A new way of learning to fly helicopters has been approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) using a Virtual Reality (VR) simulator.
EASA, VRM Switzerland and Airbus Helicopters have qualified an Airbus Helicopters H125 flight training device (FTD) Level 3 with Virtual Reality (VR) technology at Helitrans in Norway.
This training device is approved by Airbus Helicopters and meets FTD Level 3 requirements. It will be used for pilot training and will provide training credits.
The H125 virtual reality simulator is a brand new approach to training that uses virtual reality technology to make training not only more affordable for operators, but also provides a level of ‘realness’ allowing them to feel like they’re in a real H125 in all phases of flight and during emergency situations.
“Today, operators execute, as per regulation, manoeuvre-based proficiency checks mostly on real helicopters,” says Fabi Riesen, CEO of VRM Switzerland which developed the VR sim.
“With this simulator, pilots can learn more purposefully in scenario-based trainings completely without carbon emissions and at a lower cost.
“With FTD level 3 EASA qualification, this device is now approved for proficiency checks, type ratings according to EASA part FCL, and parts of an instrument rating.”
Airbus Helicopters says it is striving for zero safety incidents and, as the majority of accidents are linked to human and organisational factors, training has a major part to play in improving safety throughout the industry.
“With this type of simulator, you can put the pilot in operational situations which would be very risky in real flight but which bring a significant added value to training,” said Gilles Bruniaux, Head of Product Safety at Airbus Helicopters.
“It is true for emergency procedures but also for scenarios like flying in weather conditions that gradually deteriorate.”
David Solar, Head of General Aviation and VTOL department at EASA, added, “The EASA and Rotorcraft Industry commitment and objective back in 2018 when endorsing the Rotorcraft Safety roadmap was to have visible and concrete results within five years.
“The VRM H125 FTD qualification is one of the tangible outcomes of the Rotorcraft Safety Roadmap, paving the way for more affordable and potentially more versatile training devices that can be used for enhancing overall rotorcraft safety. It also shows that collaboration between a regulator and within industry is the best way to get all stakeholders to move forward.”