Dr. Michael Mayrhofer

Dr. Michael Mayrhofer, CEO, Norwegian Competence Centre Helicopters NCCH AS

Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, TU München

Masters degree in aeronautics and astronautics, TU München
PhD in aeronautics and astronautics, TU München
MBA degree from private university PEF Vienna

AMST Systemtechnik GmbH, Ranshofen, Austria
Responsible project manager for DESDEMONA

Product Technology Manager DESDEMONA
Technical and communications project manager for short arm human centrifuge SAHC for space research
Product Technology Manager, SAHC
Head of Technology at AMST-Aviation GmbH
Technical Advisor at Austrian Cockpit Association ACA (Member IFALPA) of flight simulation training devices requirements
Member of EASA rulemaking RMT.0196 of flight simulation training devices requirements
Head of Regulatory and Strategic Affairs at Reiser Simulation and Training
CEO of NCCH AS (Norwegian Competence Centre Helicopter)

Mixed Reality Training in FFS: Next-Level Multi-Crew Coordination

The way for better training of pilots in aviation has been paved by achievements in technology together with improved training curriculum. At the beginning of the aviation era a very basic flight trainer, consisting of a barrel and some wooden boards, allowed task-fitted and safe training on the ground prior to taking the risk of an airborne flight. The successor, the Link Trainer, already allowed training of sensomotorical skills of pilots while interactively stimulating the human visual system along with some basic motion cues. 

Almost one century later engineers are able to build high-reality simulator devices which enable zero-flight-time training of pilots. These systems are already widely used for improving multi-crew coordination tasks in the fixed-wing airliner business.

Full-flight simulators are also used in rotary-wing pilot training. One main domain of helicopters is HEMS (helicopter emergency medical service) and SAR (search and rescue). Typically this operation is done by multi-crew operation, where each crew member has its own duties. Despite operational concepts which differ from operator to operator, a widely known practice is to fly these missions with a crew of three people – one pilot, one HEMS crew member and a MCM (medical crew member). All crew members have different responsibilities, but do require overlapping competences. A crucial element for safe operation is proper crew coordination and communication. The core tasks of the MCM at the back-seat are operating the rescue equipment (winch, sling rope, side door, …) in concert with the flying action performed by the pilot and coordinated with the rescue crew person.

Nowadays, new FFSs, which have included the back-seater position including the sliding door and present the other environment in virtual reality (MCM wearing VR glasses), allow seamless training of the whole crew. Central are semi-transparent VR glasses, which activate a transparent mode for all areas, where the MCM looks into the cabin (pilot, instruments, HEMS crew member) and provides a virtual image of the outside areas, where the MCM looks out of the cabin (terrain, rescue man, rope, injured person on ground …) The technology will be discussed and feedback from the training perspective (operator and customer) will be provided. In addition, some of the ‘new’ simulator-based training tasks will be discussed.