Almost Real
 Helicopter simulators are training solutions for the future
  By Lt Gen. B.S. Pawar (retd)

Helicopters are complex to handle, pilot and to operate in any situation, especially in critical civil and military operations. It is widely acknowledged by the helicopter industry that the current helicopter accident rate is excessive and that solutions must be found to address the problem and to improve pilot skills.

As this market looks to improve its safety record, simulation-based training is seen as a viable method to significantly increase the safety of rotary wing aviation, all over the world. Secondly, especially for civil operators, helicopters are expensive to purchase, operate and maintain. In
the last few decades, helicopters have been inducted in operations in India in both civil and military fields in a big way.

Today, the helicopter industry is poised for a bigger growth, with over 1,000 helicopters planned for induction over the next few years. While the estimates for growth of the industry vary, what is undeniably true is that new machines being inducted use advanced technology configured with integrated avionics, mission computer systems, sophisticated weapon systems and are costly. The complexity of the helicopters being inducted will necessarily involve intense training for effective utilisation of the capability of these machines. Along with the initial cost of purchasing the helicopter, the cost per hour of operation has also increased, thereby increasing costs of training. Further, practicing some of the more critical emergencies on the actual helicopter is fraught with risks and sometimes just not possible without actually invoking the malfunction. This has brought into focus simulator training in helicopters.

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