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Thu, Mar 03, 2011

New ICAO Document For Helicopter Flight Sim Training Devices

First Time Helo Simulation Has Been Exclusively Considered By ICAO

Under the auspices of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), an International Working Group (IWG) has been working Since early 2007 on developing new criteria for the classification and qualification of civil helicopter Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs). This work is intended to result in the publication, by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), of a new volume, dedicated to helicopters, of the "Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of FSTDs" - and its subsequent adoption as Regulation by civil aviation authorities worldwide.

The work, which is based on helicopter pilot training tasks, takes advantage of a similar effort for aeroplanes which has already been published by ICAO. It is intended to facilitate a step-change improvement in the safety of helicopter operations by enhancing the training capability of FSTDs and reducing the risks involved in actual flight training.

The Helicopter IWG has expert international representation from the industry, including regulators, helicopter and simulator manufacturers, training organisations, helicopter operators and users.

One of the principal aims of the work is to improve accessibility to synthetic training across the helicopter industry and thus improve safety. This is the first time that helicopter simulation has been exclusively considered as a subject by ICAO. The draft document has been submitted to ICAO; publication is expected later in 2011.

Helicopter pilot training tasks and licences were used as the basis for defining five baseline FSTD types, which provide the foundation for international harmonisation. The IWG has remained actively engaged with the wider helicopter industry throughout the entire process, with regular briefings at major events and conferences. In November 2010, the work was endorsed by the delegates at the RAeS Flight Simulation Conference and draft documentation was made available for comment on the RAeS website. The comment period closed on 20 January 2011, and the comments have now been considered and incorporated where appropriate; the draft was submitted to ICAO on 1 March 2011.

The work of the Helicopter IWG is part of the largest harmonization effort ever attempted in the history of the flight simulation industry. It is anticipated that achieving an internationally accepted definition of helicopter FSTDs will have significant benefits across the industry. This should:

  • Reduce and simplify the administrative burden for stakeholders.
  • Permit a more consistent approach by simulator manufacturers.
  • Provide a clear expression of the suitability of use of specific FSTDs for the training tasks associated with licences, ratings, checks, etc. for training organisations and operators.
  • Improve the quality of training and reduce costs.

Ultimately, it will improve access to flight simulation and thus quality of training, and provide a welcome improvement in aviation safety.

FMI: www.raes-fsg.org.uk/outsiders

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