worked on augmenting reality by creating visual systems that combine actual and synthetic scenes (overlaying a topographic map on satellite imagery of terrain, for instance, or building schematics on top of a visual image of the building).


It is now applying that expertise to the flight-training market, pairing its lightweight flight recorders with its Flight Evaluator software in a tool kit aimed at letting flight instructors recreate and critique training flights in 3D. The company unveiled its $1,599 CFI Flight Debriefing Package at the recent University Aviation Assn. Fall Education Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. It includes the hardware and five software licenses.

The heart of the package is a combination sensor and recording unit that weighs about as much as a deck of cards and fits in your pocket.

The Geospatial Awareness Unit 1000 (GAU 1000) includes three gyroscopes, three accelerometers, a barometric pressure sensor and a Wide Area Augmentation System-enabled GPS (all micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS), a solid-state magnetic compass and a removable memory card that can capture 70 hr of flight data.

The WAAS-enabled GPS receiver offers improved vertical precision. The yaw, pitch, and roll accelerometers are designed to capture true g forces and angle of attack.

The sensors are designed to allow the GAU 1000 to track movement about every axis 360 deg in any direction of roll, pitch, or yaw.

The 2.5-in. GAU 1000 comes with an active or passive antenna and can be mounted almost anywhere in the aircraft, according to the company.

The FCC-approved unit is designed to track turns at rates of rotation up to 450 deg/sec. It records position, ground speed, altitude, roll, pitch, yaw, GPS fix quality, and magnetic heading. A rechargeable, lithium ion battery is designed to allow the unit to record on battery power for 3.5-4 hr.

The unit can be mounted by suction cup on a window or Velcro on the instrument panel. That allows it to be moved from aircraft to aircraft.

The offshore support company Air Logistics is working with Appareo to secure supplemental type certificate approval for installation of the GAU 1000 in Bell 206 and 407 aircraft.


Anything's Possible Expands Adds Training Staff in Houston

Anything's Possible Aviation, Inc. is expanding its operations in Houston to include a new training facility and second office location at Weiser Air Park.

The new facility will provided access to a million-dollar inventory of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters and an instructional center for both private and commercial helicopter students, according to the company. It will also serve as the new home for its centralized flight operations and sales and administrative offices.

"Over the years, we have experienced continued growth in our pilot instructional business," the company's vice president, David Lewis, said. As a result, it was necessary to procure additional space to accommodate this increased demand.

"The capability afforded by the two separate facilities will not only streamline our operations, but also bolster our efficiency," he said. "To further boost our productivity, we have increased our staff twofold, and also made a sizeable aircraft investment."

Anything's Possible Aviation, Inc. was founded several years ago and specializes in helicopter support services to oil and gas pipeline companies, motion picture and aerial photography companies, agricultural operations, and law enforcement agencies and real estate sales and development companies.

Anything's Possible Aviation's workforce provides round-the-clock support to customers operating Robinson Helicopters in North America and Central and South America.

For more information, contact Anything's Possible Aviation, call 713-806-5640 or visit


Tomlinson to Offer Training in North Carolina

Tomlinson Aviation, Inc. plans to open a satellite location in the mountains of North Carolina.

Operations are planned for the Elkin Municipal Airport at Yadkin Valley Aviation, said Neal Tomlinson, president of Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Tomlinson, which will offer flight instruction in the Schweizer 300CBi series. "We are honored to have Tomlinson Aviation select our airport," said Stephen "Sandy" Shore, owner of the Elkin Municipal Airport.

"Being a North Carolina native, I'm excited about our second location," said Tomlinson. "There is an opportunity for our students to receive mountain training and experience a different kind of flying than Florida can offer. Also, I'm hoping training in the Carolinas will open the door to students in the local area who want to fly with us, but can't get away from their jobs or other obligations for extended periods of time."

The Elkin airport is about 40 mi northwest of Winston-Salem, N.C. and offers a 4,003-ft long runway with a 1,068-ft. elevation. The airport is about 5 mi from the town of Jonesville, putting most restaurants and motels within 10 min by ground. A courtesy car is usually available by request for short trips, and car rentals can be arranged by calling a day ahead.

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