"Affordable" Helicopter Simulator Makes Debut

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An Australian company has developed what it claims is the first affordable helicopter flight simulator. Geosim Technologies unveiled its AUD$70,000 sim in Brisbane on Friday after it received certification from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The company says it's one of only three helicopter simulators available and is half the price of the others. That, said Paul Brederick, the managing director of Aviation Australia, will make the Aussie device accessible to cash-strapped GA operators where helicopters are most often found. By enhancing training at the grassroots level, Brederick said it's hoped that the accident rate for helicopters can be reduced. Brederick said a U.S. study found that 81 percent of 3,000 fatal chopper crashes in the last 40 years were attributable to skills deficiencies. The new simulator will get its first workout with Australian Helicopters, which operates nighttime coastal surveillance flights in the Torres Strait area. CEO David Earley said the demanding flying of his operation requires extra training and the new simulator should be able to help.