Flight training is reaching new heights without ever leaving the ground. The Army has moved into a new era in proficiency and safety, and Redstone's PM Cargo is leading the way.

With the new model of the CH-47F heavy lift helicopters comes the need for equally-sophisticated training equipment. In order to maintain mission readiness at a pace equal to that of current operations, PEO Aviation and PM Cargo developed a bold vision for meeting the critical training needs of the future.

The program began at Patuxent River, Md., at Manned Flight Systems with design and prototyping of the CH-47F Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulators with software developed by NavAir. Then full-rate production moved to Huntsville to WestWind Technologies. With on-site engineering, manufacturing and aviation integration facilities, WestWind set about to meet the accelerated production schedule designed to get the new equipment to the Soldiers faster than ever before.

The build-to-print TFPS package required a bill of material of over 2,000 line items, the manufacturing and assembly of approximately 1,000 metal components, modification or manufacture of more than 500 wire harnesses and/or cable assemblies, and complex installation of all electrical and mechanical components. Through hard work, long hours, weekend work, and dedication of the entire design and production team, the vision of PEO Aviation and PM Cargo became a reality.

Barely six months after opening the simulator facility, WestWind Technologies delivered the first two TFPS units to PM Cargo ahead of schedule, under cost, and without waiver - one for shipping to Fort Rucker Flight Training School, and one for deployment to the combat arena. It marked the first time that CH-47F simulators have been built in Alabama.

The simulators contain the most current cockpit and provide Soldiers with a dynamic training environment that increases operational readiness and ensures that the pilots are fully prepared to fly the actual aircraft. The new simulators are easily transported and include a judicious combination of commercial off-the-shelf and aircraft components as well as realistic graphics, saving considerable flight training costs while providing unprecedented safety for the Soldiers.

"The TPFS program is monumental - not only for the Army, Army Aviation, and the Tennessee Valley, but more importantly for our Soldiers going into harm's way," Cargo Helicopters project manager Col. Newman Shufflebarger said. "These simulators will train the Soldiers much better for the future and increase their chances of mission success and a safe return home."

Because of the success of the CH-47F program, WestWind Technologies was presented with the Joseph A. Cribbins Aviation Product Symposium Award at the recent event in Huntsville. WestWind was selected by PM Cargo as the company "most instrumental in assisting the organization" based on the delivery of the CH-47F Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulators ahead of schedule, below cost and without waiver.

Said WestWind Technologies president Daniel Petrosky, a retired lieutenant general, "Accomplishing the mission of PEO Aviation, PM Cargo, and the Logistics Support Facility took a team effort of hard work, expertise and commitment by many people in Army Aviation, at WestWind Technologies, our industry partners, PAX River and NavAir. Because of the dedication of the entire team, the CH-47F crews are the winners."