Based in Alberta, Canada, AIRmarket is a leading company specializing in the integration of data, hardware, software, and wireless technologies to provide unmanned traffic management services for commercial purposes. The company uses the Cobalt 110 VTOL UAS platform for highly demanding Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) technology demonstration missions. We sat down with Cale Griffith, AIRmarket's Chief Pilot, to discuss how they rely on SIMNET's cloud-based UAS simulation platform as an essential tool for both pilot training and day-to-day operations, supporting the safety and effectiveness of their operations.
The use of commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) applications is gaining prominence around the world, driven by technological advances in the areas of Unmanned Air Traffic Management (UTM), cellular-based communications, as well as the continued evolution of UAS regulations. These missions sometimes involve larger, more complex aircraft which can cover hundreds of kilometers on a single mission. With the increased capabilities, come increased risks and safety considerations. These risks can be mitigated through the use of robust simulation solutions, which can facilitate not only pilot training and currency but also can aid in day-to-day operations.
AIRmarket, based in Alberta Canada, is one of the leaders working to make routine BVLOS UAS operations a reality. Their X platform is based on the 15.5 ft (4.7m) wingspan Cobalt 110, which they use to carry out long-range operations on missions typically covering over 200km. AIRmarket relies heavily on SIMNET simulations to ensure the optimal and safe operation of this high-value asset on each mission. We sat down with AIRmarket’s chief pilot, Cale Griffith, who delved into how SIMNET simulator helps them achieve their mission.
How do you use SIMNET for pilot training and concurrency?
We fly a large aircraft, on challenging flights involving altitudes below 400ft, terrain following and ranges of hundreds of kilometers. The complexity of our operations demands great rigor in our procedures and training. SIMNET allows us to train on these procedures using an accurate simulation of the flight characteristics of our aircraft and its flight control system. We use simulated training to gain an in-depth understanding of the aircraft's behavior in different modes, including terrain following, return-to-home, and fail-safe modes. We also practice the process of planning and executing autonomous missions using our ground control station software. In addition, we simulate and train on emergency scenarios such as loss of signal and loss of power.
Do you have any examples of SIMNET training paying off in the field?
Certainly. On one flight we had a malfunction in one of the vertical landing motors, which prevented us from transitioning the aircraft for a vertical landing. This was an emergency scenario that we had practiced in SIMNET. We followed our procedures and landed the aircraft safely on its skids in forward flight. It didn't even roll over on landing.
How do you use SIMNET to support AIRmarket’s flight operations?
Before we go on a mission in the field, we run it through SIMNET. This allows us to prepare for the mission and know what to expect when we go into the field. I like to know that I have done everything in my power to anticipate and prepare for potential problems, it certainly helps me sleep better at night.
How do you see SIMNET being useful for AIRmarket in the future?
As we grow, we will recruit more pilots. I know that SIMNET will be fundamental to how we train and assess their skills in the future. SIMNET can help pilots to develop muscle memory, and good habits and learn and practice procedures. We plan to use SIMNET's ability to create customized training courses and training scenarios to standardize and automate our training process. This will give me more time as a chief pilot to reinvest in our pilots. We also do regular concurrency training, which SIMNET would help to facilitate. I think SIMNET is going to be really important.
All in all, I’ve been very happy with SIMNET, and I believe I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do.
Contact us today to learn how SIMNET can help your organization improve and automate training, as well as streamline operations. www.simnet.aero/contact