The simulator, or Flight Training Device (FTD) was designed and built by our pilot John Keller and engineer Grant Robinson in 2013 and it received its New Zealand Civil Aviation Certification in 2014. The certification allows pilots, under the authority and supervision of one of our qualified instructors, to carry out various components of “instrument flying” whereby the helicopter is controlled solely by using the aircraft’s on-board instruments rather than any outside reference points.

This heightened capability, combined with a comprehensive framework of Civil Aviation approved “pathways” or routes, means we are able to offer a more advanced, “all weather” pilot training service than any other rescue helicopter operation in New Zealand. The FTD also allows new pilots to learn skills necessary to fly on instruments, pilots to maintain their skills by flying a set number of hours per month and pilots to demonstrate their competency to a CAA flight examiner twice a year. It’s meant considerable savings by not having to use its helicopters for many of these services. The FTD is available to all pilots wanting to achieve any Instrument Flying qualifications, and we are happy to design and oversee a course to cater for pilots at any level.

The simulator is a virtual replica of the Sikorsky S–76 helicopters our pilots fly in real life rescue situations.

Built using the wreck of a Japanese Coastguard aircraft that was damaged during Japan’s 2011 tsunami, it is Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certified for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

Simulator training is significantly cheaper than pilot training in an actual helicopter and enables all-weather flight training. We can create scenarios that incorporate environmental or mechanical challenges that may carry significant risk, or more extreme scenarios that cannot be simulated in the actual helicopter.

For more information, email [email protected]