The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Redbird VTO full motion helicopter trainer as an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD). This approval will allow pilots to credit a portion of the time spent training in the VTO towards the aeronautical experience requirements for the pilot certificate or rating being sought. For example, private pilot applicants will be able to credit up to 7.5 hours and instrument applicants may credit up to 20 hours of training time in the helicopter trainer.
“The Redbird VTO allows helicopter pilots to train more affordably, effectively, and efficiently,” said Todd Willinger, CEO of Redbird Flight Simulations. “And now that the VTO is approved as an Advanced Aviation Training Device it becomes an even more powerful tool.”
Currently, the Robinson R22 configuration of the VTO is approved. The approval as an AATD is valid for 5 years as long as the requirements of the FAA’s Letter of Authorization (LOA) are met. Flight training organizations operating a Redbird VTO under Part 61 regulations can begin crediting time as soon as they receive the LOA from Redbird. Those using the device in a Part 141 curriculum will also need to obtain authorization from their area FSDO that is assigned to the flight school.
The Redbird VTO was specifically designed to teach the two most difficult and time-consuming maneuvers, hovering and auto-rotation. The device moves along arc-shaped tracks to provide the feeling of being suspended from the rotor head. The innovative motion system provides cues so small, precise, and quick that the pilot feels the slightest deviations before even seeing it in the visuals. It is clean and quiet enough to operate in a small classroom, but robust enough to stand up to years of hard use. With a base price of $149,800, it is a trainer that is affordable for flight organizations of any size.