CHC Helicopter completes successful trial of virtual reality training for search and rescue crews

CHC Helicopter has announced it has successfully completed a trial collaboration with Priority 1 Air Rescue to deliver virtual reality (VR) training for its search and rescue (SAR) technical crew members.

The trial involved winch operators from CHC’s Ireland operations.

After the success of the trial, CHC will give all new winch operators Priority 1’s VR training, starting in Ireland before introducing it to other markets worldwide.

VR simulations allow CHC technical crew members to prepare and practice emergency procedures for a variety of SAR events in a safe, controlled and realistic environment, including those that could not be practiced in a live aircraft. Crews can perform and redo winch operations procedures in mock cabins and in a range of weather conditions.

This method is the first of its kind accepted by EASA and IAA.

Dennis Groeneveld, Director Flight Standards at CHC, said: “Safety is at the heart of CHC’s global operations. Our mission is to keep our people and passengers safe as we travel to remote and challenging destinations. We are delighted with how the trial performed and are excited to roll the program out more widely.

“Our technical crews must be properly prepared to perform emergency procedures and deal with challenging circumstances. This ground-breaking partnership with Priority 1 allows our crew members to repeatedly practice managing complex situations in a realistic but safe environment, ensuring they are fully equipped to act quickly and effectively in real world SAR events.”

Steve Barreau, Chief Operating Officer of Priority 1 Air Rescue France, added: “Our SAR training courses have been developed and designed with industry partners to equip them with the skills and abilities to perform optimally in any circumstances. Our Advanced Aircrew Mission Simulators (AAMS) are perfect for this type of realistic Search and Rescue training, and particularly for events that cannot be practiced in reality. It has been fantastic to see CHC Ireland crews making full use of our facilities to further their skills and practice complex procedures.”

CHC Helicopter celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.

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