New flight simulator at Air Zermatt heliport
Air Zermatt has installed an new and innovative flight simulator with virtual reality at its base in Zermatt. The new machine will enable both beginner and more experienced pilots to complete flight hours and flight checks via VR (virtual reality). Air Zermatt, along with another company, is one of the first in Switzerland to opt for a flight simulator from the Swiss manufacturer VRM Switzerland.
This new acquisition will make it possible for Air Zermatt to reduce its ecological footprint, as well as being a long-term solution for cutting costs and saving time. Each pilot is required to complete flight training at least every six months – the OPS (Operator Proficiency Check) is carried out twice a year, in addition to the annual LPC (License Proficiency Check). Thanks to the modern VR simulator, Air Zermatt will be able to carry out every second training session at the heliport. According to Gerold Biner, CEO and pilot at Air Zermatt, beginner pilots can also complete their first flight hours in the simulator. “They get a feel for the machine, and have less trouble operating the equipment once they finally sit in a real helicopter.”
The machine simulates the Ecureuil H125 (AS 350 B3e) helicopter used by Air Zermatt for flights of all kinds to make tourist and transport flights and carry out rescue operations.
Opportunities for training difficult manoeuvres
Tizian Gruber, the leading operator of the new flight simulator, can happily confirm the positive first impression: “Virtual reality offers an extremely realistic simulation compared with a real helicopter.” The benefits are particularly clear when it comes to difficult manoeuvres, for example: “Special situations such as tail rotor loss or autorotation all the way down to the ground are simply too dangerous in a real helicopter, and are almost impossible to train in a practical setting. The simulator opens up new possibilities for us, and helps to close gaps.”
A flight simulator for everyone
The simulator is not only available to Air Zermatt pilots, however. The public will also get to use it: “To try out the experience of flying, or find out if a career as pilot might be something for them. Our new acquisition will make all of this possible,” said Biner. And he is impressed by the technology involved: “It works perfectly, the headset is highly effective and the whole team is extremely enthusiastic about working on the new machine. We’re already seeing huge benefits.”
Air Zermatt, along with another company, is one of the first in Switzerland to opt for a flight simulator from the Swiss manufacturer VRM Switzerland. The idea for the acquisition and the complete development process right up to realisation evolved in close cooperation with VRM Switzerland. The positioning of the machine was also a key issue – a separate room was needed for the simulator, which weighs around 600 kilograms, is subject to high safety standards and is also in constant motion. This area was created in the upper part of the hangar in Zermatt and fitted out by Air Zermatt staff.
About VRM Switzerland
VRM Switzerland is market leader in the development and construction of VR training devices for helicopter pilot training. The innovative team is the first to receive an EASA qualification for an FNPT II based on VR technology. The entire system is developed and built-in house. In addition, the company runs an EASA approved Flight Simulator Training Organization to qualify the customer’s device and simplify the operation.