GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Up-and-coming US simulation company's blend of innovation and marketing skill is reaping dividends
NLX is to deliver a Raytheon Beechjet 400A full-flight simulator to SimuFlite Training International by the end of August. The device is one of three Level D machines ordered by SimuFlite from the small but fast-growing US simulation firm.
The Beechjet simulator is scheduled to be ready for training by the end of October and will be followed by similar machines for the Cessna CitationJet and Raytheon Beech King Air 350.
NLX is also working with Thales Training & Simulation to build Dassault Falcon 900 and 2000 simulators for SimuFlite. The Sterling, Virginia-based company also has an order from Bombardier to produce a Level D simulator for its new Continental business jet.
NLX is expanding its military business, winning a Raytheon contract to provide a Level 6 flight training device under the firm's Airborne Stand-Off Radar programme for the UK Ministry of Defence. It will simulate the Bombardier Global Express large business jet used as the platform for the battlefield surveillance system.
The company is also building a "Level D equivalent" operational flight trainer for the US Air Force's Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint electronic intelligence aircraft as well as a similar device for the USAF's Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft.
Other military work includes upgrading USAF Boeing B-52 and Rockwell B-1 bomber simulators.
The Beechjet is only the second Level D simulator produced by NLX. The first was a Cessna Caravan device built for Pan Am International Flight Training Academy and now providing training for package carrier FedEx Express.
NLX says the Caravan simulator was developed in 18 months and qualified to Level D by the US FAA "first time".
NLX integrates commercially available components into its simulators. The latest devices feature a PC-based host computer with Linux operating system, Thales six-axis motion base, Fokker electric control loading and, in the case of the SimuFlite machines, Evans & Sutherland ESIG-3350 image generator with SEOS Panorama display. The Caravan was fitted with CAE motion and visual systems.
Having started with the Caravan utility aircraft and moved up to business jets, NLX is looking for other niches and is evaluating the regional aircraft market. The company has set its sights on building 12 commercial and military flight simulators a year, which would place it among the top four producers. A second factory is being set up in Binghamton, New York State, to handle army and navy simulation work, a market which NLX is also trying to penetrate.
Source: Flight International