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Sunday, May 1, 2005

From The Field

News Briefs

Company Developing Robinson Simulator

Merlin Simulation, Inc. is refining a flight-training device designed for instruction of Robinson R22 and R44 pilots. The Falls Church, Va.-based company is enhancing the device to include an enhanced, 180-deg. field-of-view visual system. At present, the device is configured for the Robinson R22. The device's instrument panel is convertible to an IFR instrument layout. Merlin President Ken Zimmerman said the company is developing the simulator independently, but that a number of larger schools have shown interest in the product as a tool for their ab initio pilot training programs.

Embry-Riddle Offers Helicopter Minor

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Ariz. campus is offering courses aimed at a Helicopter Flight Minor, which may be used towards a four-year bachelor's degree. The program consists of three ground schools designed to prepare students for the FAA helicopter pilot written exam. Additional classes in aeronautical science, aviation safety and meteorology are also offered. To complete the minor, students must first obtain their helicopter pilot's license from a FAA approved Part 141-helicopter flight school. Advanced college credit is awarded for each helicopter pilot certificate earned.

In addition to the minor, a degree program can be built around existing flight hours as a helicopter pilot and/or an A&P mechanic. As many as 36 semester hours of credit can be awarded based on helicopter experience and training, with all of it applied towards a bachelor of science degree in aeronautics. More than 30 students have enrolled in the program. Post-graduation employment stands at 100 percent, according to Embry-Riddle.

Bond Makes EC135 Simulator Available

Bond Air Services, a leading British onshore helicopter company, with a fleet of 21 twin-engine rotorcraft, is taking advanced bookings on its soon-to-be-delivered Eurocopter EC135 full-motion, six-axis flight-training device. The Level 3 FTD, manufactured by cueSim, is designed to meet U.K. Civil Aeronautics Authority and new European Joint Airworthiness Authorities requirements. The device will be used to train Bond's pilots as well as those from other British and overseas operators. At present, Bond operates 10 EC135s and has five on order. The EC135s support Bond's police and air ambulance operations.

CAE To Build Another Special-Ops Trainer

CAE USA is to build an MH-60 Black Hawk Block 1 combat mission simulator for the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment-Airborne (SOAR(A)) under a $26-million contract. The simulator will support training and mission rehearsal for both of the 160th's MH-60 variants. The unit operates the MH-60K, highly modified for special operations missions such as infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply, and the armed MH-60L. The Tampa, Fla.-based company already is under contract to build combat mission simulators for the A/MH-6 Little Bird and the MH-47G CMS scheduled for spring 2006. The Little Bird sim is due for delivery by the middle of this year. The MH-47G sim is scheduled for delivery early next year, with the MH-60 unit to follow in late 2006.

Instructors Order Frasca TruFlite Hs

Frasca International, Inc. is booking sales of its TruFlite H Helicopter flight-training device, which is configured to represent a light single, piston-powered helicopter. South African operator Hover Dynamics has ordered one configured for the Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. UND Aerospace, part of the University of North Dakota, and the New York Police Dept. have also ordered the device, which can be configured to simulate Schweizer helicopters and turbine models as well. The TruFlite H cockpit includes a large, LCD flat screen onto which the instruments may be displayed.

Consortium to Train German NH90 Crews

The Helicopter Flight Training Services GmbH consortium will train Germany military's NH90 pilots under a private-finance initiative program. The Hallbergmoos, Germany-based consortium was founded and is owned in equal parts by CAE, Eurocopter, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics and Thales. During an initial phase of the program, valued at $630 million to the consortium, Helicopter Flight Training Services will develop and built four NH90 full-mission simulators for training centers in Buckeburg, Fassberg and Holzdorf, Germany. The consortium is to put the centers and sims in operation by mid-2008 and operate for 14.5 years. The consortium is to deliver turnkey training services to NH90 aircrews, for which the German government will pay an hourly rate. The consortium will have the ability to market training services to other nations procuring the NH90.The NH90 is the largest helicopter program launched in Europe. Program partners include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. Finland, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Oman and Australia have ordered the NH90. The German Army is to begin receiving NH90s this year.

FlightSafety's S-92 Sim Busy on the Struts

The new Level D Sikorsky S-92 helicopter simulator is getting quite a workout at FlightSafety International's West Palm Beach, Fla., Learning Center since receiving FAA approval in December 2004. At present, the facility trains six S-92 pilots a month for the initial full-service course, according to Tom Weaver, FlightSafety`s program manager for the S-92 and S-70. Customers include Norwegian operator Norsk Helicopter, which operates the S-92 in the North Sea; PHI, which operates two S-92s in the Gulf of Mexico; pharmaceutical maker Pfizer; and Stansted, London-based Air Harrods. New clients will include operators from Turkey and Washington Times Aviation. Assistant Center Manager Julie Goodrich said FlightSafety has discussed adding an additional S-92 Level "D" simulator as well as one for the recently certified Bell/Agusta AB139. The S-92 simulator is equipped with the VITAL-9 five-channel visual system, which covers 220 deg. horizontally and 60 deg. vertically. The simulator incorporates digital map displays and enhanced ground proximity warning, traffic/collision avoidance and dual flight management systems. It is the world's first full-flight simulator for the S-92.

UND Aerospace Aircraft For New Students

Grand Forks, N.D.-based UND Aerospace has acquired an additional Bell 206 and Schweizer 300C to handle the substantial increase in students seeking helicopter training that are enrolled in UND's Reserve Officer Training Corps program as well as cadets from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. For the third year, UND Aerospace will provide four weeks of helicopter training for 40 West Point cadets, through which students earn a student's pilot certificate. The initiative, first established in 2004 between the school and the academy, has been so successful that West Point may double the number of students it sends to UND for helicopter training, according to the school.

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