PHOTO CREDIT: Thales

Thales won Level D certification in China for an A320 full flight simulator for Sichuan Airlines. One of two FFSs in a package that also includes a formation systems trainer device, the simulator was awarded to the company earlier this year in a contract valued at more than $20 million. It features a designated eM2K electronic motion system that uses hydraulic mass compensation and transmission, eliminating the requirements for an HPU and associated piping and facilities such as chilled water. Costs incurred for the system are estimated to be 80% cheaper than traditional hydraulic motion systems, which require much more oil. "This approval is the world's first for the eM2K motion system and so is a major milestone in this landmark development," said Thales Simulation VP Chris Gane. The simulators can be used for zero flight time conversions from one aircraft type to another with similar characteristics. In ZFT conversions, the pilot, under close supervision by a training captain, first flies the aircraft on a paying passenger flight. The formation systems trainer offers simulation fidelity in a classroom, replicating the aircraft through avionics software and advanced modeling. "The flexibility of the formation systems trainer demonstrates how technology can improve training, enhancing the airline's ability to develop its aircrew," Gane pointed out. Thales currently has 20 full flight simulators and nine lower level training devices in operation in China. "China is an important market for us and we are currently the supplier of choice in this growth market," Gane added. "Even with the economic downturn, the Chinese aerospace market will continue to expand, as will the required number of training devices."