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Northern NSW : Summer 2012-2013
Family fun day a hit Dream comes true for Martin When Martin Thompson heard that radio 2NURFM was holding a competition to win a flight simulator package he was all ears. Having some basic helicopter pilot training, Martin, also had a strong affiliation with the Rescue Helicopter through fundraising with the Harleys for Helicopters group a few years ago. So when breakfast announcer, Todd Sergeant, announced a competition that required listeners to recall 10 facts about the Service he was ready and waiting. The cooperative promotion was organised by Chairman of the Maitland Support Group, Peter Brereton, who does a monthly spot on the popular radio station. Peter and Martin were joined by Todd Sergeant on Friday 16 November and taken through the paces of the new simulator after a tour of the base. Seal of approval for simulator Initially established in the belly of a Vietnam helicopter, the Service’s new flight simulator is now one of the most advanced helicopter training facilities of its kind. The simulator is now housed in the maintenance hangar at Broadmeadow and has been granted a Category B approval by CASA after a lengthy evaluation process. Designed and built in-house, the approval rating now allows pilots to remain current in a range of instrument flight procedures at all times. Chief Pilot, Mike deWinton, said that the simulator provided accredited time logs for pilots and significant cost savings to the Service. Because it is technically advanced and realistic enough to be given its own registration, it is actually considered an aircraft. CASA also recognised and credited the Service for producing what it saw as the first of its type in Australia, based on the Service’s fleet of Bell 412 aircraft. The man behind the design and construction of the simulator Service Facilities manager, Peter Grimmond, said the process of creating a realistic flying environment was challenging. ‘Extensive flight testing in one of the Service’s own aircraft by Tamworth based pilot provided the data required. ‘Dave Lamb is an ADF instructor and qualified military test pilot and flew one of the Bell 412’s to gather data. We then modelled our own software to produce the same results,’ Peter said. The simulator includes all of the actual flight systems found in a real aircraft such as moving maps, GPS and communications systems, instrumentation and navigational systems, including a fully integrated and operational four axis autopilot. It also provides an ideal training platform for the junior aircrew to hone their skills in other areas such as cockpit CRM and aircraft training. The results are impressive. The Service receives requests from other operators to use the simulator for evaluation and training. It has also received outstanding feedback from other global high end simulator manufacturers for its outstanding ability. Crewman Todd Mulville, Martin Thompson, Todd Sergeant, and Peter Brereton. Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service - Rescue Summer 2012/2013 Page 17