Training Fit for a King
A U.S. Marine Corps pilot operates a CH-53K King Stallion over the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range during a training exercise in California. Photo by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Ready for Anything
The containerized flight training device, or CFTD, is a portable full-mission flight simulator that allows flight crews to train on the full scope of heavy lift missions.
The Marines are currently training with the CFTD at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
“There’s nothing we cannot program it to do that we would not find in real life,” Capt. Nick Moran, U.S. Marine Corps operational test pilot for the CH-53K and CH-53E, said in 2020.
In a highly immersive virtual environment, the CFTD replicates the functionality, flight characteristics, mission profiles and unmatched capabilities of the aircraft. The device can also replicate various environmental conditions the aircraft is likely to fly in.
Maintenance for the Mission
The helicopter emulation maintenance trainer, or HEMT, and the composite maintenance trainer, or CMT, are purpose-built for maintenance training.
The HEMT is a computer-based lab that familiarizes the mechanic with maintenance tasks. By virtually depicting the inside and outside of the aircraft and providing feedback, maintainers learn many of the maintenance functions prior to working on the aircraft.
The CMT is a full-scale mock-up of the aircraft and is the final step in familiarizing the maintainer with the aircraft.
The device allows students to interact with physical controls to learn to remove and install hardware and perform functional checks. An instructor operating system assigns tasks and monitors progress for focused feedback.
The composite maintenance trainer allows students to interact with physical controls.
An Immersive Experience
Training allows for the creation of an environment that is realistic to a real aircraft, with safety as a priority.
Sean Cattanach, senior program manager of the CH-53K training system, said, “Because the trainer was developed alongside the aircraft itself, the flight trainer and the maintenance trainers are incredibly accurate to the real experience of working with the helicopter.”
The CH-53K, which can lift 36,000 pounds, is the most powerful heavy lift helicopter ever built in the United States. The King Stallion’s technologically advanced design will meet the future warfighting requirements for decades to come.