Elite simulators in Africa
The Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa’s leading helicopter training organisation, has ordered an Elite Evolution S723T FNPT II - the first Elite rotary-wing training simulator sold in Africa. The device will be installed at Starlite’s training academy at Mossel Bay Airfield and will be used to enhance helicopter flight training there – a location which, together with Starlite’s base at Durban Airport, has already trained over 1,000 helicopter pilots.
Starlite’s Managing Director Training and Chief Flying Instructor, Kate Odendaal, spent two days at Elite’s headquarters at Dübendorf, Switzerland, to assess the simulator and its performance and then placed the order. The Elite S723T replicates the twin engine Eurocopter AS355 and will have a 3-channel CAVE visual system, dual pilot layout with dynamic control loading on the cyclic and pedals, an original Garmin GNS430 GPS, and a navigation and RealView data base covering all of South Africa with specific ultra-high resolution airport insets for the airports at Mossel Bay, Durban, Port Elizabeth and George.
Elite’s Marketing and Sales Director, René Huddlestone, said: “We were so impressed with Kate Odendaal’s professional knowledge about everything to do with helicopters. We have sold fixed wing simulators in Africa but this is the first purchase in that continent of an Elite helicopter simulator, and we are very pleased that it has been ordered by the leading rotary-wing training organisation in South Africa.”
Starlite focuses on providing military standard aviation training, offering ab initio and specialised courses to the military, paramilitary, commercial and institutional sectors and continuously updates both the flight and ground school syllabi to meet changing civil and military criteria.
Kate Odendaal, who became Chief Flying Instructor at Starlite in 2009 and now leads a team of 11 rotary-wing instructors and who sits on the board of advisors of the Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace group, said of the purchase of the Elite S723T: “Starlite is honoured to be the launch customer for the Elite helicopter simulator in Africa. It is the first EASA, JAA, FAA, SACAA approved FNPT II helicopter simulator to be approved under the new South African Civil Aviation (SACAA) regulations of 2013. “We believe that the twin engine, multicrew, dual EFIS, fully IFR configuration will add significant value to the scope of training that we currently offer.
“I was very impressed with the real feel of the flight controls provided by the dynamic control loading and in particular during simulation of emergencies such as hydraulic failure, autorotations and tail rotor control failures.
Working closely with René Huddlestone and his team at Elite, who expertly interpreted our requirements, resulted in having the custom designed RealView 3D visuals of the areas in which we train developed specifically for our needs, as opposed to using generic views.
“With such an acquisition, Starlite has again positioned itself to deliver the highest standard of training, with added benefits to our diverse clientele list which includes the air forces, armies and police air wings of Southern Africa. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with the Elite team.”