A collaborative, funded research project led by Dawn Groh, Associate Professor of Aeronautical Science and Department Chair at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is seeking to provide the civil-military community with yet another instance of how VR-enabled flight training can dramatically improve aviation safety. The study is being conducted in partnership with the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) using technology provided by Ryan Aerospace and its partner Precision Flight Controls.

Groh, a former US Army (Black Hawk) aviator, said the project is using the baseline USHST video “56 Seconds to Live” to insert rigor and fidelity of unintentionally entering bad weather and instrument meteorological conditions in training by way of simulation. “This is an academic project as well as an industry project,” Groh added. ERAU students participating in this study are enrolled in the Aeronautical Science Helicopter Program.

Chris Ryan, Managing Director of Ryan Aerospace, emphasized, “The simulator remains software agnostic. It also remains affordable, smaller, portable, modular and reconfigurable so it can be used for fixed-wing or helicopter applications. The ‘cockpit’ does not change that much.”

Ryan Aerospace is also featuring its HeliMod Mark III Plus+ at Heli Expo 2022 in Dallas. The Groh-led team is gathering additional data for this study from delegates “flying” the training device at this expo. 

The ERAU-based study is seeking to further influence regulators and leaders elsewhere in the training enterprise. “The argument that I am making is there is a significant reduction in training cost. There are things you can safely do in the simulator that you cannot do in the aircraft.” Beyond that, early, anecdotal results point to reduced training times for some learning tasks. 

As for the study’s near-term roadmap, Professor Groh concluded, “We’ll next start crunching the data from this event. We’ll make recommendations based on what the data say. The recommendations could be on currency for training, types of currency and other focal points. I’d like to say we can have some firm recommendations by the middle of this summer.”

Ryan Aerospace was awarded a series of contracts last year to supply nearly 300 jet fighter and helicopter training simulators to the US Air Force as part of the new program known as Pilot Training Transformation or PTT. 

Ryan was also the winner of the Small Business of the Year category in Military Simulation & Training (MS&T)’s annual Industry Simulation & Training Awards which recognizes excellence in the international defense community.