With cost effective, high fidelity flight simulators, this Texas-based company is solving the aviation industry most pressing training challenges.
Delivering exceptional flight simulator training in today’s world is a serious challenge. Aircraft are becoming more complex every year and training budgets aren’t necessarily keeping pace with those changes. As a result, airlines and flight schools are on the lookout for more innovative, cost-effective pilot training solutions.
Captain Wolfe Haeberle understands this very well. As CEO of Jet Simulations, Haeberle is pulling out all the stops to deliver affordable, full-scale simulators that address the widespread constraints of time and money.
“There are expensive fight simulators used by airlines and flight training schools that cost between 10 and 30 million dollars depending on the technology,” explains Haeberle. “That means they run between $400 and $700 per hour of operation making them very expensive and restrictive.”
With those kind of numbers, it’s not surprising that airline training centres and flight schools have been gravitating towards the turnkey solutions that Jet Simulations have been providing for the past 10 years.
“We have developed flight simulators that make it easier for students from flight schools and pilots from airlines to get more hours in a simulated cockpit of a bigger aircraft. The goal is to give them a more authentic experience for less money,” explains Haeberle.
Jet Simulations gives airline students coming from flight schools an easier, safer way to transition into the first officer seat. This is usually a very difficult step because the handling of the small airplanes on which they did their initial pilot training is very different than the jets the airlines use. Learning how this more powerful and reactive aircraft moves and behaves is an essential training component to develop pilot reflexes.
“When you’ve been trained on small airplanes that fly at a maximum speed of 100 nautical miles per hour and cruise at altitudes of about 5000 feet, transitioning into an aircraft that cruises at 500 miles per hour at 40,000 feet is no easy task,” says Haeberle. “Going thru airspace and air traffic control areas at a totally different speed and in a totally different environment requires serious training.”
Under normal circumstances, the new first officer would be paired with a highly experienced captain. This scenario puts a very heavy workload and considerable stress on the captain because he has to pay more attention to the whole flight – more so than he would if he had a very experienced senior first officer in the cockpit to relieve some of his duties.
For flight schools, the challenges are layered under the pressure they have to get things done for a certain price in a certain time frame. Sending someone to be trained, incurs costs for the hotel, time, and the personnel needed to train them.
The added value and differentiator for schools leveraging simulators from Jet Simulations is embedded in the company’s ability to deliver better training for the same price as other schools. Virtual training flight hours can make all the difference when pilots are going through their certifications process.
“Our devices can fill that gap between reading a book or an on-screen tutorial and going into a simulator for actual flight training,” says Haeberle. “In fact, our products make it easier and safer because it allows students to “fly” more hours for less money which in turn gives them more experience once they get out in the real world and sit in a real cockpit.”
After doing their due diligence, talking to partners in the industry, asking for their recommendations, and researching different facilities that used motion systems, the company selected D-BOX motion systems at the end of 2013. According to Haeberle, integrating D-BOX into their simulators is one of the reasons for the company’s success.
We chose D-BOX for the quality that it delivers, as well as their background and strength as a company. The application is simple, sturdy and solid. And the systems we’ve installed on our devices have never failed, so it goes to show how good their product is.
To deliver the most optimal training scenario and create the most realistic, complete experience, Haeberle says that the decision to go with D-BOX was also based on his objective to move the entire platform of the simulator and eschew the trend to only move the seat.”
Instead of being on gimbals, our simulators sit on four stable legs. The D-BOX actuators are able to lift the entire cockpit up, down, forwards and sideways. To only move the seat would be a strange sensation because the dashboard and the environment around you would be unchanging. For us, the whole cockpit has to move to create a true-to-life experience.
For his part, Haeberle remains in direct contact with the local FAA and the global Aviation Administration to ensure their simulators fully integrate into the training profile, and is monitoring industry trends very closely to see how it evolves.
“In the next 5 years, an unbelievable amount of seasoned pilots will retire which means that airlines will progressively need to expedite their training,” states Haeberle. As a result, supporting facilities, hardware and equipment will be required to accommodate this situation. From our perspective, the need for simulators with proper motion-cueing systems is the answer.”
How all this play’s out is anyone’s guess, but one thing is sure: Jet Simulations is well positioned to help airlines and flight schools navigate the changes and successfully move forward.