29-Jul-2016 Source: Technavio
Technavio’s latest report on the global helicopter simulator market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2016-2020. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
The global helicopter simulator market is expected to grow at a CAGR of close to 3% during the forecast period. In 2015, the market was led by the Americas with 46%, followed by EMEA with 38%, and APAC with 16%.
According to Abhay Singh, a lead analyst at Technavio for research on aerospace components, “The market is growing significantly because of the increased use of virtual training methods. With the continuous increase in fuel prices, it has become difficult for the helicopter operators to impart airborne training to the pilots, thereby opting for simulator-based training. This type of training consumes much lesser time compared with airborne training. Moreover, global military forces are looking forward to virtual training as an attractive option to increase the service life of an aircraft by cutting back on airborne training missions.”
Since budget cuts hinder expensive live exercises, simulated training has become extremely important. Training in a flight simulator is 5%-20% cheaper than airborne training and one of the safer options for trainees. About 31% of the military pilot training is done on a simulator. However, as the capabilities of simulators are increasing and military budgets are decreasing, the services provided by the simulator are going to be increased by 60%. With the introduction of live, virtual, and constructive (LVC) training, the pilot is put in an environment very similar to the challenges faced on a battlefield. This training prepares military pilots for combat missions, which includes emergency evacuation and coordination with ground operations.
For instance, in 2014, Lockheed Martin demonstrated the LVC training that enables the military forces to train their pilots for complex challenges, which in comparison is difficult to replicate in a live environment. Moreover, the company is also planning to integrate LVC in the fourth and fifth generation pilot training.
High-fidelity simulation systems
As the requirements for the flight training are changing and more importance is given to aviation safety, it has become necessary for pilots to have simulator-based training. According to FAA, additional training is mandatory to obtain an air transport pilot certificate and includes both academic and flight simulator training.
High-fidelity simulation systems duplicate the environment same as that of the real world and prepare pilots for any situation. Traditionally, multi-monitor systems were used in the simulators to train pilots. However, the new collimated displays (high spherical panoramic display) and Cobra curved display flight simulators duplicate the real-world scenario, which prepare pilots for any situation from avoiding a sudden attack in air-to-air combat to air refueling.
“The significant advancements in technology will certainly result in improvements in the quality of flight simulation systems. Simulators are shifting toward computer-based technologies and are using computer graphics and distributed computing,” says Abhay.
Introduction of simulation-based training
New flight training and increased aviation safety requirements have necessitated flight simulation-based training for the pilots. In the realm of flight safety, smooth and timely execution of emergency procedures is even more vital. In addition, failure can be introduced without compromising on the safety. It has been found that information visualization of airflow hazards to pilots through simulation training, dramatically improved their ability to land under turbulent conditions. Safety is one of the most important aspects of aviation, emphasizing the use of simulation-based training programs.
Recurrent training and monitoring for an airline with 1,000 pilots, would cost approximately USD 60 million annually. However, flight simulator operating costs are less than one-tenth of this amount. Thus, unlike traditional methods, adoption of modern flight simulation-based training will provide huge economic benefit to the airline.