Any pilot wishing to fly the new PC-24 must start by completing type-specific training. This includes theoretical basics, which the pilot then goes on to apply in the simulator. This training allows pilots to familiarise themselves with the aircraft in a "real-life environment", right up to the acquisition of a type rating, without actually having to fly the PC-24. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
The advent of the jet era at Pilatus takes the company into as yet uncharted territory in terms of pilot training. The PC-24 classified as a multi-engine aircraft, is subject to strict training requirements. For this purpose, Pilatus has teamed up with the leading aviation training organisation FlightSafety International (FSI). In the past four years, working in close consultation with Pilatus, FSI has developed the entire PC-24 training programme plus simulator. Type rating training for the PC-24 takes three weeks and is available to customers at the FSI Training Centre in Dallas, Texas, USA and from end of 2019 in Paris, France.
Flight simulator as core piece of training
In addition to the theory modules, training focuses on learning and memorizing cockpit procedures using graphic training devices plus a full-motion simulator (Level D). The simulator offers a highly realistic environment in which to train every conceivable scenario in safety. The cockpit, the controls and all system functions are identical to the actual aircraft. A high-resolution visual system provides an amazingly true-to-life view from the cockpit, where the operating environment and topography are projected in every detail, representing any time of the day and choice of weather conditions. The departure location may be freely selected from the global map database, allowing the pilot to train specific arrival and departure procedures, for example into London City Airport (EGLC).
The features, coupled with a motion system, are so close to the real-life experience that the pilot under training is unable to register any difference to the actual aircraft. Each course includes at least 14 training hours in the simulator. This, combined with the outstanding degree of realism, allows complete pilot training without actually having to fly the aircraft itself, thereby delivering a considerable reduction in training costs.
How the PC-24 simulator was built
The simulator was developed using PC-24 design data and parts. Pilatus engineering teams provided the required development data from the aircraft, forming the basis for designing and programming the simulator. Much of the work revolved around the collection and processing of large volumes of flight test data obtained during the PC-24 flight test programme. These represent the entire aircraft-operating envelope at all speeds, attitudes and altitudes – even beyond official operating limits – and were converted into an aerodynamic model for the simulation software. When paired with the systems data, which are also sourced directly from the aircraft, the software controls and actuates all systems, control forces, motion dynamics, flight and display systems, as well as the vision system itself.
The simulator as such, comprising of the motion system with six electromechanical actuators, the interior with cockpit and instructor station and all control units, is a modular system designed by FSI. The real PC-24 cockpit with a full avionics suite was integrated and coupled with the simulator function. Various system verifications and fine adjustments were performed with Pilatus pilots to ensure that all functions match the aircraft faithfully.
Customer training gets underway
The pilot training and its simulator were completed and certified in time for the delivery of the first PC-24 in January 2018, after which the first pilots from the American customer, PlaneSense, were successfully trained. Some 100 pilots will have taken the course by the end of 2018, qualifying them to operate the PC-24 safely around the world.