Posted on: 12 July 2016 by Mark Howells
Viking Air’s sister company Pacific Sky Aviation will install the world’s first Twin Otter Level D full flight simulator (FFS) and seaplane trainer, along with a flat panel procedures trainer (FPT), later this year in Calgary, Alberta, in advance of the centre’s opening for Twin Otter training in March 2017.
This will be the world’s first FFS to feature a seaplane configuration, with Viking’s Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft as the launch platform. With the benefit of breakthroughs of integrated air, ground and water models and the latest simulation software and hardware, Twin Otter seaplane pilots will be able to perfect simulator takeoffs, landings and docking operations on a range of sea states, winds and water conditions, including glassy water. This realistic seaplane training capability will reduce the time and cost for operators to develop seaplane captains in a safe simulation environment.
The Twin Otter Level D simulator and FPT will be housed at Viking’s final assembly facility at Calgary International Airport. Originally planned to be located in Victoria, the companies selected Calgary as the simulator training facility following a strategic review of future growth and available facility options. As an international gateway, Calgary will also offer convenient flight connections for customers travelling from Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Michael Coughlin, CEO of Pacific Sky Aviation, commented, “We are excited that we will soon be able to offer Twin Otter operators the highest level of flight training experience for both wheeled and seaplane versions of the type. There is a shortage of qualified seaplane pilots today, and with the potential for significant growth in new seaplane markets in regions like China, Russia, and Vietnam, this simulator help meet the growing demand for seaplane pilots.”
The FFS and FPT are being manufactured by TRU Simulation + Training. TRU has developed the integration of flight and marine models that will drive the visual and motion cues to replicate aircraft performance in both the wheeled or seaplane configuration. Functional testing for the new simulator will start in August, acceptance testing will be completed in Montreal by November, installation will start in December in Calgary with qualification and regulatory acceptance in February 2017. Pacific Sky Aviation will soon be accepting bookings for Twin Otter Initial, Recurrent and Seaplane courses commencing March 2017.
“Our new training centre is the next stage of growth in our capabilities and capacity, continuing the momentum which has seen the company grow by over 300% in the past 5 years,” Coughlin added. “While our training business and principal facilities will continue to be headquartered in Victoria, this new facility expands our reach and establishes our company in the growing aviation and aerospace cluster in Calgary. Pacific Sky expects to hire additional staff in Victoria and more than a dozen people in Calgary to prepare for the start of simulator training.”
The Series 400 Twin Otter has received orders for more than 125 new aircraft to 29 countries worldwide, with the 100th production aircraft scheduled for delivery towards the end of 2016.