Pilots from all over the word have traveled to O’Fallon, Missouri, to check out a state-of-the-art helicopter flight simulator. The $3 million simulator — manufactured by Frasca International — is owned by Air Evac Lifeteam, an air medical emergency service provider. The U.S. Navy, German police and Emirate Airlines have all sent representatives to test the helicopter flight simulator.
“Five, 10 minutes after you’re into it, you get that sensation that you’re actually flying,” said Tink Sullivan, a simulator instructor who works at Air Evac Lifeteam.
The simulator uses pneumatic servos to simulate the motion of flying and landing. Laser projections can instantly change the simulated landscape and weather conditions. The flight training device also prepares pilots for a variety of emergency maneuvers.
“Engine failure, stuck pedals, over speeds, under speeds, things that you can’t do in the aircraft we can actually do in the sim,” said Sullivan.
Air Evac Lifeteam has 130 medical bases in 15 states. More than 500 pilots work for the company and all will spend time on the simulator to improve flying skills.
“It adds a level of safety that is untouched,” Sullivan said. “We do a tremendous amount of neat things in here that pilots, more often than not, when they leave here, they feel like ‘wow, I really learned something today.’”