Blackcomb Helicopters acquires Loft Dynamics’ VR Flight Simulator
Canadian helicopter operator Blackcomb Helicopters has acquired Loft Dynamic’s VR Flight Simulator to deliver virtual reality (VR) training devices for rotary pilots.
Blackcomb Helicopters, based in Whistler, British Columbia, will deploy Loft Dynamics’ simulator expertise to increase its flight training capabilities while also removing the safety risks and the carbon emissions of in-flight training. Both organisations will work with Transport Canada (TC) to demonstrate the technology’s safety and training value across Canadian aviation.
The operator will locate Loft Dynamics’ VR Airbus H125 training device at its Boundary Bay Airport location, in Metro Vancouver. Developed in partnership with Airbus Helicopters’ engineers and test pilots, the simulator is an exact replica of the Airbus H125 helicopter, which is widely used in Blackcomb’s fleet. The simulator is equipped with a 3D high-resolution panoramic view and a dynamic six-degrees-of-motion platform. It also has a full-replica cockpit featuring a pose tracking system to offer realistic flying experiences.
Loft Dynamic’s simulator is only VR flight simulation training device (FSTD) to achieve FTD Level 3 qualification from EASA (equivalent to FAA FTD7). This qualification allows pilots to complete proficiency checks, periodic H125 flight training, and operational check rides from the device.
Chris Haslock, director of operations, Blackcomb Helicopters said the company’s pilots navigated challenging coastal and mountainous conditions where training was inherently dangerous. “With Loft Dynamics’ simulators, we’re able to customise weather conditions, visual cues, and landscapes based on what is typically encountered,” he said. “So, it’s the exact in-flight experience without compromising safety and with zero carbon emissions. It’s a complete gamechanger.”
Fabi Riesen, founder and CEO, Loft Dynamics welcomed the acquisition. “Our technology has significantly improved pilot safety and skills in complex conditions and scenarios, whether it’s search-and-rescue missions in the Swiss Alps or heli tours in the Colorado Rockies. We look forward to bringing these benefits to Blackcomb and working together to showcase a more sustainable, safe, and scalable future for aviation –– in Canada and beyond.”
The financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Loft Dynamics was formerly known as VRM Switzerland.
Meanwhile, according to an operational update on Blackcomb Helicopter’s site: “We are currently responding to the extreme wildfire activity across Canada with the majority of our fleet. At this time we are at a reduced capacity for non emergency bookings and ask for your patience and understanding.”
Above: The acquisition of the simulator is “a complete gamechanger”.
Top: L to R, Chris Haslock, Blackcomb and Fabi Riesen, Loft Dynamics.