Air Force helicopter simulator not just a Playstation 3

SQNLDR Andrew Mudgeway at the controls of the A109 simulator facility at RNZAF Ohakea.

18 May 2012

The first full flight helicopter simulator in the country currently in use by the Royal New Zealand Air Force is managing to save around ninety percent of the cost of using a real helicopter.

RNZAF Synthetic Flight Instructor Squadron Leader Ron Thacker says, "The simulator provides three broad things – it enables you to do things that you can’t do safely in a real aircraft, provides training efficiencies using specific training environments and provides cost savings."

The simulator was assembled at Ohakea in August last year, formally qualified in November and is now being used for formal training by Air Force helicopter pilots.

The simulator has 42 computers that allow a huge range of variables to the programme including wind, cloud, and time of day. It also has an electro-pneumatic motion system, which is capable of lifting up to eight tonnes, to simulate movement.

The simulator provides the Royal New Zealand Air Force with a more effective means of training aircrew for the new A109 helicopters and those destined to fly the new NH90 helicopters, as well as the Navy’s Seasprite fleet, than conventional training flights alone.

SQNLDR Thacker says the trainees have it made clear to them that this is not a Playstation 3 on steroids, this is a serious business and the simulator is treated as if it was an actual aircraft. "The simulator is a key component of what is proving to be a world-class helicopter training system. It’s a great investment and will provide a great medium for training the NZ Defence Force’s helicopter pilots and Helicopter Crewmen of the future."


For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 130


This page was last reviewed on 28 May 2012.