Deputy Commander Fleet Air Arm Captain Grant O’Loughlan took possession of three Ryan Aerospace HELIMOD Mark III virtual reality helicopter simulators at an official handover ceremony earlier this week at HMAS Albatross, Nowra.
The three simulators will be used by the Fleet Air Arm’s Naval Aviation Prospects Scheme as an engagement tool to attract the interest of aspiring aircrew.
CAPT O’Loughlan, who has a background in helicopters, said that he was impressed and somewhat surprised by the realism of the new simulators. The units take advantage of improved capability of virtual reality technology. According to CAPT O'Loughlan, these simulator units will be a valuable asset for Navy in supporting Defence Force Recruiting.
“[I'm] delighted to partner with the Navy to develop a bespoke system in conjunction with the highly popular HELIMOD Mark III product launched earlier this year," Managing Director of Ryan Aerospace Chris Ryan said.
In addition to the HELIMOD Mark III helicopter simulator units, Ryan Aerospace developed an accompanying unit comprising a PC and monitor with integrated cabling and head-tracking sensors. This allows spectators to see on a display screen what the pilot is seeing in the virtual reality goggles. The simulators also have motion actuators attached.
Ryan Aerospace expects the portable simulators to be in constant use as they travel around the country to various events, including the Avalon Air Show in February.
The handover ceremony in Nowra earlier this week reportedly attracted significant interest from CAPT Fiona Sneath, Commanding Officer HMAS Albatross, and Commanding Officers from Fleet Air Arm Squadrons.
In a statement, Ryan said the HELIMOD Mark III has also attracted interest from an international Navy, which will be participating in a trial program in December.