Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC


CAE's Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF) is expected to start training UK Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 pilots in mid-March, more than six months later than planned.

Visual system problems and difficulties tuning the flight characteristics of the CAE-built Chinook and Aerospatiale Puma simulators delayed the start of training, says Brian Symes, managing director of CAE Aircrew Training Services, owner and operator of the privately financed centre.

Training is expected to be under way on all three Chinook simulators by the end of March and on the Puma machine by mid-April - 10 months behind schedule. The first of two simulators for the EH Industries Merlin has just been been delivered to the centre, at RAF Benson, and training should begin in May, Symes says.

Problems with Evans & Sutherland's (E&S) Harmony visual system resulted in the first four simulators being fitted with the US company's lower-performance ESIG-4530 visual. E&S says early hardware problems, now overcome, delayed testing and optimisation of the software.

Symes says CAE has accepted delivery of its first Harmony, for integration on the second Merlin device, now in production at Montreal and due for delivery to the MSHATF in April next year.

The Harmony problems affected other UK projects. Systems have been delivered to the Defence Helicopter Flying School, for a Bell 412 simulator, and to Boeing/ GKN Westland for the WAH-64 Apache attack helicopter training system. Harmony has also been selected for a Royal Navy BAE Systems Sea Harrier F/A2 device and RAF Panavia Tornado GR4 system, both produced by Thomson Training & Simulation.

Source: Flight International