Advanced training for tomorrow's pilots: In times of change, the Bundeswehr's security challenges are evolving. As a result, the demands on the basic and advanced training of Bundeswehr helicopter pilots are also increasing. The introduction of new, modern helicopter systems and the use of simulators led to the establishment of the largest simulator centre in Europe, the Hans E. Drebing Simulator Centre, at the International Helicopter Training Centre in Bückeburg. Since its establishment, the facility has developed into a service centre that also caters to third-party users such as the German Federal Police as well as helicopter pilots from countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, to only name a few.
CAE, as a leading provider of training and simulation systems, developed and delivered training systems for four different helicopter types for the training centre: CH-53GA/GS, EC-135 and NH90. A total of 14 cockpit units, 12 of which can be used simultaneously in the Hans E. Drebing simulator centre, are available for training operations. Two NH90 full-mission flight simulators are operated by Helicopter Flight Training Services (HFTS) GmbH in an additional simulator centre at the Bückeburg site. HFTS is a high-tech company in the field of simulation technology, founded by an industrial consortium including CAE GmbH in addition to Thales, Airbus Helicopters and Rheinmetall Defence Electronics.
The multi-purpose infrastructure allows for an efficient training environment that is individually designed for each pilot. This enables customized training. Each simulator is modular: it consists of a dome with a visual system and a cockpit module specific to the helicopter model. The motion system, equipped with 6 degrees of freedom, is the most advanced of its kind and allows simulation of all typical helicopter maneuvers.
Each simulator has two instructor stations - one in the cockpit and one in the observation room - on which all instructional content can be called up at the touch of a button. In addition to different flight and emergency situations, various weather scenarios such as cloud cover, rain, snow, hail or storms, including thunderstorm cells and squalls, can be called up.
The simulators provide the entire range of basic and advanced training for all pilots at the most advanced level in various disciplines. These include basic helicopter pilot training as well as helicopter model training, instrument training and night-time low altitude training with image intensifier goggles.
Even if simulator-based training cannot completely replace training in the original helicopter, the advantages of simulation are obvious: difficult or dangerous situations can be repeated risk-free until the pilots have mastered all the prescribed routines and procedures. The fact that no helicopter has to be airborne reduces strain on the original equipment, protects the environment and shields the population from noise pollution.
The highly qualified support provided by CAE experts on site has greatly contributed to developing Bückeburg into an international helicopter training centre with first-class service standards.