The New Face of Pilot Training

The New Face of Pilot Training

Modern advancements in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) may hold the key to training the next generation of pilots needed to fulfil demands within the global helicopter industry. With reports projecting that some 61,000 new pilots and 44,000 technicians will be required over the next 20 years[i], the Vertical Flight Expo (VFE) team take a deep dive into the latest developments in training, and the technology on track to disrupt the industry.

Flight simulators, used to train pilots for more than 80 years, are a useful tool for those looking to gain their commercial pilot license (CPL). Countless benefits are heralded – cost and safety are just two – but can the realities of flight be replicated accurately? The industry certainly seems to think so, with the global flight simulator market revenue expected to grow from $5.7 billion in 2019 to $7.7 billion by 2024[ii]. Here, full-flight simulators take the largest share and it is no surprise given the industry’s growing use of such technology.

Traditional full-flight simulators (FFS) allow pilots in-training to interact with a real cockpit of a helicopter, often found to be mounted on a platform that replicates the movements of flight. Video displays are then installed, allowing pilots to look out at the runway or chosen landscape. Today’s VR alternatives use a combination of multi-axis actuators, high-definition graphics and advanced computer programming to offer greater fidelity – replicating a wide range of in-flight conditions but at a fraction of the cost. But how do they compare?

Modern VR-based simulators use a haptic system or ‘kinesthetic communication’, regularly seen in video gaming and military training applications, to simulate vibrations, motion or other sensations. This means that pilots can accurately experience a change in weather conditions, as well as the pressure of every switch and instrument adjustment.

And, developments using mechanical actuators – sensors placed in contact with different areas of the user’s body such as the fingertips – not only add to the sensation of touch but enhance the virtual experience, significantly expanding training opportunities and uses. For example, French company Go Touch VR partnered with simulation developer FlyInside to adapt its fingertip-mounted technology for aviation use. It gives pilots, touch-based confirmations with every switch and dial found in the cockpit – mirroring the experience of a full-sized cockpit mock-up.

FlightSafety International is another company demonstrating opportunities for VR by designing, manufacturing and integrating its own powerful suite of innovative products. This includes state-of-the-art full flight simulators (FFS) for the Airbus AS350, Airbus EC130 and Bell 407, as well as more than 30 Airbus UH-72A Lakota simulators that include 10 cockpit procedure trainers and 10 instrument and operational flight trainers based on the FS1000 FFS. The Australian-based Becker Helicopter Pilot Academy also offers its own VR, NVG and FTD simulations, including a VR simulator for crew training in a Leonardo AW139 cabin.

Benefits of going virtual

Another benefit of VR training, pilots are presented with a chance to experience hazardous conditions and system failures, without any real-life crew or passengers being put at risk. In addition, when adapting to new types of helicopters, pilots and other crew can learn the technical aspects or unique features of each model through a simulation before preparing for a real flight.

VR training can also speed up on-the-ground processes, such as pre-flight checks. The technology enables ground crew to virtually assess a helicopter, detect existing issues and check whether all necessary safety equipment is correctly installed. This provides the ground crew with real examples and opportunities to detect possible issues and eliminate them accurately.

In addition to pre-flight checks and safety assessments, VR and AR offer maintenance crews the opportunity to visualise engine parts in a way that cannot be achieved with the naked eye.

Merging the virtual and physical words at Vertical Flight Expo

Demonstrating the growing popularity of simulated training, VFE exhibitor Starspeed offers synthetic training on an Elite S623T FNPT II simulator, based on the AS355 Twin Squirrel, which is recognised and approved by the CAA in accordance with JAR-FSTD (H). The simulator features dynamic control loading which includes a trim system with fully coupled autopilot functions. It can also stimulate the loss of hydraulic pressure and offers weather modelling including rain, ice and snow simulations. In addition, three oil rigs in Morecombe Bay and ships for deck landings have been modelled for added realism.

Demonstrating how the industry is recognising virtual training as a like-for-like for real flight, the simulated training offered by Starspeed is approved for 40 out of the 50 hours training required on a full EASA 50 hour IR(H) course and 10 out of the 15 hours required on the FAA/ICAO to EASA IR(H) or QMP (non-procedural) IR(H) conversion course. For the IRI(H) a maximum of 80% of the course flight requirements can be completed on the simulator and it is approved for MCC training and the complete PBN course.

Elsewhere on the show floor, CAE (formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics) will demonstrate why it is recognised as a leading manufacturer of simulation technologies, backed by a 70-year record of industry firsts that have defined global training standards. This includes its CAE 300 series helicopter flight and mission simulator, which offers an immersive training experience including search and rescue, hoisting operations, confined area and rooftop landings, night-vision goggle missions and other missions. It is recognised for providing unprecedented realism, that can accurately simulate offshore, emergency medical services, law enforcement, high-altitude, corporate, and other operations.

The future of flight

With numerous benefits and a wave of innovative training opportunities coming to market, it is clear that the use of VR in collaboration with real flight instruction can not only speed up the training process, but usher in a whole new era of professional pilot training opportunities, with far-reaching consequences for the aviation industry.

[i] 2019 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook – https://www.boeing.com/commercial/market/pilot-technician-outlook/

 

Q&A with Chuck Hurdleston, Vice President of M International, Inc

Q&A with Chuck Hurdleston, Vice President of M International, Inc

M International, Inc will exhibit at the inaugural Vertical Flight Expo & Conference this year where subsidiaries of the company, including Keystone Turbine Services, will be on stand to explain its diverse range of services. Vice President, Chuck Hurdleston, speaks to us about the specific challenges for engine suppliers and maintenance providers along with why he wouldn’t miss the show at Farnborough International in November.

Can you give us some background about Keystone Turbine Services, its history and the services and capabilities it provides?

Keystone (a subsidiary of M International, Inc.) has been servicing and supporting the Rolls-Royce M250 series of gas turbine engine and related components since 1976. As an award-winning Rolls-Royce certified M250 Authorized Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Center (AMROC) plus FAA/EASA certificated Part 145 Repair Station, Keystone offers a full range of gas turbine engine Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul programs for all M250 series Engines, Modules, Accessories and Components including turboshaft and turboprop variants. As a Honeywell certificated Authorised Warranty and Repair Station (AWARS), we also have full capability to repair, overhaul or exchange all series of M250 accessories plus Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PT6A and PT6T series fuel and air accessories.

Can you tell us about the key themes/topics for Keystone Turbine Services at this year’s show?

Besides Keystone, our goal is to showcase M International’s entire portfolio including Airborne Engines, Ltd; MINT Turbines, LLC; Southwest Fuel Systems and our Distribution Division. Collectively, we globally support a wide range of gas turbine engines and related components including Rolls-Royce M250; P&WC PT6A and PT6T and Honeywell T53 MRO services plus T55 spare parts and supply chain management which includes technical/field service support and training.

What can attendees expect to see on your stand?

This year, instead of bedazzling attendees with flashy gimmicks, slogans and marketing materials, we’ve decided to keep it simple, preferring instead to have old-school “face-to-face” conversations on how we can help solve your engine, module, accessory and spare part MRO needs plus supply chain assistance. We’re looking forward to getting to know attendees on a deeper level, something a brochure or video cannot address and what makes shows like Vertical Flight Expo so important to our industry.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the industry at the moment?

I see a two-fold issue here: first, OEM’s are scaling back on producing and stocking of new spare parts and material, which places a further burden on the MRO provider to support their product plus the end-user who’s relying on their aircraft to stay in the air and earn a living. Second, many of us “seasoned” industry veterans are now rapidly progressing towards retirement age and the lack of a younger generation with the desire to learn the skillsets needed to fill our shoes is becoming critical. The first is easily solvable; however, the latter has been an industry topic of concern for over ten years with no clear resolution in sight.

What are the demands from operators when it comes to helicopters engines?

Every customer desires their engine to be completed and returned quickly with high quality, more power and always at a cheaper price! Within the last ten years, we’ve seen more and more engines, accessories and components arriving at our facilities simply worn out; therefore, an operator’s final cost to maintain these units is always increasing due to the need to replace these worn-out items with new parts. As I’ve always said: “Time Is Money” … if you need it right away, your costs will increase due to the greater amount of new material embodied. However, if you’re willing to give us extra time to source serviceable material, your costs generally will come down as it’s always a trade-off between time vs. money. The salient point here is to have this trade-off discussion with your favourite MRO supplier ‘in advance’, as you consider your units servicing vs. turn time requirements.

On average how long does it take to turn an engine around?

Well, that depends upon various factors including current shop loading; spare parts availability (new and serviceable) plus unique OEM/customer and work scope requirements. Although I’ve seen engines turned in as little as 15 days, current averages are more in the 40-60 days range for a complete overhaul.

To what extent is MRO part of your business?

Approximately 95% is MRO-related and 5% spare parts support.

How do you assess what servicing requirements are needed?

It all boils down to having an in-depth conversation with each customer and understanding their needs in detail. Inevitably a customer will advise they require a certain service, however as we dig deeper, we uncover additional information which steers the requirement in a new direction. Many times, we’ve helped guide a customer towards other alternatives, and that’s something I’m most proud of – providing customers with options.

What do you think is the most exciting upcoming trend in the vertical flight industry?

The expansion of drone technology and incorporation of electrically powered aircraft. Very soon, because of their ease of operation and maintenance plus the lowering of acquisition costs, we’ll all have the freedom to possess and operate our own personal aircraft. However, that freedom also comes with inherent risks and responsibilities, therefore it’s also up to our industry to ensure these risks and responsibilities are properly conveyed.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Vertical Flight Expo?

With the change in location to Farnborough this year, we’re hoping to meet with a larger audience of both operators and maintenance personnel. When you think of the rich aviation history in the area, plus the many things to see and do in London, it should be a great time for both exhibitor and attendee alike. My Team is attending all three days so please stop by Stand C40, say “hello” and let’s have a conversation!

A match made in heaven: Vertical Flight Expo & Conference returns with major networking initiative

A match made in heaven: Vertical Flight Expo & Conference returns with major networking initiative

Vertical Flight Expo & Conference – Europe’s largest vertical flight exhibition which lands in Farnborough from 5-7 November – has announced the return of its exceptionally popular networking initiative: Vertical Connect.

 

Launched at last year’s show, the online business meeting platform will act as both an onsite networking tool and a concierge service, helping attendees make the most of their time at the show by forming valuable and long-lasting business connections. The free initiative returns for the 2019 edition following a remarkably successful launch in 2018; where a total of 545 meetings were confirmed across the three-day event while users rated the quality of their meetings as an average of 4.1 out of 5, with just under half (48%) of all participants rating the experience as five stars.

 

Celebrated by operators and exhibitors alike, participating operator, Atlas Helicopter said the networking platform was ‘a great success’, while 2018 exhibitor, Airglaze Aviation said it ‘connected the team with the people that mattered.’ Another 2018 exhibitor reported it signed deals of up to $3m through the programme, proving the vital role the initiative plays in aiding business at the show.

 

Qualified buyers looking to source technology for their missions in oil and gas, HEMS, SAR and agriculture, amongst others, will be invited to take part in the event’s buyer programme. The useful meeting assistant is designed to help buyers meet the most relevant exhibitors, increasing networking opportunities at the show. Exhibitors can also reap huge benefits from the free programme, by more easily securing high-quality business meetings and connecting with key buyers and decision-makers who are perfectly matched to their product offering.

 

Jonathan Heastie, Energy, Marine and Rotorcraft Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions added:

“We are proud to offer unparalleled industry insight at Vertical Flight Expo, but it’s the premium networking and business opportunities that truly guarantees all our visitors see a return on their investment and return year-after-year. The launch of the Connect programme last year was a huge success and we know for many was a real highlight of the show. It’s important to us that we offer the best experience possible, so we are pleased once again to help facilitate important business opportunities between buyer and suppliers. We encourage all attendees to discover who they might be able to meet at Vertical Flight Expo this November.”

 

For more information or to register to attend, visit http://www.verticalflightexpo.com

ENDS

For further press information, please contact the Vertical Flight press office on +44 (0)20 7240 2444, or email verticalflight@stormcom.co.uk.

 

You can follow Vertical Flight on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VTOLexpo

Find out more on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/verticalflightexpo/

See us on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/helitechevents

Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/VerticalFlightexpo/

 

More information about Vertical Flight:

Vertical Flight Expo & Conference (formerly Helitech International) brings together the global rotorcraft community and delivers solutions to inspire new ways of providing civil and parapublic services. The exhibition and conference offer exclusive knowledge-sharing platforms and valuable networking opportunities to develop new and existing business partnerships across the globe. http://www.verticalflightexpo.com

 

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customer across industries.

Http://www.reedexpo.com

Meet the leaders in vTOL aviation at Farnborough

Meet the leaders in vTOL aviation at Farnborough

Exhibitors at the inaugural Vertical Flight Expo & Conference, formerly known as Helitech, will be coming from across the globe to gather at Farnborough International this November, showcasing the best of innovation and technology within the vTOL industry.

Taking place on 5-7 November, over 75 manufacturers, suppliers and operators will exhibit the latest products and services on the show floor. Over the course of the three-day event, visitors can expect to see everything from vertical flight veterans to brand-new start-ups, encompassing more aspects of the vertical flight sector than ever before.

First Responders

The emergency services continue to rely on vertical flight to effectively manage the most life-threatening and remote medical-based missions. For example, East Anglia Air Ambulance – one of the most prevalent helicopter force services in the UK – has already undertaken over 1,000 missions this year, attending almost the same number of patients and flying nearly 50,000 miles[1].

As a leading supplier to emergency services, Axnes AS will showcase the MP50 PNG Transceiver at this year’s show, displaying the technological advances that have been made in the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) sector. With the capability of being fit for purpose whilst at a depth of three metres for 24 hours, the transceiver is built with special mission operations in mind, to be durable across a variety of challenging environmental conditions.

Also expanding the capabilities of HEMS aircraft and aircrew is Northwall srl. Providing a solution for emergency rescue pilots who need a steady hand as well as a calm head, its LMT Pilot Helmet is reduced in both size and weight, allowing for extended wear without effecting a pilot’s sense of balance.

According to Association of Air Ambulances [2]– an official partner to the show for 2019 – some 37 EMS aircraft are widely used in challenging conditions throughout the UK alone. The ability for those pilots and crew to see clearly and have the highest level of awareness is critical to successful missions.

Another Pair of Eyes

Providing further solutions to enhance situational awareness, international manufacturer of innovative avionics systems, Universal Avionics, will exhibit its Vision-1 Synthetic Vision System. The technology acts as a wingman, providing both pilot and co-pilot with a 3D terrain database integrated with the flight plan and projected flight path of the aircraft. The product aims to increase the situational awareness of those in control, allowing for a more precise operation whether applied in a commercial or mission guise.

The future of vTOL

The advancing technology being used across aviation, has meant that new models of aircraft are increasingly taking flight. Through a recent global consumer survey, engineering Simulation company, Ansys, found that 70% of consumers are ready for autonomous aircraft and prepared to use them in their lifetime. The move towards automated and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is progressing rapidly, along with the desire for more automation in everyday transport such as cars and taxis.

To increase safety, efficiency and speed in time-critical operations, first-time exhibitor Malloy Aeronautics Ltd will display an example of its advanced systems available in aviation. Malloy is a specialist in designing, developing and producing heavy lift drones capable of autonomously delivering rapid response aid, equipment and people. Products such as the T-80 or T-150 – that can carry a 30kg+ payload – will be displayed at the exhibition, where the versatility of such aircraft can be discussed amidst the presence of current cargo systems from Swiss Rotor Solutions Ltd and Meeker Aviation Services.

Jonathan Heastie, Energy, Marine and Rotorcraft Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions said: “With such a diverse exhibitor line-up for 2019, we are excited to welcome visitors to this year’s show where they can meet, engage and be inspired by a wide spectrum of the latest products and trends in vertical flight. For decades, the show has been the industry-leading event for anything and everything to do with helicopters, and it’s important to us that we continue this longstanding heritage under the new guise. In its first year as the Vertical Flight Expo & Conference, we are pleased to directly respond to both exhibitor and visitor feedback to expand upon our offer, meaning we can represent all aspects of the industry at the show this November.”

For more information or to register to attend, visit http://www.verticalflightexpo.com

ENDS

For further press information, please contact the Vertical Flight press office on +44 (0)20 7240 2444, or email verticalflight@stormcom.co.uk.

You can follow Vertical Flight on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/VTOLexpo
Find out more on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/company/verticalflightexpo/
Like our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/VerticalFlightexpo/

More information about Vertical Flight:

Vertical Flight Expo & Conference (formerly Helitech International) brings together the global rotorcraft community and delivers solutions to inspire new ways of providing civil and parapublic services. The exhibition and conference offer exclusive knowledge-sharing platforms and valuable networking opportunities to develop new and existing business partnerships across the globe. http://www.verticalflightexpo.com

About Reed Exhibitions:

Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events organiser, with more than 500 events in 30 countries. In 2018, Reed Exhibitions brought together more than 7m event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed Exhibitions’ events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 38 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.reedexhibitions.com

About RELX:

RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 30,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at http://www.relx.com/investors