Bristol-based Stirling Dynamics to create yet more advanced helicopter control simulation tech
Bristol-based Stirling Dynamics, pioneers in active controls technology, have teamed up with SGB Enterprise, experts in flight simulation and training procedures for pilots, for a third year running. This renewed contract promises that Stirling Dynamics will continue to provide its active controls for simulators of SGB Enterprises’s UH-60 and CH-47 helicopters.
We caught up with Clemence Lafeuille from Stirling Dynamics to tell us more about this exciting time for the company, “We hope the relationship and scope of supply for both companies grows in the coming years to mutual benefit.”
“It is this tailorable active feedback that helps to increase the realism of the simulation environment”
Clemence describes the company as “an advanced engineering company supplying a range of complex systems and technical services to the aerospace and marine markets.”
Stirling Dynamics has grown from strength to strength in the past few years, which Clemence attributes to “new management and external investment.” Impressively, the company is approaching its 30th year of trading!
Its unique active controls technology is what is so invaluable to SGB Enterprise. Clemence remarks, “Our active controls are predominantly used in flight simulators as they can mimic the form and feel of rotary wing and fast jet aircraft. Our product range includes sticks, throttles, collectives and pedals – basically, any item that a pilot interacts with to control a simulator.”
The active controls create a much more realistic experience for the pilots whilst in training, ultimately meaning they can get more out of these flight simulations.
Clemence explains, “Active controls replace the traditional springs and dampers of a passive control system with motors and gearboxes, which are then driven as commanded by proprietary electronics and software to provide tailorable ‘feel’ characteristics as selected by the end user.
“These feel characteristics can be programmed to change dynamically during a simulation in response to any chosen stimulus.” This could be used to alert the pilot to a potential hazard through a stick-shaker or simulating a mechanical malfunction by temporarily locking one axis of movement. Clemence adds, “It is this tailorable active feedback that helps to increase the realism of the simulation environment.”
A dynamic duo
Stirling Dynamics is excited about the renewed partnership with SGB Enterprises, “It’s a continuation of supplier relationship that started around 18-24 months ago, this is the second significant order and a pattern we hope to continue.
“The region has grown in confidence over recent years and it’s been interesting and inspiring to see the growth of a wide range of technical start-ups”
“We think that a small company in the US who are growing rapidly, working with a similar counterpart in the UK is a compelling story that combines high technology UK export and two agile businesses working together in a market normally dominated by large prime contractors.”
The relationship benefits Stirling Dynamics in terms of supporting its constant growth, providing it scope to continue to recruit in the region as well as develop its technology.
Building in Bristol
The team at Stirling Dynamics feel they reap the benefits of being based in a city with such expansive development in the engineering sector. Clemence tells us, “Being a Bristol-based organisation has provided Stirling with a wealth of graduate talent from Bristol University, Bath University and the University of the West of England (UWE).
“The city is known for its engineering and aviation heritage and continues to be a breeding ground for talent. The region has grown in confidence over recent years – it’s been interesting and inspiring to see the growth of a wide range of technical start-ups.”