Military, Products, Training

Helicopter Training News

By Staff Writer | February 1, 2011
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Sikorsky Uncovers CH-53K Virtual Reality Center

Sikorsky’s new “virtual reality” center in Stratford, Conn. will help designers address assembly and maintenance issues for the CH-53K.

Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft has opened a new 3D “virtual reality” center for the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K. Situated within engineering labs at the company’s primary facility in Stratford, the center will incorporate 12 cameras, a head-mounted display, gloves, a gripping tool and software linked to three computers that will make up the “command center” to control the system.


Dr. Michael Torok, vice president and chief engineer for U.S. Marine Corps programs, notes that the center will allow “the team to find production and maintenance issues that typically only could be found during the initial build of the aircraft.” This will save time and money during the design process, he adds. Mike Miller, vice president of research and engineering, says that designers “will no longer have to rely on their imaginations to understand assembly and maintenance issues,” instead being able to “experience them long before parts are fabricated.” Sikorsky received a $3-billion SDD contract in April 2006 to develop the CH-53K, which is a heavy lift replacement for the Marine Corps’ CH-53E.

CAE to Take Over CHC Training

U.S. Army Helicopter Overwater Survival Training (HOST) water survival instructor Bob Wood teaches breathing techniques using a scuba apparatus to WO1 Jason Sargent, 2nd Lt. Sarah Brakefield and WO1 Clint Moore during HOST training.

CHC Helicopter has reached an agreement to transfer all of its rotorcraft flight training operations to Montreal-based CAE. The deal includes four CHC full flight simulators in Canada, Norway and the UK. The long-term partnership involves CAE providing general courses, pilot provisioning and search and rescue training to more than 2,000 CHC helicopter pilots and maintenance personnel.

The simulators involved in the transaction are a Eurocopter AS332L/L1 Super Puma and Sikorsky S-61 based in Stavanger, Norway, an AS332L2 in Aberdeen, UK and a Sikorsky S-76 in Vancouver, B.C. They will compliment CAE simulators in the Middle East (Emirates-CAE Bell 412 in Dubai), Europe (Rotorsim AgustaWestland AW109 and AW139) and North America (Sikorsky S-76C+ and S-76B in Morristown, N.J. and AW139 through Rotorsim). CAE also plans to launch Bell 412 training in Mexico and India, with joint venture partner Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Barco Sims to Train Germans

CAE and Germany’s defense procurement agency, BWB, have chosen Barco simulators to train students at the Army Aviation School in Buckeburg, Germany. Under the deal, Barco will upgrade 11 helicopter simulators with a total of 88 Sim 7 high-resolution projectors. The school is responsible for training German Armed Forces helicopter pilots. The facility houses eight Eurocopter EC135, two Bell UH-1D and two Sikorsky CH-53 simulators. CAE Germany received a related contract to upgrade the visual display systems for the CAE-built simulators.

FAA Pilots Train on Leading Edge

Bend, Ore.-based Leading Edge Aviation (LEA) has won a contract to train FAA aircraft certification and instructor pilots. The agreement calls for LEA to supply helicopter pilot training for Flight Standards Operational inspectors and Aircraft Certification pilots. Courses will include ground and flight training on various types, including the Bell 206B3 and Robinson R44, as well as instrument flight, turbine transition training, SOPs and emergency response. President Brad Fraley notes that LEA will train FAA pilots “in every aspect of helicopter flight, from primary through advanced.” LEA operates a fleet of R22s, R44s and Bell 206s at its flight school in Bend.

Enflite AS9100B Certified

Georgetown, Texas-based Enflite has obtained AS9100B certification. The division of LifePort completed an audit that also resulted in the upgrade of its existing ISO9002:2008 certificate to ISO9001:2008. LifePort is a unit of Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS).

Air Methods Gains SMS Level 2

FAA has granted Level 2 exit status for Air Methods’ safety management system (SMS) program. The designation signifies that the HEMS operator has completed Level 2 under FAA Advisory Circular 120-92. Air Methods becomes the first helicopter operator to exit Levels 1 and 2, and is one of eight operators (including major U.S. commercial airlines) to achieve Level 2 status.

Utah Police First AS350 Sim Trainees

Utah Highway Patrol Aero Bureau pilots and crew have completed training in Eurocopter’s new AS350 flight and mission simulator. Shown here is one of the bureau’s AS350B2s during a 2009 mountaintop rescue operation.

American Eurocopter has completed course work for the inaugural customer of its new AS350 flight and mission simulator—Utah Highway Patrol’s Aero Bureau. Capt. Steve Rugg, Aero Bureau pilots and crew members trained on the device, which offers a variety of mission-specific applications, including airborne law enforcement, NVG, crew resource management (CRM) and helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) training.

The simulator can convert from an AS350B2 to an AS350B3 and features a full-motion platform, full cabin, autopilot, moving map, FLIR Star Safire II and Spectrolab SX-16 searchlight. Rugg notes that the bureau plans to “work the AS350 simulator into the mix for our training programs, because we can train in the simulator in ways that we could not do in an actual aircraft.”

He adds that the response from the simulator “was a lot like the real aircraft and with the realistic environments, we were able to practice our emergency procedures in actual mission scenarios.” The unit flies two AS350B2s in support of the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Bell T-407 Trainers Arrive in Iraq

Iraq’s Army Aviation Command has received three new Bell T-407s. The helicopters will train Iraqi Army pilots leading up to the delivery of EADS Armed Scout Helicopters by the end of 2011. Describing the handover to Camp Taji as a “landmark occasion” for the Iraqi government, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Hanson added that the T-407s are “critical to building a modern, dependable capability” in the Iraq Army Aviation Command. Hanson is director of Iraq training and advisory mission-Air Force, and commander of the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing. Iraq’s Army currently has two recently qualified instructor pilots, who will work with U.S. counterparts to establish training courses for the Armed Scout Helicopter program.

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