Have you ever dreamt of flying a helicopter. For a lot of people this dream will never become reality because of the huge costs of flying this type of aircraft. Or not . . . ?

Since a few months, there is an alternative which is as good, or maybe better that the real experience.

Youngsters from all over the world have bundled their knowledge and expertise in the web-community of SkyWirlies, a toy helicopter company started a few years ago, to create a low-cost hyper realistic helicopter flight simulator.

By combining a SkyBeetle toy helicopter, high resolution cameras, google-glasses and classic flight simulator controls, these kids created one of the most realistic flight simulators ever, for a fraction of the cost of a professional simulator.

US army test pilot Michael Old has been test flying helicopters for the past 15 years. He is amazed by the flying experience reached by the system. “It is just incredible to see that young people from all over the world, who have never even met in person, collaborate in a web community to make such a sophisticated piece of equipment. This simulator is comparable to the ones we use in the US Army. However, a professional simulator costs around 400 $ per hour to run, while this system costs less than 3 $ per hour!”.

Meanwhile the first flight cadets with SkyBeetle experience have entered the US Army Flight Academy. The results are astonishing: 92% of all recruits with SkyBeetle experience make it to advanced flight training, while only 24% of the other recruits pass.

“We feel these guys [who have flown SkyBeetles] understand perfectly the dynamics of flying choppers”, say flight instructor Sammy Claus who has been training recruits for 10 years. “I think we should seriously consider changing our training methods. These SkyBeetles will never eliminate the need for real-life flying lessons, but they could cut out a very significant portion of it at a fraction of the cost”.

The CEO of the company manufacturing the toy helicopters, comments: “About 2 years ago I decided to fire the management team and to start from zero with a team of young professionals from the pharmaceutical, telecommunications and airline business. These guys had just finished an MBA at a famous business school and were boiling with ideas. Right after the first week, I knew this was a winning team. They optimized the production, set out a strategy based on innovation and quality and they changed the landscape in which we operate. We are no longer a toy manufacturing company, but the keystone of a complete ecosystem turning around the helicopter flying experience and the technological challenges of these machines. Youngsters from all over the world are working together to improve performance and add functionalities to their models.”

The Sky Wirlies helicopters are built around the CCS (Communication and Control System) which was developed by SkiWirlies and Terpa, the Belgian manufacturer of high-tech sensors and control systems.

 



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