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Flight Trainer Gets Gesture Control

Jan. 10, 2013 - 03:34PM   |  
By ALAN DRON   |   Comments
DECKsim can be configured to represent a variety of helicopters and ships. The Norwegian version will feature the Scandinavian nation's Eurocopter NH90 shipborne helicopters.
DECKsim can be configured to represent a variety of helicopters and ships. The Norwegian version will feature the Scandinavian nation’s Eurocopter NH90 shipborne helicopters. (SEA)
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LONDON — The third generation of the Flight Deck Officer Training System (DECKsim) features gesture recognition that can train officers to guide helicopters using natural movements.

The U.K.-based Systems Engineering & Assessment delivered DECKsim to the Royal Norwegian Naval Training Establishment. The program uses a camera attached to the simulator points toward the student and captures arm and hand movements as the officer guides the helicopter down. It also generates an appropriate response from the on-screen helicopter.

The system uses commercial off-the-shelf technology by adapting Microsoft’s Kinect, and is designed to allow rapid development of training scenarios within a high-fidelity synthetic environment.

DECKsim can be used for maritime or land-based flight deck operations and is intended for quick configuration and deployment, according to SEA.

Other new features to the third generation of the system also include a fully dynamic Ship Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOL) computer simulation system; updated scenario builder with an improved graphical user interface; further emergency training scenarios; and enhancements to the visual effects in the simulation engine.

The simulator uses a 6-meter by 3-meter screen, and the software can be configured to represent any combination of helicopter and vessel.

“Norway is using the Eurocopter NH90 on it, together with a representation of its new Nansen-class frigates,” said SEA project manager Ben Webb.

Any change in either helicopter or vessel (or land base) can be achieved by a system reconfiguration and 53 different evolutions can be practiced on the simulator. These range from basic aircraft marshalling and attaching deck lashings to the helicopter’s undercarriage to complex vertical replenishment or in-flight refueling, with the helicopter hovering just above the deck.

“Over the last few years Norway, as well as many other nations, has been suffering from reduced budgets, but we are obliged to do the same work for less cost,” said Jarl Inge Nielsen, Chief of Helicopter Branch, Centre of Tactics and Doctrine at Norway’s Haakonsvern naval base. “The main need behind the simulator is saving money and being able to educate more students within the same timeframe.”

With this in mind, he said, the simulator would help to weed out unsuitable candidates.

“The student will have increased their capability before the seagoing phase. The students that do not perform well in the simulator will not participate in the sea phase,” he said. “That way we will not use valuable flight hours on students that are likely to fail the exam. The simulator will also be a tool to maintain flight deck officers’ skills, which will also save valuable flight hours that can be used for operational flights.”

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