The FAA has approved the Redbird VTO full motion helicopter trainer in its Robinson R22 configuration as an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD).

This approval will allow pilots to credit a portion of the time spent training in the VTO towards aeronautical experience requirements for the pilot certificate or rating being sought.

Private pilot applicants will be able to credit up to 7.5 hours and instrument applicants may credit up to 20 hours of training time in the helicopter trainer.

“The Redbird VTO allows helicopter pilots to train more affordably, effectively, and efficiently,” declared Todd Willinger, CEO of Redbird Flight Simulations. “And now that the VTO is approved as an Advanced Aviation Training Device it becomes an even more powerful tool.”

The approval of the trainer as an AATD is valid for 5 years if the requirements of the FAA’s Letter of Authorization (LOA) are met. Flight training organisations operating a Redbird VTO under Part 61 regulations can begin crediting time as soon as they receive the LOA from Redbird.

Those using the device in a Part 141 curriculum will also need to obtain authorization from their area FSDO that is assigned to the flight school.

The Redbird VTO was designed to teach students hovering and auto-rotation, two of the most difficult manoeuvres. The device moves along arc-shaped tracks to provide the feeling of being suspended from the rotor head, allowing the pilot to feel the slightest deviations in motion before seeing it in the visuals. The trainer has a base price of $149,800.