Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) has selected VRM Switzerland as the most suitable company for a research partnership and has purchased a virtual reality helicopter simulator. At the Centre for Aviation, the team for Flight Mechanics and Flight Control Systems uses the simulator for projects in its fields of interest (flight mechanics and flight control system) as well as in human factor and human‐machine-interface. A motion‐based simulator is required because motion feedback to the pilot is fundamental to achieve the required realism in various flight conditions, such as hover operation close to the ground or upset recovery training in general aviation. In addition, it should take advantage of VR technology.
The team for Flight Mechanics and Flight Control Systems will use and further develop the simulator for a variety of research and development purposes. The university will use the simulator mainly to simulate helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft that can hover close to the ground. This requires a high-resolution visual system and a dynamic motion system to provide the pilot with the required visual references and perceptions. “This is fundamental to the reality of the simulation experience for the pilot” Dr. Pierluigi Capone emphasizes.
The university offers 9 different bachelor’s degree programs. The Centre for Aviation is the only one in Switzerland which offers a degree in aviation. Prof. Dr. Thomas Järmann, Head of Teaching at ZHAW says: «The majority of our lecturers come from the world of business and carry out research and development projects together with partners from the industry. The results flow directly into the lessons and guarantee an up‐to-date and practical study program. Dr. Pierluigi Capone has a degree of MSc in Aerospace Engineering and specializes in Design and Development of Flight Control Systems for fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
VRM Switzerland is market leader in the development and construction of VR simulators for helicopter pilot training. The innovative team is the first to receive an EASA qualification for an FNPT II based on VR technology. The sophisticated overall system creates a full‐body immersion. This gives the pilot the feeling of sitting in a real helicopter. A unique feature is the highly dynamic motion platform, developed and built in‐house. It allows the pilot to precisely feel the finest changes in attitude and touchdown on the ground. The numerical simulation enables the realistic representation of the flight behaviour. A pose-tracking system maps the pilot’s movements in the virtual environment, enabling operation of the exactly modelled cockpit, including haptic perception, as in the real helicopter.