HeliSIM EC155 simulator

The pilots employed by Luviair on VIP operations face a challenge. They have to land on small helipads – sometimes on yachts – and despite being ‘high time’ helicopter aircrew with great experience they have a low volume of flying hours with which to maintain their skills.

Here at Luviair we specialise in managing VIP helicopter operations. Our clients are VIP ‘high net worth’ individuals with enormous wealth and responsible for vast organisations, sometimes with thousands of jobs and shareholders.

At a moment’s notice we need to be able to make the owner’s helicopter available for a trip to a small helipad on a variety of potential landing areas, such as a luxury yacht, villa, oil rig or city center helicopter facility.

They’re all assignments which demand that the pilot is at the peak of his or her abilities, with current and proficient skills. Of course like any other skill, practice makes perfect … and yet the nature of VIP operations means that our pilots might spend less than 100 hours a year in actual flying time.

To overcome this challenge and to support our training program, Luviair uses flight simulators all over the world depending upon the helicopter type. In the case of the AirBus EC155B/B1, we use the facilities of HeliSim of Marseille, France.

Level D simulators count as real flight time.

HeliSim was founded as a joint venture by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters), Thales and DCI as a way to bring the benefits of advanced flight simulation to Eurocopter owners and pilots.

In fact the company’s investment in developing Level D simulators means that 12 civil aviation authorities, 73 governments and nine major EMS helicopter operators count HeliSim hours as qualifying hours for their pilots.

Thanks to advanced technology flight simulation is now every bit as valuable as real flying hours.

The advantages of flight simulation are numerous.

In terms of cost, simulation is more cost-effective than accessing a real helicopter. Especially when you factor in the maintenance and devaluation aspects.

And in terms of pilot training, simulation is a very valuable experience as the pilot can practice complex and emergency scenarios time after time, without any risk to life or equipment.

The Level D simulators at HeliSim are very realistic: in fact they can even simulate a total loss of hydraulic power. In this case, instead of the pilot flying the aircraft with a light touch on the control, he would have to use all his strength to manoeuvre the aircraft safely. Of course it makes sense to perfect skills like this in a simulator, rather than in a multi-million Euro VIP helicopter And if there is an accident, the pilot simply takes a deep breath then tries again!

At Luviair we have found that simulator time also helps to perfect the important working relationship between the pilot and co-pilot. Successful flying depends on the pilot and co-pilot working seamlessly together, and simulator time helps us to achieve that.

Find out more …

If you would like to know more about helicopter simulation, please get in touch with Nigel Watson (nigel@nigelwatson.im)

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