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Monday, June 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: HUET Offers 360 Degrees of Simulation

TRAINING

The Scandinavian Safety Training Centre’s (SSTC) new MWH-6 HUET (Helicopter Underwater Emergency Trainer) capsule is capable of rotating 360 degrees around three axes. This is a substantial advance from older HUETs that had limited ranges of motion underwater, and thus were unable to provide a wide variety of submersions.

The MWH-6 can achieve this level of rotational flexibility due to its very unique design. The training capsule is essentially a large ball mounted on a support ring with a rail system. The ring system allows the ball to pitch completely forward or backwards, while the capsule’s attachments to the rail allow for completely rolling the chamber. The result for the student is adrenaline-pumping disorientation, similar to what can happen in a real ditching.

"During training the simulator settles in an upside-down (180 degrees) position," said SSTC Spokesperson Anders Henriksson. "This makes the training much more realistic, in order to simulate a real helicopter or plane crash in water."

The MWH-6’s design is based upon the Sikorsky S-76, with one sliding door and three hinged doors with jettison handles. However, the MWH-6 can be customized to simulate the cabins of Bell, Eurocopter, Agusta, Kamov, Hughes, Sikorsky and several other types of military and civil helicopters. All of the doors can be opened from the inside or out, allowing safety divers to free any students having difficulties. The MWH-6 can also perform a simulated free fall from up to 1.8 meters (six feet) altitude into the pool.

Operationally speaking, the MWH-6 body incorporates air and water tanks, which are controlled by pneumatic valves similar to those used in submarines. This allows the instructor to change the weighting of the capsule, ensuring that each simulation is different and unpredictable for the students.

To enhance safety, "The instructor inside has a panic button which, when pressed, immediately activates both light and sound signals," Henriksson said. "This will be a sign for emergency lifting. The emergency lifting usually takes two seconds." For after-course review, the MWH-6 cabin has a cockpit camera mounted inside to record HUET training sessions.

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