The Swiss start-up Loft Dynamics, formerly VRM Switzerland, has just completed a fundraising of 20 million dollars. The company specializes in the training of helicopter pilots. It offers training with virtual reality headsets.
The company promises the same result as with conventional training thanks to its virtual reality flight simulator. The latter is 10 times less imposing than a classic simulator. Another advantage is that it is 20 times cheaper than the current market price. This price positioning has attracted many investors, especially Americans. Funds like Craft Ventures, Sky Dayton, and Up Ventures joined the adventure after this first seed round for the company founded in 2018.
Train pilots with VR
The helicopter industry has been in crisis for several years. Agencies like the one at the Paris heliport are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified pilots. According to Mark Sribney, a professional pilot in Canada, the number of retirements is not compensated by new arrivals and the gap is widening over the years.
With its solution, the start-up Loft Dynamics also offers a more complete training offer. The company explains that it is able to reproduce all possible flight conditions at will, allowing for more in-depth learning. It even assures that the training flight time would be reduced by 60% thanks to its virtual reality system.
During a partnership with Airbus, Loft Dynamics has developed a simulator for the Airbus H125, one of the most popular helicopter models in the world. Four training centers in Europe now have access to the Loft Dynamics solution to train pilots on an Airbus H125. Two are located in Switzerland, one in Germany and the last one in Norway. The company does not currently have a branch in France.
After Europe towards America
This simulator was recently recognized by the European Aviation Safety Agency. This means that all flight hours accumulated on the simulator are counted towards obtaining the pilot’s licence. In addition to this partnership with Airbus, Loft Dynamics is already working with other manufacturers such as Helitrans Norway, Meravo, and Mountainflyers.
The fundraising of 20 million euros should make it possible to turn to the North American market and sign partnerships with local companies. Both training centers and helicopter manufacturers. Fabi Riesen, co-founder and CEO of the company, says he wants to make his company “a global solution” capable of meeting the needs of the market in terms of helicopter pilots.