Safety and efficiency in helicopter rescue operations thanks to combined virtual and real-life training

14 November 2022

Helicopter rescue missions and the digital training of rescue teams: an immersive experience between the virtual world and reality that increases training efficiency and sustainability.

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The success of a rescue mission depends on extremely precise and coordinated steps and actions that are essential to making a difference in an emergency. Combined real life and virtual training on advanced simulation systems provides experience of every intervention scenario, allowing helicopter rescue crews to better cope with the unexpected during field operations.

The Modular Interactive Trainer for Helicopter Operators (MITHOS) simulator, specifically designed and developed by Leonardo to train helicopter operators, replicates complex and dangerous operations in a physical and virtual environment, preparing the crew to react swiftly in any emergency.

Tested at the Sesto Calende Leonardo Training Academy by the instructors of the Scuola Nazionale Tecnici del Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico (National Mountain and Speleological Rescue School), in the future, MITHOS will be connected to a Full Flight Simulator, where flight crew training takes place, so that the pilot and cabin crew can experience the same environment and collaborate in a more effective manner.

Based on a 1:1 scale helicopter cabin equipped with a winch, the simulator provides a fully immersive experience, and can simulate both the cabin and external operational environment, thanks to a visor helmet and smart touch gloves. This rationalises the training process, which, until a few years ago, would have been carried out in a real helicopter, which made training a much more complex process that could not perfectly recreate the multitude of operational scenarios that simulation provides. In addition, there are clear sustainability benefits, with a significant reduction in in-flight training of between 40 and 60%, with a subsequent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution.

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