The equipment transforms the way aircrew officers train for lifesaving winch missions, by combining high fidelity virtual reality (VR) technology and physical elements, built into a replica of a helicopter cabin.
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Aircrew Officer Greig Allan said: “You wear a harness, you can put your gloves on, you hear everything through a headset as you would for real, the winch cable runs through your fingers, sitting with the winch pendant in your other hand.”
Aircrew training options increase
The equipment joins the Thales Level D Full Flight Simulator for pilots and the Medical Simulator for training flight doctors, nurses and paramedics; meaning the LifeFlight Training Academy, which is located in Brisbane, Australia, can now offer simulated training across all key roles of aeromedical care.
LifeFlight Training Academy Executive Manager Tim McGuire commented: "This is the final string in our bow for aircrew training, it creates an opportunity for crews - both LifeFlight crews and external clients – to come to the Academy and tick off any type of training they need to do, such as Helicopter Underwater Escape Training or crew resource management training.
Pilots can train for all scenarios
"New aircrew officers can come here and train in a much calmer environment than with a live helicopter – they can do a ground lesson, then do static training in the simulator and get a feel for an aircraft before going anywhere near a real helicopter."
Chief Aircrew Officer and simulator instructor Simon Gray said the system also allows trainers to develop crew members to a higher level. With the trainer in full control of the simulated scenarios, they can introduce challenging elements that could never be implemented in live helicopter training – such as creating wild weather conditions.
“In the real world, we’re pretty much limited to low heights for our training, we can’t introduce things that would potentially be dangerous in the real world, whereas we can do all that here,” Gray said.
The equipment allows aircrew officers more hours of 'training in the air', while saving the costs of flying hours and leaving rescue crews and choppers online for tasking. The simulator can be adjusted to model either an AW139 or Bell 412 helicopter and can be used to train other cabin crew, such as nurses and paramedics.
AirMed&Rescue wrote about how helicopter rescue hoist training is changing with the introduction of new technology such as VR and AR – augmented reality.