Virtalis’ Rear-Cabin Virtual Reality Trainer and Helicopter Crew Reality product have been successfully commissioned by Thales Australia for delivery to Australia. This delivery forms a key part of the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) that will train the future generations of Australian Navy and Army helicopter pilots at the Joint Helicopter School at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales.
The next generation of Australia’s Navy and Army helicopter pilots and aircrew will be trained by Boeing and defence qualified flying instructors using a combination of EC135 helicopters, Thales Full-Flight Simulators and a suite of other synthetic training devices.
Gabriel Gonzalez, Thales Programme Director for the HATS Project, explained: “The feedback we have received so far has been positive. The first intake of 37 students, comprising trainee pilots, aircrew and aviation warfare officers, have been inducted into the first trial course at the Joint Helicopter School. Virtalis’s two Rear Cabin Virtual Reality Trainers play a pivotal role in delivering training objectives for the programme.”
Virtalis was awarded the Rear-Cabin Virtual Reality Trainer by Thales Australia under sub-contract in 2013 owing to its well-established Helicopter Crew Reality (HCR) product with field-proven capability. HCR provides helicopter crew with a Virtual Reality (VR) training environment in which to develop skills in team-wide communication during complex training missions. HCR was originally developed for Britain’s Royal Air Force and has been used to train aircrews from around the world.
“Our HATS Virtual Reality Trainer makes use of Virtalis’ Cloud-based Visionary Render 2 software platform and features a 100-metre virtual winching system, virtual runway lights and a virtual gunnery system. These functions represent a critical technological advancement,” said Andrew Connell, Virtalis Group Chief Technology Officer. “We have collaborated to develop a common visual database of New South Wales in which to rehearse missions and this is shared with Thales’s Full Flight Simulators. The HATS winching function is incredibly detailed. The winch wire even physically moves between your fingers and the track pendants display all the requisite data, such as safety information or how much winch is left.”
The Virtalis HATS system is housed within a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) manufactured, a wooden facsimile of the EC135 cockpit. Students wearing Head-Mounted Displays interact with the HATS virtual environment to practice manoeuvres and rehearse missions. The instructors have full visibility and control of the virtual environment at the instructor operating station. The HATS Rear-Cabin Virtual Reality Trainer features an underslung load function with remote control engagement and disengagement. In addition, there are Vertical Replenishment and Highlining functions, which support helicopter dynamics with shipping. The Virtalis team has also carefully reproduced the Southern night sky for HATS, including the phasing of the moon.
Boeing Web Site: www.boeing.com.au/
Thales Australia Web Site: www.thalesgroup.com/en/countries/asia-pacific/australia