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Flight Training Devices Prepare Pilots Better

Posted 27 days ago ago by Admin

Technology That Gives You Edge

Technology is increasingly being recognized as a lifesaving resource in the world of helicopter flight training. With rising accessibility to advanced training equipment, pilots can safely and more consistently confront and practice real-life scenarios in ways not achievable before.

Adding Flight Simulator Training Devices (FSTDs) to a training regimen particularly opens the door to the exposure and practice of emergency procedures – conditions often too risky to experience through in-aircraft training. So, not only is greater proficiency achieved on the fundamental level, enhanced threat awareness instills pilots with a bolder confidence and edge to take to the cockpit.

Keeping It Real

In truth, no training device is capable of fully duplicating actual flight. Flying elements such as weather unpredictability, mechanical malfunctions and emotional aspects are hard-pressed to be replaced on the ground.

But also true in today’s age is training device developers such as FRASCA – using advanced systems, realistic imagery, and actual flight data – have come exceedingly close. As a result, many helicopter operators now incorporate FRASCA flight training devices (FTDs) in their training and recurrency programs.

FTDs offer comparable qualities to full flight simulators (FFSs) without the full motion system. They are designed to emulate a specific aircraft (or several) with one device, with the ability to duplicate full-size cockpits down to each unique instrument, panel, control, etc. Like FFSs, they excel in providing realistic experiences, accurate environments and the exercise of both standard and critical flight procedures. With FTDs, pilots increase proficiency but also may confront hazardous scenarios not feasible in actual aircraft.

Such training aids a deeper understanding and respect for adverse developments and the proper, potentially lifesaving, reactions. Furthermore, instructors can pause FTDs mid-session to provide real-time feedback or corrections versus waiting until engine shutdown or a later debrief. The FTD can easily be reset to repeat maneuvers or play out a flight completely, allowing pilots to observe the results of their decisions.

Joining pilot proficiency and safety, a major benefit of FTDs is that they are far more cost-effective for operators than in-aircraft training or large full flight simulators. Yet, pilots are still provided accurate cockpit environments for learning specific aircraft systems or building muscle memory around various instrument procedures. Realism in these devices only continues to improve thanks to vastly enhanced computer simulation and graphics.

FTD Expertise

When it comes to helicopter FTDs, FRASCA leads the industry. In 65 years in the simulation business, FRASCA has seen firsthand the advancements and benefits FTDs provide pilots of all backgrounds and operations. The company, which was acquired by FlightSafety International in 2022, works directly with aircraft manufacturers, flight departments and the FAA to design custom Flight Simulation Training Devices for various training requirements.

Scenario-based training using FRASCA FTDs helps formulate real-world situations helicopter pilots might face unique to their mission and geographical environment. With equipment and controls mirroring those of their actual aircraft, the FTD is programmed to respond exactly how the aircraft would in each scenario. Ultimately, scenario-based training aims to develop critical thinking and flight management skills rather than merely standard maneuvers.

During each flight, FRASCA’s Motion Cueing System (FMCS) provides small-scale motion in the form of vestibular and proprioceptive feedback through motion cues and vibrations. Instruments, visual cues, vibration, and control feedback enhance realistic experiences. Anecdotal feedback from pilots is a more realistic feel with more accurate cues during complex tasks such as hover.

Avionics is another important consideration in today’s training. As performance and processes have advanced in the cockpit, so has the need for increased technical knowledge and competence. FTDs give pilots a convenient and accurate platform to dive more deeply into their aircraft’s technology and automation. Increasing those skills and learnings on the ground could mean solving (or saving) a situation more efficiently in the air.

Enrich Your Training

FTDs allow operators the ability to safely, accurately, and economically train pilots how to respond to emergencies and recognize potentially dangerous situations. Utilizing FTDs allow pilots to focus more on the mission – instruments, cues, results – not just tick the box procedures. These are lessons that will translate to the real aircraft when needed most.

The NTSB condenses it well: “During flight training, it is difficult to recreate the element of surprise and the realistic, complex scenarios that pilots may experience during an emergency. Without simulators, viable lesson components may be limited.”

FRASCA FTDs are approved across numerous programs toward minimum requirements for ratings, certificates and recurrency. FRASCA’s type-specific FTDs offer additional training features and more advanced technology, whether training EMS, law enforcement, oil and gas, or corporate pilots. At a fraction of the cost of in-aircraft training or full-motion simulators, operators can lower expenses while significantly reducing the risk of pilot-induced accidents.

FRASCA is the premier provider of helicopter FTDs used by top rotary wing training operators worldwide. Complementing FlightSafety’s comprehensive suite of training solutions, FRASCA further expands its footprint, innovation and expertise in the Flight Simulation Training Device market.  



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