Manoeuvres that could only be flown in a real aircraft can now be simulated in the virtual reality H125 sim

VRM Switzerland and Airbus Helicopters have received EASA certification for a H125 flight training device (FTD) Level 3 with Virtual Reality (VR) technology at Helitrans in Norway. The virtual reality simulator provides full-body immersion with VRM’s dynamic motion platform; a full replica cockpit layout; the VRM pose- tracking system; and the virtual reality system with 3-D vision and high-resolution scenery.

This new H125 simulator is a new approach to training that uses virtual reality technology to provide a higher level of realism in all phases of flight and during emergency situations. The technology used in this device makes helicopter training more affordable, and there is the potential that it could be a ‘game changer’ n the training industry.

“Today, operators execute, as per regulation, manoeuvre-based proficiency checks mostly on real helicopters. With this simulator, pilots can learn more purposefully in scenario-based trainings completely without carbon emissions and at a lower cost,” said Fabi Riesen, the CEO of VRM Switzerland. “With FTD level 3 EASA qualification, this device is now approved for proficiency checks, type ratings according to EASA part FCL, and parts of an instrument rating.”

Gilles Bruniaux, Head of Product Safety at Airbus Helicopters, explained further the specific situations that can be recreated: “With this type of simulator, you can put the pilot in operational situations which would be very risky in real flight but which bring a significant added value to training. It is true for emergency procedures but also for scenarios like flying in weather conditions that gradually deteriorate”.

Getting EASA’s approval to actually use the device for significant parts of the training is obviously a major component of the business case behind the new simulator. Francesco Gaetani, Acting Head of Air Crew & Medical Department at EASA, explained: “the H125 FTD approval represents a milestone for the use of virtual reality in devices from Flight Navigation Procedures Trainers (FNPTs) to FTDs. EASA has carefully investigated the capabilities and effects of this combination of VR and motion systems for helicopter training. EASA is confident that such types of new technologies will bring added value to training organisations in terms of cost and flight safety. The simulator utilises new technologies not foreseen in existing regulatory requirements, therefore EASA was required to develop special conditions for its approval, ensuring an equivalent level of safety.”

Image: VRM