KUKA, Germany - IFR-Partner
Heli Trainer sets new standards in pilot training
The first flight hours of a helicopter pilot's training are particularly intensive and dangerous. This is why several approaches have already been taken in the development of flight simulation. In contrast, the aviation company Heli Aviation GmbH, the leader in robotic technology KUKA Roboter GmbH, and the Human Perception, Cognition and Action Department of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics are taking a different path and working together on the development of the Heli Trainer.
The aim of this joint project is to develop a realistic flight trainer that will enable pilot training to be effective, safe and cost-efficient. At the same time, the quality of the training remains at the same high level. This is because critical flight maneuvers can be repeated as often as required and simulated right up to a safe crash landing whereas in practical flight training, the flight instructor has to intervene immediately when incorrect flight control actions are made.
With the Heli Trainer, a pilot trainee requires less time to develop a feel for movements, understands the consequences of his flight control actions better and learns maneuvers in a safe environment with a steeper learning curve.
One of the greatest technical challenges of this project is to simulate the movements of complex, real systems in the smallest of spaces in order to give pilots the feeling that they are in a real aircraft. Stewart platforms are the most common motion simulators in use because they can move large payloads and can also achieve high accelerations. A major disadvantage however is their restricted workspace and motion range.
This is why the developers of the Heli Trainer are pursuing a new design based on the KUKA robot, type KR 500 TÜV, further developed for motion simulation by the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. A helicopter cell, type Guimbal Cabri G2, is attached to the 6-axis, heavy-duty robot with a carrying capacity of up to 500 kg. It has space for up to two people who can learn realistic helicopter maneuvers in an "original" cockpit. The robot from KUKA in Augsburg is the only industrial robot in the entire world certified to carry passengers. Thanks to its six degrees of freedom and its design, the robot offers a considerably larger workspace and range of motions than conventional platforms. As an option, a linear traversing axis can be added to the robot to simulate real landing and take-off maneuvers.