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Expodefensa 2019: Sikorsky experiencing record interest in Colombian Black Hawk simulator

Sikorsky is experiencing record interest from Latin American militaries in a six-axis Black Hawk utility helicopter simulator based in Colombia, according to a company executive.

Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky Latin America regional executive and product marketing director, told reporters on 3 December at Expodefensa 2019, held from 2 to 4 December in Bogota, Colombia, that this simulator is the only six-axis, full-motion, Level D type Black Hawk simulator outside the US. Schierholz said the simulator had 1,000 hours when he took over as regional executive in 2012.

The cockpit view of Sikorsky’s six-axis Black Hawk helicopter simulator located in Melgar, Colombia. (Sikorsky)

The cockpit view of Sikorsky’s six-axis Black Hawk helicopter simulator located in Melgar, Colombia. (Sikorsky)

The simulator, located at the Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana: FAC) base in Melgar, is on pace to surpass 3,000 hours in 2019 alone. Schierholz told Jane’s after the briefing that Sikorsky is pleased with this large amount of usage because the simulator has an approximately 3,500 hour capacity without adding a third shift.

The simulator set usage records in 2017 and 2018. It arrived later than expected in Colombia in 2012, Schierholz said, and started operation in 2013.

A six-axis simulator simulates the actual flight of a helicopter, enabling movement in all the different directions as an actual rotary-wing aircraft. It provides high-fidelity views outside the cockpit and is considered one of the most complex aircraft simulation devices.

Schierholz said costs increase as the corresponding complexity of a simulator increases, but the training is more similar to what an operator would get actually flying an aircraft, which has a much greater cost than using the six-axis simulator.

Sikorsky attributes record usage of its six-axis Black Hawk simulator in Colombia to better promotion, the Colombian Air Force choosing to use it more instead of flying to the US, and trading simulator time with other Latin American militaries. (Sikorsky)

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