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Monday, November 1, 2010

Boeing CH-47 Chinook Trainer Unveiled

By David Jensen

Senior program manager Bonnie Berg assumes a crew position at Rockwell Collins Virtual Avionics Procedures Trainer (VAPT).
Rockwell Collins is unveiling a new cockpit procedures trainer for the Boeing CH-47 Chinook. Mark Harris, the manufacturer’s senior director of training and information solutions services, says the Chinook Virtual Avionics Procedures Trainer (VAPT) is scheduled to be operational in time for the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), held Nov. 29–Dec. 2.

The VAPT employs a modular, expandable and configurable combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, PC-based hardware and Rockwell Collins’ rehosted software. The same software the company designed for the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) in CH-47 cockpits is installed in the procedures trainers. A major benefit of multiple-use avionics software is that it allows “pilot training that is almost concurrent with the delivery of a product,” says Harris. “This was something you once weren’t able to do because you needed simulation development time. Today, we’re developing the simulation and [avionics] product in parallel.” Essentially, the VAPT offers a functioning cockpit, minus motion. An out-the-window visual system is optional. There is an instructor’s station, where scenarios and failures can be inputted.

Rockwell Collins is developing the capability for the VAPT to simulate Flight2 avionics in the Lockheed Martin C-130 and the Pro Line 21-equipped Hawker Beechcraft King Air (initially for the new Iraqi Air Force), as well as in the CAAS-equipped CH-47 Chinook. The company envisions a healthy market for VAPTs. “Operators, particularly of older aircraft, are trying to offload a lot of training in the aircraft to full flight simulators,” explains Bonnie Berg, senior program manager at Rockwell Collins. “The full flight simulators are getting overloaded, so now they’re trying to find another resource.” The VAPT could be such a resource.

The company hasn’t, as yet, named a customer for the Boeing CH-47 Chinook VAPT; however, there are several potential customers. The U.S. Army and its Special Operations Force operate CAAS-equipped Chinooks, as do several militaries outside the U.S. (From November 2010 Rotorcraft Report)

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