Colorado Highland Helicopters is the first US customer

Colorado Highland Helicopters (CHH), based in Durango, CO, is the first US helicopter operator to order a VRM H125 VR Training Solution. This purchase opens the door for US pilots to improve their competencies on an EASA qualified training concept.

Brandon Laird & Dayle Morningstar Laird
Picture: Colorado Highland Helicopters)
Brandon Laird & Dayle Morningstar Laird Picture: Colorado Highland Helicopters)

“CHH has been in contact with VRM Switzerland throughout the development of their product. Since the debut of the prototype and our presentation at the Heli-Expo in 2019, I had the opportunity to demo the machine at that time and found it to be profoundly unique. The fidelity of the VR interface and the response of the machine allow for immersion and realism that is unparalleled. A simulator of this quality allows for additional practice of basic maneuvers, but additionally allows emergency procedure recognition and recovery to a level that is not prudent or possible in an actual aircraft. The unique capability of this machine, however, is the ability to track and quantify the pilot’s visual response and reference. This allows new insight into why maneuvers are successful or unsuccessful and empirical data to compare.”

“I walked away saying to my wife, “If I taught you to fly that machine, I’d let you fly the helicopter”. She stopped and made me go back to introduce our company and establish contact.”

“Since that time, VRM has shown interest in the way CHH operates as an unconventional flight school and the instruction we provide at high altitude in mountainous terrain. We more closely model their existing partners, Mountain Flyers and Air Zermatt, than our US counterparts. CHH is proud to be partnered with VRM Switzerland as an early customer and is excited for the future of helicopter flight training with VR simulation” writes Brandon Laird, owner and chief pilot of Colorado Highland Helicopters.

Valuable collaboration brings sophisticated technology to the US

Colorado Highland Helicopters has ordered a VRM Virtual Reality Helicopter Training Solution for professional flight training. In April 2021, the first VR flight training device in a Robinson R22 configuration was successfully qualified with EASA. “The version of an Airbus H125 will follow shortly, showing the potential of such training equipment. FAA qualification is being sought in order to also obtain credits for pilot training under Federal Aviation Rules.” says Fabi Riesen, CEO of VRM Switzerland.

"I believe that in the years following the debut of this machine in the industry, helicopter flight training without a product of the type will not be feasible."
Brandon Laird
Brandon Laird, Owner and Chief Pilot of Colorado Highland Helicopters (CHH)

High Tech in Swiss Quality

VRM Switzerland’s sophisticated overall system creates a full-body immersion. It gives the pilot the feeling of sitting in a real helicopter. The highly dynamic motion platform allows the pilot to precisely feel the finest changes in attitude and touchdown on the ground. A numerical simulation enables the realistic representation of the flight behavior. The cockpit is modeled on the real helicopter. The pilot’s movements are displayed in the VR environment, enabling operation of the cockpit including haptic perception. In addition, the software is optimized for VR glasses. This has the great advantage that the pilot has exactly the same visual representation as in the real helicopter, which is unique.

VRM Switzerland Helicopter Flight Training Solutions

A wide range of training opportunities

A unique built-in flight assistance system which supports the flight instructor in guiding student pilots through basic maneuvers enables training to obtain a private pilot’s licence. A wide range of training options is covered, from commercial pilot training to special operations such as external sling load operation. Various emergency procedures, such as autorotations with landing and tail rotor failure, can be practiced safely. The high-resolution 360° 3D visual system enables demanding mission training to improve competencies even for highly experienced pilots.

About

VRM Switzerland is an innovative team of 30 passionate engineers, highly specialized developers, and dedicated aviation experts that has achieved the world’s first Aviation Authority qualification of a Virtual Reality Training Device with its Robinson R22 Training Solution. The entire mechanical design and electronic circuits are designed and coordinated in-house. Another strength of the team is its proximity to flight schools and operators. Swiss launching customers Mountain Flyers, the Heli Academy, development partner Air Zermatt, helicopter manufacturer Kopter and other specialists enable the development of sophisticated training solutions with optimal benefits. Several other European operators have already ordered this training solution.

Colorado Highland Helicopters is a family-owned helicopter operator based in Durango Colorado, providing helicopter services of all types with an emphasis on advanced instruction in a challenging mountain environment.

www.coloradohighlandhelicopters.com