Interpretation of Results
Before we apply a meaningful explanation to the results, we should recall the major assumption of the study. It was assumed that the countries included in the research had, or would have been willing to create, the appropriate organization, mechanisms and procedures to effectively integrate simulator training within their flight training programs, such as ISD and SAT processes to develop and integrate instructional materials to support the learning objectives.
Such a system is vital to determining the exact tasks that must be trained on a simulator to achieve combat proficiency, and thus determining the minimum monthly simulator hours per crew, that the country can utilize. In other words, such a process should provide us with the optimum number of training devices that a country can utilize. What the research did was to identify the optimum number of training devices that a country would utilize for helicopter training, if a system similar to the one used by countries that already have simulators, such as the USA, the UK, France, and Germany, was adopted.
A Meaningful Explanation
The application of the regression models, for each helicopter type of a country, provides the optimum quantity of motion simulators, non-motion simulators and the optimum total number of training devices, for that particular helicopter type, that this country should use to achieve its training goal: pilots to become combat ready. For example, if the application of the models for a country calls for one motion simulator, two non-motion simulators, and two devices as a total, we should interpret the results by saying: “Country’s helicopter fleet can support one motion simulator, two non-motion simulators, but it can not support more than two training devices, as a total”.
The numbers of predicted devices though are not integers but decimals. If the predicted decimal number is greater than the closest integer and the country buys as many simulators as the integer suggests, then the simulators will not provide the appropriate time for all their training needs. On the contrary, if the closest integer is greater than the predicted number of simulators, and the country buys as many simulators as the integer suggests, then the simulators will be underutilized, because the country has not enough pilots to train in the simulators it purchased.
For example, if the predicted number of simulators is .75 and one simulator is purchased, then a 25 percent underutilization of the simulator should be expected. This means that 25 per cent of the available simulator training time will not be utilized by the owner, and this time could be provided to other armies for their training needs. On the contrary, if the predicted number of simulators is 1.25 and one simulator is bought, then the simulator will not fulfill all training needs of its owner. An extra 25 percent of training should be outsourced to another country’s simulator, or transferred to the helicopter.
The predicted numbers are not absolute, though. They were based on the number of helicopters. The best option would be the results to have been based on the real number of pilots that each country trains, but such information is classified and not easy to acquire. Anyone with enough information on the number of pilots or crews per helicopter that NATO European countries maintain can easily transform the predicted simulator numbers. If a country maintains a higher number of pilots per helicopter than the average number of pilots per helicopter within all NATO countries, then the number of predicted simulators is less than the optimum one.
On the other hand, not all helicopters have the same training needs. For example, the CV-22 aircraft as a totally new aircraft category, and the Tiger helicopter as a new attack helicopter design before its final product delivery, do have greater training needs than the rest of the helicopters. It would be rational for a country to buy more simulators for such aircrafts, than those predicted from the regression models, especially at the early stages of the procurement program to replace training hours otherwise conducted on the aircraft. Also, heavy helicopters (i.e. CH-47 and CH-53) justify the purchase of a simulator more easily, due to their high maintenance and flight hour cost.
Predicting a Helicopter Simulator Training Center
The conclusion was that the results of the study, as presented in Appendix G, give a good indication of simulator quantities that the NATO European countries could utilize for their training needs; but this was far from predicting the establishment of a helicopter simulator training center. Such a decision is usually based on military expert judgment, feasibility studies and the particularity of the training that a center can provide.
For the study to predict the establishment of a training center, extra criteria were needed. The following criteria had been selected:
At least two simulators are needed of any helicopter type.
The greater the number of simulators, the higher the possibility for the center to be established.
The more helicopter types are simulated the higher the possibility for the center to be established.
The combination of an attack helicopter with other helicopter types increases the possibility for a center to be established.
Existing simulators may affect negatively the decision to establish a center.
Helicopter types at later stages of their product life cycles do not justify the purchase of a simulator.
Motion simulators increase the possibility for establishing a center than non-motion simulators do, because training conducted on a non-motion simulator can be totally transferred to a motion simulator. On the other hand, only part of the training conducted on a full motion simulator can be transferred to a non-motion simulator.