Training Software to Lower Helicopter Accidents

ProPilots GmbH is introducing the world's first comprehensive training software for helicopter crews. By preparing crews for all manner of emergency situations, the software makes a lasting improvement to pilot, passenger and aircraft safety. Using a highly sophisticated development process, ProPilots has created special 3D training films which allow pilots to practice reacting to real-world emergency situations, as often as they want. While actual helicopter training hours are often limited by financial constraints and can provide training only in a small number of real-world emergency situations, the Internet-based ProPilots software can expose pilots to many more potential hazards and can be accessed anywhere at any time.

"Regular use of the training software is a great way to prepare pilots for any number of unforeseeable situations," says ProPilots founder and managing director Alexander Steffen. "We estimate that this kind of training can help avoid up to 80 percent of helicopter accidents in the future."

From the very beginning, ProPilots developed its training materials with an eye towards practical training for real-world situations: "Our approach is hands-on and based on real experience," says Steffen. "Purely theoretical knowledge will often remain in the realm of theory and there is hardly any literature available. The problem is, you get into that critical situation and fail to make the right decision or maneuver."

Steffen himself has over 25 years of experience, including 7,500 helicopter flying hours. He is a flight instructor and professional trainer in the area of flight operation and emergency procedure, who has experienced hazardous situations himself as a pilot.

Emergency situations are a regular occurrence in air traffic. In such situations, accidents occur most often due to pilot error, resulting from lack of experience and lack of familiarity with emergency situations. These situations require very quick action and a very steady hand, and lack of experience, knowledge and preparation can result in death and millions in damages.

ProPilots analyzes aviation accidents caused by things like engine fire, tail rotor failure, bad weather and thunderstorms, and has built the corresponding sequences into the software. With the help of flight animations, pilots are then put into these kinds of real-world emergency situations, for example having to regain control of the aircraft or performing an emergency landing. The films clearly illustrate the causes, effects and the complex interactions involved so that pilots have enough background information and exposure to intuitively make the right decisions when these kinds of extreme situations actually occur in flight. The software, which features a total of four training modules and 5.5 hours of material, also includes animated videos with questions covering the most important topics.

"We had several reasons for launching this project," says Steffen. "We want to prepare pilots better and help reduce the number of accidents. Our goal was to create the perfect complement to real flying. Unfortunately, government agencies, flight schools, private air transportation companies or private owners almost always limit their in-flight training to the minimum required hours due to financial constraints."

Even before its official market launch, ProPilots has already acquired its first customer, the German company Air Lloyd.

Additional information is available at www.propilots.com (starting 1 October) where private pilots, aviation companies and government agencies can also access a demo version of the training software.

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