By Gabriel Dominguez
Canadian company CAE announced on 19 October that it has handed over a flight simulator ordered by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in August 2018 to help train the pilots operating the service’s NHIndustries NH90 multirole medium helicopters.
The company, which will also provide maintenance and support services, said in a statement that it officially handed over a CAE 700MR-series NH90 flight training device (FTD) to the service in early October that was installed at RNZAF Base Ohakea.
According to the company, the simulator, which is now ready for use, delivers an “immersive and realistic virtual training environment ideal for rehearsing challenging tasks such as ship deck and confined area landings”.
The RNZAF’s new NH90 simulator features “an extreme field-of-view visual display system (240° horizontal by 88°vertical) with imagery generated by the CAE Medallion-6000MR image generator”, said the company. Moreover, it includes a dynamic seat for vibration and motion cueing to maximise the realism of the training experience.
When it announced the contract award in August 2018, the government in Wellington had said that a New Zealand-based simulator would offer the benefits of increasing the number of trained pilots, while making more pilots and flight instructors available for deployment and putting less strain on RNZAF resources.
“The availability of in-country, simulator-based flight training will also reduce the need to use NH90s for training flights, ensuring the helicopters are available for more operational tasking,” said Minister of Defence Ron Mark at the time.
Before the arrival of the new CAE simulator, training for the RNZAF’s NH90 pilots included simulator-based training in Australia and Germany, combined with training flights in the NH90s in New Zealand.