The Bend, Oregon-based flight academy announced that its partnership with the nearby community college allowed the program to become the first of its type in the United States to offer students realistic training in Frasca International’s Level 5 flight training device, which simulates a four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter.
Billy Ringer, the chief helicopter instructor for Leading Edge, said the simulator challenges students with realistic flight tasks and maneuvers so they can “rigorously practice” real-world scenarios such as landing at offshore oil rigs or flying in instrument meteorological conditions. Ringer said the R44 simulator also allows low-G pushovers “as only can be experienced in the Level 5 FTD.”
He explained that the technology “gives students a leg-up” because it helps them better prepare in a safe and controlled environment for situations they are likely to encounter as certificated helicopter pilots. A percentage of simulator flight hours can be applied to a student’s flight log so it’s also a cost-effective means of gaining helicopter flight proficiency, which can be challenging in a constantly moving flight environment.
Leading Edge Aviation has been a fixture in the community for 20 years, and the flight academy also offers fixed-wing flight training.
In addition to helicopter training, Central Oregon Community College offers fixed-wing, unmanned, and associate of applied science aviation degree programs.