A new flight simulator complex was commissioned at Ohakea today by the Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell.
"The A109 simulator and accompanying Virtual Interactive Procedure Trainer are critical components of the newly introduced integrated training system for future New Zealand Defence Force helicopter aircrew," said Air Vice-Marshal Stockwell.
As a part of that training system the simulator will provide the Royal New Zealand Air Force with a cost effective means of training A109 aircrew and those destined to fly the NH90 and SH2G helicopters. The simulator provides significant financial savings as the operating cost of the simulator is approximately 10% of the A109 helicopter operating cost.
"The simulator cost EUR9.3M and it has an expected service life of at least 30 years. It will provide approximately 1400 hours of training per year but it has the capacity to provide in excess of twice this, if required. At the planned rate, the simulator will effectively pay for itself in less than five years," said Air Vice-Marshal Stockwell.
One of the primary functions of the recently introduced A109LUH helicopters was as a training platform for NZDF NH90 and SH2G aircrew. AgustaWestland, suppliers of the A109 helicopters, also provided the Virtual Interactive Procedure Trainer and the Flight Simulator.
"The simulator is an excellent training platform as it allows high risk exercises (such as engine and other equipment failures) to be conducted safely rather than in the helicopter. It also allows flying training in bad weather and poor visibility conditions as we can simulate the external environment to suit our training requirements."
"Both world class training devices will be housed at Ohakea and used for training NZDF helicopter pilots and crewmen. Approximately 50% of all A109 helicopter training will be conducted in the simulator, making significant training efficiencies and cost savings," said Air Vice-Marshal Stockwell.
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