1st-AOMUA! A 1st for PH courtesy of Omni Aviation PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 August 2011 15:01

By ISMAEL AMIGO

SUBIC Freeport – Unknown to many Filipinos, our country is in to be in step with other progressive ASEAN countries like Malaysia to owning or introduce top of the line US-made Redbird flight simulators.

And that is through the efforts of Omni Aviation Corporation (OAC), which is decidedly considered a Philippines’ premier flight instruction and aviation service provider based in Clark Field.

OAC president and chairman Ret. Captain Ben Hur Gomez said the new “Redbird LD” Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) and supporting “Redbird TD” Glass Cockpit Simulator are of utmost importance to any flight school like Omni as it will enhance their students’ aircraft training in line with global flight crew training expectations.

Now up and humming at Omni’s flight school branch here, the US-made Redbird LD is only the second simulator of its type in Asia assembled in partnership with Global Training Solutions Provider Blackhawk Inc.

“We’re very pleased that we partnered with Blackhawk because now we can offer our students this level of advanced simulator,” said Capt. Gomez in a rare tete-a-tete over tea at their sprawling aviation school in Clark last week.
Omni’s place used to be the flight club of American GI’s of yesteryears.

“The use of Redbird simulators to train our students dramatically enhances the overall training experience.  Incorporation of realistic scenarios enables students to develop a higher level of pilot decision-making thereby improving aviation safety. Our students will graduate better prepared to handle emergencies.  The experience of flying these simulators will be of tremendous value to student pilots from day one in their training,” Capt. Gomez added.

Omni’s Redbird “LD” simulator has interchangeable cockpits and control force loading and allows for single engine training in a standard Cessna 172 configuration and multi-engine training in a Piper Seneca.

The supporting Redbird “TD” simulator replicates a Garmin G1000 equipped “Glass Cockpit” version of the Cessna 172, featuring a digital cockpit similar to what airline pilots experience when they transition to Airbus and Boeing aircraft, explained Blackhawk’s Managing Director Trevor Evans, a former US military pilot.

The Redbird’s full replica cockpit is lined with wraparound computer screens where a real plane’s windscreen would be and houses a control panel with all the buttons and knobs normally found in a small aircraft. 

Equipped with six monitors dedicated only to external views and two monitors for the instrument panel, this high-quality, wrap-around visual system helps pilots experience the sensation of flight and enhances training by allowing the pilot to practice procedures and maneuvers that are not possible with other flight training devices.

A computer program allows Omni’s instructors to simulate different flight conditions due to turbulence, weather conditions and aircraft systems failure with the touch of a stylus on a large handheld screen, letting would-be pilots test their mettle before they are plunged into real in-air experiences.

The Redbird also includes an intercom system that is compatible with standard pilot headsets.  This allows the instructor to act as Air Traffic Control so the student can build radio communication skills.

In addition to being realistic, the Redbird also offers students flexibility in their schedules.
The simulator can be used when flying outdoors is not possible due to bad weather perhaps even as it allows pilots to train in nighttime or daytime flying conditions regardless of the time of day.

The Redbird makes it possible to repeat, pause and analyze each maneuver, and to eliminate unproductive flight time to and from practice areas.  The students acquire and maintain much more proficiency, in much less time and for much less money than traditional training methods.

“Simulators have been around for a long time, the military and the airlines have used them for years. You would think that most flight schools would use simulators in ways that are similar to how they are used by the professionals, but that has not been the case until recently,” Evans said.

“With the introduction of glass panel technology, the US FAA and the CAAP has been encouraging more use of simulators in general aviation and since the aircraft manufacturers are choosing to include glass panels as a standard, many flight schools need to rethink their current policies,” Evans added.

“It shows great insight that Omni chose to pioneer the use of these simulators in the Philippines, what’s more, CAAP regulations now allow flights in the simulators to be credited towards the hour building requirements for pilot licenses, which lowers the cost of flight training for the student.”

Evans and Capt. Gomez also pointed out that there are many things that you can do in a simulator that you would never even try in an aircraft.

For example, for instrument flight training, you could simulate one half-mile visibility in a severe thunderstorm and low oil pressure. 

For VFR (Visual Flight Rule) pilots, you can set the student up for low visibility and bad weather cross-country scenarios that a flight school or flight instructor would never want that pilot to try on a real cross-country. 

The US FAA and the CAAP, by emphasizing scenario-based training and cockpit resource management training, are inherently encouraging a change in perspective between flight schools and the use of simulators.

“There’s much less stress and fear of the unknown when students perform the maneuvers in the simulator,” Capt. Gomez said. “They’re more relaxed the first time
they attempt the maneuvers in an airplane because they’ve already seen or experienced them in the simulator.

But Capt. Gomez explained that simulators can never be considered as actual substitute for performing the maneuvers in the air.  But, he said, a student’s performance in the airplane is greatly enhanced because they’re not encountering the maneuvers for the first time.”  — Mobile 0915-5517486/Email: esns03@yahoo.com