The latest full-flight simulator in Eurocopter’s growing global training network has marked two key achievements as the Aberdeen, Scotland-based EC225 device accumulates more than 2,000 flight hours and passes the government-mandated recurrent evaluation that enables its use into 2013.
This full-flight simulator – located at Eurocopter’s North Sea Service Center – provides high-fidelity training opportunities for helicopter pilots who fly in the oil and gas industry’s challenging off-shore environment, as well as for crews performing search and rescue missions. It has demonstrated a 98 percent availability rate since entering service in 2011, delivering instructor, conversion and recurrent training to more than 270 pilots while exceeding the 2,000-hour milestone in the first 11 months of operation.
As part of regular certification and qualification controls applied to synthetic training devices by national airworthiness authorities, the simulator also recently passed the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Agency’s annual Recurrent Evaluation, demonstrating its performance, suitability and continued effectiveness as a pilot training and checking tool. This enables its approved operation through March 2013.
The simulator also is certified by Canadian, Brazilian and Malaysian authorities.
“The Aberdeen EC225 simulator is a key element of Eurocopter’s policy to locate simulation centers close to customer operations, tailored to the areas’ operational and mission environments, being the first safety factor to focus in training,” explained Philippe Crespo, the Eurocopter Vice President - Worldwide Training and Simulation Services. “The success of our North Sea Service Center – situated at the world’s busiest heliport, which serves the North Sea oil and gas industry – confirms Eurocopter’s strategy of putting safety and thus training of its operators first. We are in particular increasing our training footprint from the four simulators operated by Eurocopter network four years ago to a total of 20 by the end of 2013, which represents a major commitment by the company.”
To provide a highly realistic representation of EC225 flight operations, the Aberdeen simulator incorporates an extensive EC225 Level D original equipment manufacturer (OEM) data package from Eurocopter and its suppliers – including real software and parts, ensuring full simulated functionality for the helicopter, its engines, autopilot and all other systems. In addition, all of them are tuned, controlled and validated by the company’s design office experts, flight test engineers and flight test pilots that contributed to the EC225 helicopter’s development, as part of the validation process.
This simulator benefits from a full replica of the helicopter’s cockpit, including SAR capability and compatibility with night vision goggles; along with a six-degree-of-freedom motion capability and value-added vibration platform for the highest level of representation by the simulator.
The EC225 training device’s visual system has a 210-deg. horizontal field-of-view, along with a vertical field range of +30 deg. above the horizon and -50 deg below the horizon. It allows a highly accurate representation of the landing and takeoff environment at off-shore platforms and ships – while also enabling the look-down coverage necessary for search and rescue mission training. Extensive photography of key off-shore helicopter operating locations was taken for integration into the flight simulator’s visual system database.
The integrated station for the FLIR (forward-looking infrared) camera used in search and rescue operation offers a further opportunity to reinforce the training experience in multi-crew cooperation.
“Our new simulator facilities in Aberdeen not only deliver daily state-of-the-art services to the oil and gas operators, but also are aimed at being a strong asset for the future U.K. SAR service, combining high-tech, safety, cost-effectiveness and U.K. content,” said Markus Steinke, Managing Director of the company’s Eurocopter U.K. Ltd. subsidiary.
Eurocopter’s North Sea Service Center is a 20,000-sq.ft facility featuring technical support; logistical services; maintenance, repair and overhaul for dynamic components; customer facilities and simulator training in the vicinity of the region’s helicopter operators. It has the capacity to add another simulator, such as the company’s new EC175 helicopter, which is also expected to be extensively used by the off-shore energy market and for search and rescue.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports some 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,300 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 149 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.
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