Loft Dynamics Makes Another World First

12 June 2024

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Image credit: Loft Dynamics

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has qualified Loft Dynamics’ helicopter external sling load (HESLO) simulation feature. The company believes this is the first qualified virtual reality (VR) HESLO simulator on the market, and it will enable operators to safely train pilots for critical transport missions.

Loft Dynamics’ Airbus H125 training device is the only VR simulator approved by a major regulatory authority, according the company. Thanks to a high-resolution panoramic view, accurate replication of flight physics, and a precise motion system, Loft Dynamics simulators allow pilots to realistically learn to fly sling loads on a simulator for the first time.

“Our simulator provides an exact replication of the helicopter and load behavior, even below a speed of 30 knots,” explains Fabi Riesen, founder and CEO of Loft Dynamics. “It’s essential for pilots to see the load in the electrically adjustable mirror and be able to look down vertically to position the cargo precisely. These are the core techniques for HESLO training, and our VR simulator replicates them more realistically than ever before.”

HESLO training is an essential capability for operators such as Air Zermatt, Helitrans, Heli Austria, Vertical Mission Training, and Mountainflyers. There’s an urgent need for qualified simulators to help pilots train for sling load operations, and Loft Dynamics provides the only training device that recreates the mirror and vertical reference techniques central to this training.

"It is incredibly challenging to accurately simulate HESLO, and it’s even more challenging to exceed rigorous regulatory standards,” says Riesen.

Pilots can begin their sling load practice in specific scenes and contexts according to a training syllabus developed by Loft Dynamics specialists. They can simulate the transportation of loads like boxes, concrete buckets, Bambi Buckets, and tree trunks with different rope lengths. More advanced setups simulate real-life transport missions like concrete work, enabling pilots to develop their skills step by step.

Loft Dynamics’ commissioned field study for EASA demonstrated the effectiveness of the sling load simulator: after training on the simulator, pilots could fly sling loads in real helicopters using a 20-meter rope without intervention from the instructor. "After a pilot initially trained on the Loft Dynamics simulator, it was the only time I didn’t have to take corrective actions at the controls during a first real-world sling load instruction flight," said André Mühlematter, pilot and instructor at Heli Austria.


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