In summer 2005 the German army starts to use flight simulators as a primary training tool for basic copter training.
Approx. 70% of all VFR/IFR flights will be executed in state-of-the-art `full mission simulators´(EC135).
Any thoughts about that?
4th Jan 2005, 13:35
Simulation has got to be the way forward. Fixed wing were there years ago. However it depends on the quality of the simulator.
OK, the military are not bound by JAR rules, but must be looking at the equivalent of at least FS Level C.
Depending upon the type of sim, 70% may well be right. However helicopter simulation will never achieve Zero hour status unless money is thrown at the visual system to produce not only instant visual reaction but a 6 to 10 feet focal length. (F/W set at infinity)
There are many helicopter exercises that can only be taught in an aircraft in flight. The role of the simulator is unbeatable for teaching systems operation, normal abnormal and emergency procedures, crew cooperation, etc. etc. etc.
The potential for cost savings is immense. All you need is an instructor and student, a Sim and the power to run it - 24 / 7. No a/c serviceability, ATC or Met worries. And the trainee can kill him/herself when getting it wrong. The instructor just presses "reset" and says, "Shall we try that again?"
Of course, there are excellent helicopter simulators working in the civil sector where the same principles apply. The problem is that the best ones cover larger types (AS332 / S61 and, if you don't mind going to Florida, S76).
What we need to do is press the Aviation Authorities to recognise the value of generic training, certainly for issue of the initial Instrument Rating, where experience gained on one specific type will be carried across to others.
Now, maybe, that will start another thread.
4th Jan 2005, 14:13
Helicopter flying - at least the basics, can be taught in a simulator if it has good visuals and a good mathematical model of the machine.
The visuals need to have lots of vertical cues (signs, posts, trees, fences, buildings), as opposed to just 'texture' (i.e. grass).
It also takes a lateral thinking instructor to make the simulator a good teaching tool.
We don't have much experience doing this, because until recently, we haven't had the tools to even start thinking of it.
4th Jan 2005, 14:24
Be wary about saying that the military are not bound by JAA rules because in Germany NO military rules exist. The military guys must fly to full JAA rules and regs and that includes the training.
The training incidentally will take place at Buckeburg in Germany where the EC 135 is replacing the BO 105 and full VFR/IFR training for the new military pilot intakes will be conduced there. Excellent facilities with excellent instructors!!
4th Jan 2005, 16:10
I must be old.
Although no one can make a cogent arguement why simulators can not be used for a great majority of training, it certainly takes the fun out of it.
4th Jan 2005, 16:31
Diethelm, I'm with you - unfortunately all the bean counters can see is the bottom line and simulators are good for some training.
The problem is that once they see that some training can be done in the sim they are inevitably drawn to saving more and more money without realising they are degrading the quality of that training.
To get an accurate replication of a particular helciopter you need good accurate data from a real model of that helicopter actually flying the manoeuvres you want to teach in the sim. Sadly most sims are based on generic helicopter models and therefore never reproduce the subtleties of handling that the pilot needs to learn to fly the real helicopter properly.
Factor in the graphics which are expensive and really need to be top notch if you are to teach hover manoeuvres, confined areas, sloping ground etc and getting a really good sim will cost mega-bucks, especially if you want day and night facility. Instead people accept compromises in graphics and handling and the result is a lot of hours spent in something that is 'not like the real thing'.
The worst element of sim flying is that people (often the sim instructors) believe if something can be done in the sim then the real aircraft will be able to do it as well instead of accepting the limitations of their pride and joy simulator. This is particularly dangerous when considering TR malfunctions and the like which will never have had the telemetry data of a real aircraft fed in. Pilots see a recovery from a 500' hover TR failure in the sim by raising the lever to climb and flying away from 1000' and believe that will work in the real world.