Frasca 342 Helicopter Simulator
Kestrel’s Frasca 342 helicopter simulator, incorporating the FVS 200 visual wrap-around graphics, was the first of its kind in Australia and enables Kestrel to offer an extensive range of previously unavailable training options.
The simulator improves pilot awareness of potential hazards and enables them to practice real emergencies without risk to flight crew or equipment. The wraparound visual system provides highly realistic visual presentation, to enable full day, night, visual and instrument flight. Night emergencies can be completed including touch down auto-rotations. Realistic, high quality systems make command instrument rating training available at an affordable price.
Pilots intending to transition to turbine helicopters can undertake an initial course of training in the simulator before flying the helicopter. Engine emergencies and malfunctions can be simulated to enable candidates to experience real failures and over temperature situations.
The simulator is based around the performance characteristics of the Bell 206 helicopter with the cockpit layout, including instruments and markings, being identical to the Bell 206 Jet Ranger.
The cabin is equipped with dual flight controls and can be flown in a dual configuration as would occur in a normal flight sortie. The radios are a little more than what can be found in a normal Bell 206 as the simulator is also an instrument trainer therefore all instrument approaches can be flown requiring the associated radio equipment. All circuit breakers, switches and control functions operate in exactly the same way as they do in a real aircraft.
Radio communications and other functions are simulated to ensure that the pilot workloads are the same as would be experienced in a normal flight. The instructor’s station is located separately from the cockpit and flight environment, with the instructor retaining the controls to induce a variety of in-flight emergencies or weather demands. The simulator is centre-of-gravity sensitive. This means a pilot can load the aircraft in a desired manner and as the simulator senses fuel burn off will automatically adjust its centre of gravity. This is just one of many possible functions.
The visual system is very realistic and ample for normal visual hovering, transition and in-flight cruise. The aerodrome layouts include obstacles and normal markings, with the added helicopter advantages of confined areas, oilrig helipads and simulated accident site with emergency vehicles in attendance. It’s a good chance to practice your hover turns in 30-knot winds – try and do it without breaking into a sweat! Visual approaches are conducted with normal visual clues and a full circuit can be flown all by visual reference.
The instrument-training platform is challenging. With demanding instrument conditions being placed in the system by the instructor, a full instrument flight can be conducted to any place in the world right down to the minima. All instrument approaches can be conducted including GPS NPA approaches, so recency training and skill advancement for instrument rated pilots is another use for the simulator. Instrument failures, radio failures and system emergencies are all possible during these exercises so pilots trained in these environments will be far better prepared than with in flight training.
One of the great comforts to pilots is confidence in the knowledge that come the day there is a system failure or that they are faced with an engine malfunction, they will be prepared for it and act in a prompt and correct manner. The simulator offers the ability to practice repeated, emergency manoeuvres until full competency is reached in any area, building pilot confidence before exposing them to the real thing.