Helicopter pilots throughout Europe appreciate Storck Barracks facility

By Gerlinde HoyleDecember 20, 2023

U.S. and International Crew Members Utilize Flight Simulators in Germany
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The exterior of the CH-47F Chinook helicopter simulator sits inside of the Illesheim Flight Simulator Complex at Storck Barracks in Illesheim, Germany, Nov. 17, 2021. These simulators provide safe practice of flight operations in a controlled environment and give instant feedback of crew member training. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tommie Berry/RELEASED) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Tommie Berry) VIEW ORIGINAL
UH-60 Flight Simulator Routine Check
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Field Service Engineer Robert Houlihan with U.S. Army Europe Aviation Safety and Standards Detachment (UASSD) Flight Simulator conducts the regularly routine maintenance of UH-60 L/M Blackhawk helicopter simulator in Illesheim, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, Germany, November 16, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Eugen Warkentin) (Photo Credit: Eugen Warkentin) VIEW ORIGINAL

ILLESHEIM, Germany (Dec 20, 2023) - Storck Barracks in Illesheim, Germany, is home to the only helicopter flight simulator operated by the U.S. Army in Europe. The facility, located within the United States Army Garrison (USAG) Ansbach footprint, is well known and appreciated by pilots from NATO partners and allied countries and provides critical training to helicopter pilots of the U.S. Army and other nations.

The simulator complex opened in 1985 and has undergone numerous renovations and retrofits as Army aviation has evolved. Today, it is a state-of-the-art training facility operated by U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) and in high demand by helicopter pilots throughout the theater.

The U.S. Army’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, located on nearby Katterbach Kaserne, and pilots from regionally aligned forces regularly deployed to Storck Barracks, commonly referring to the complex as the Storck “Flight Sims.” All current helicopter platforms used by the U.S. Army are supported in this facility.

“We have the Apache Longbow crew trainer (LCT), the UH-60L/M Black Hawk aircrew trainer (BAT), the CH-47F Chinook Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulator (TFPS) and the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (AVCATT),” says Dexter Chun, Facility Manager, Illesheim Flight Simulator Complex (IFSC).

Ignacio Gutierrez de Rubalcava, stationed in Madrid, Spain, with the Spanish Batallon de Helicopteros de Transporte, recently trained at the IFSC and praised the facility highly.

“I am assigned to the only battalion with Chinooks in the Spanish military,” said Rubalcava. “We started transitioning from the Delta model to the F-model of Chinooks and this is the closest training facility to train emergency procedures that you do not want to try on the actual aircraft.”

As a frequent visitor, he raved about the facility: “Early 2022 was the first time we came. Emergency training is the focus. We train with the U.S. Army often and we have been deployed with them to different theaters, so we are used to training with the U.S. Army. We are comfortable with them and the facility is very good. We do have a basic trainer back at our home station, but for more advanced training, we need this.“

Also training at the IFSC during our visit was Slovakian Col. Stefan Okos with the 51st Wing “Presov.” Col. Okos, a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot, has visited Storck several times and greatly appreciates the training opportunity.

“The Slovak Army does not have a simulator for the UH-60 Blackhawk platform. This is the closest training facility for us,” explained Okos. “It is only a 10-to-12-hour drive from home. We are usually here for one week, which gives us 40 hours of training for the team of five pilots and one instructor.”

The IFSC has an excellent reputation within the Slovak Army aviation unit. According to Okos, the alternative to getting the required simulator training would be traveling to a facility in the U.S., where the initial training of the Slovak pilots takes place.

Okos also praised the simulator: “The facility is great. The staff is very helpful. Every time we need something, they are here all day. I cannot say anything negative about the facility or the staff.”

“The pilots are very happy with this type of simulator. When they train for a half hour, they are so immersed in the training, and the simulated situation, they almost forget it’s only a simulator. It is a very good experience for them,” explained Okos.

During their week-long training, the pilots only have a little free time. After the day in the simulator, they conduct briefings every night in preparation for the next day.

“We discuss the following day’s training each night. Going through the check lists, for example. It’s easier for me to teach them on the ground first. I can explain all the procedures in detail before flying. The emergency procedures are discussed in the pre-brief to the simulator training, saving us time while we are in the simulator,” Okos continued.

“The week is a demanding training week. But it is very beneficial. You can watch the progress and the results of the training as the week advances. At the beginning they are struggling with some procedures and at the end of the week they are like professionals. You see the results after five days. The pilots become much more confident as they are training intense emergency procedures in the simulator.”

As an Army Power Projection Platform in Europe, USAG Ansbach is proud to be home to this integral training tool for pilots from our U.S. and NATO partners.


The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach military community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim. Today, Ansbach is home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the community's largest tenant unit, as well as the 7th Engineer Brigade, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The garrison takes pride in supporting more than 10,000 Soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees working and living in the Ansbach area.

For more news from U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, visit: https://www.army.mil/FranconianNews or https://www.facebook.com/usagansbachcommunity/