The Singapore Flightglobal team finally had the opportunity to check out the new full motion Eurocopter Dauphin simulator at Seletar Aerospace Park yesterday. The simulator is the first AS365 N3/N3+ simulator in the Asia Pacific.
I visited the simulator during the Singapore Airshow but at
that time the full motion capability was deactivated. Yesterday it was
definitely on. Among the operations we executed were landing on a warship
rolling in heavy swells, landing atop an oil rig - perhaps recognizing the
number helicopters employed in the offshore business, there was a cluster of
three oil platforms right next to each other, all of which seemed to have
different configurations - and then landing on a tall building.
There was all sorts of weather, from hot and arid to cold and snowbound - day and night. As for graphics, improvements in processing power in recent years mean that details such as the foam on waves and blowing dust (important cues for helicopter pilots) were faithfully recreated. The images accompanying his blog post were taken with @FHavg's camera phone.
When handling the controls my colleague @tohmavis and I found the auto-trim switch on the control column to be very useful in maintaining a straight heading. Certainly the most ambitious manoeuvre I executed was taking off from a skyscraper. Not being used to helicopters, I managed to get it off the landing pad well enough, but I don't think the instructors were terribly impressed when I rammed the stick forward, thus forcing the nose well down and pushing the ship too rapidly out over the city.
That said, the instructors were not about to allow me to get
into an accident. One of them explained that for all practical purposes they
treat the simulator like a real, authentic helicopter. Though the simulator is
not open for customers until next month, Eurocopter sees a big opportunity in
providing simulator training for Dauphin operators both in the Asia Pacific and
the Middle East.