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In the helicopter industry we as pilots have mixed feelings about simulators, but like it or not the FAA seems to think they are worth it as to more and more companies and training organizations. If you know of a training organization that has a great simulator, feel free to post pics of their setup and links to their websites here as a central place for pilots or trainees to find what they are looking for.




Here is a link to our friends at Colorado Heli Ops Colorado Heli Ops Website Who have 2 Frasca True flight H models available for use. Dennis, Bentley and the team at Heli Ops know the value of FTD's and ensure that all students have time in their simulators.




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As I wrote in the magazine earlier this year, back in April, I did my FAA instrument proficiency check at Independent Helicopters in Newburgh, New York, which also has a Frasca TruFlite H:




I resisted simulators/flight training devices for a long time, but my IPC was a great experience and extremely cost-effective. For recurrent instrument training, I'll take a simulator/FTD over a hood any day (especially if I'm paying for it!).



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I meant to include Heather's FTD in my original post Elan, but the work computer was not playing ball. I think on a financial level for individual pilots, your right, $400 an hour vs. $40-50 total no brainer. I think helicopter companies are also coming to the same conclusion on both a financial and business sense.

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It is undeniable that the appropriate use of simulators will enhance helicopter initial and recurrent training. The key will be to ensure that the the right simulators are used.


My own experience includes over 200 hours in the front seat of various sims over the years and a similar number in the back.


A reduction in cost should not be the only force pushing the use of simulator technology to achieve training and checking goals. Many of the higher level FFS's are approaching the cost of flying the aircraft but the realism of training, ability to simulate failures that are impossible in the a/c, and the ability to take the exercise to its conclusion without risk to the occupants still make them worthwhile. And I would argue, worth more than many cheaper alternatives.


That is not to say they are the only, best option. Limited cockpit and aerodynamic realism is required to teach CRM, crew concepts, or to maintain intrument familiarty for instance.


Finally, the use of "training switches" in the a/c which allow the simulation of engine malfunctions in the flying a/c are an incredible training tool. The best OEI training available, in my opinion.


Ultimately, look at what you are trying to achieve when choosing the best (not always cheapest) simulation to use.

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