Next generation reality flying innovation lands in Brisbane
Australia’s first state-of-the-art AW139 Full Flight Simulator is beginning to take shape at the CareFlight HEMS Academy at the Brisbane International Airport in Australia.
The Thales Reality H Full Flight Simulator is the world’s most advanced commercial helicopter simulator, and will be used to provide realistic scenario-based flight training to AW139 helicopter operators in the region as well as CareFlight’s own pilots and crew. A team of Thales engineers have been at the Thales CareFlight Simulation Centre installing the simulator since late May.
Located in a brand new, purpose-built facility at Brisbane International Airport, the Thales CareFlight Simulation Centre is part of a larger multi-million dollar training hub built in conjunction with Aviation Australia.
Troy Stephen, Thales Australia’s Director of Training and Simulation, stated: “Thales is very excited to be investing in this initiative with CareFlight in Queensland. We believe that Brisbane Airport represents the best location in Australia for Thales’s AW139 Full Flight Simulator, and we are confident that pilots from the entire Asia Pacific region will be keen to train in our centre.”
CareFlight’s Head of Training and Checking, Jeremy Ovens, has been rigorously testing and ensuring the validity of the new Thales Reality H Simulator in France.
As a pilot with 30 years of experience, including 21 years in rescue helicopters, Mr Ovens has been impressed with the simulator’s realism and fidelity.
“I’ve had a number of very experienced AW139 pilots working with me to assess the Thales Reality H Simulator against industry benchmarks. They have said that it is far superior to other simulators they have flown. The Thales developed Hexaline motion system plus the extra-wide field of view of the high resolution visual system are the first things that surprised the pilots when they flew the Reality H Simulator” said Mr Ovens
“I believe that Thales has been able to design a superior full flight simulator due to our input into its development and flight modelling. It’s not simply an off-the-shelf item that is being supplied.”
CareFlight’s General Manager of Commercial Projects John Skeen said the Thales Reality H AW139 Full Flight Simulator provides outstanding realism for multi-mission training.
“Pilot and Crew CRM training are significantly improved as crews can practice the full range of emergency procedures in the simulator in complete safety, many of which are either not possible or too dangerous to practice in the helicopter,” he said.
Of great benefit is CareFlight HEMS Academy’s more than twenty-year-long and respected experience in all aspects of Helicopter emergency Medical Services training and its large tailor-made and/or customised training offering that apply to a wide range of mission profiles, including aeromedical and emergency services. For this reason, all the simulator instructors are active flight crew who regularly fly air and medical missions. These instructors are available to share this knowledge and experience with prospective clients.
“The Reality H AW139 simulator supports a range of training needs, including Type Ratings and Proficiency Checks for both VFR and IFR, Night Vision Goggles (NVG) and HEMS mission training.”
Mr Ovens said the Thales Reality H AW139 Simulator will provide the opportunity for pilots to learn to handle a multitude of system failures and overcome very complex malfunctions should they arise in the real world.
“We can give the pilot a ‘real’ malfunction and the pilot has to react as he or she should in the real aircraft,” Mr Ovens said.
The Thales Reality H AW139 Simulator will be qualified to meet EASA and CASA Level D standards, and is based on the AW139 long nose extended airframe and Phase 7 avionics. This includes the four axis enhanced flight director with Search and Rescue (SAR) models, weather radar, TCAS II, EGPWS, direction finder, rescue hoist and cargo hook.
“One of the most notable things that pilots experience when they first get in the Thales Reality H Simulator is the visual display. It is bigger than any other on the market and fully immerses the pilot in the external scene,” said Mr Ovens.
Importantly, in the Thales Reality H Simulator, pilots can train safely in high-risk mission scenarios in a range of weather conditions. Additionally, the simulator supports training in NVG operations.
“We’ve tested everything. Basic hovering at an airport, high mountain flying, offshore oil rig approaches, landing on ships, landing at helipads, landing at hospitals, landing at road accident scenes, winching a ‘survivor’ out of a life raft, and sling load operations,” said Mr Ovens.
Located within the CareFlight Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Academy, the Thales Reality H Full Flight Simulator will be operational in October.
The training facility is located within 15 minutes of Brisbane city, and visitors to the city will have access to hundreds of accommodation options, restaurants and tourist activities.
“Given we are located at Brisbane International Airport it allows anyone coming to train with us the ability to fly directly into the airport from anywhere in the world, complete their AW139 training and experience the world class delights of Australia’s tourism capital – South East Queensland,” said Mr Ovens.
CareFlight will also provide interstate or international visitors with first class accommodation and transport recommendations.
In the last financial year, CareFlight’s HEMS Academy provided training to 4,450 aviation and medical practitioners including Australia Defence Force personnel.
Thales is a global technology leader in the Aerospace, Transportation, Defence and Security markets and employs around 3,200 people across Australia. Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and offers more than 110 helicopter simulators from task trainers to full mission simulators, and has sold to 25 countries around the world.