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Loft Dynamics raises $20 million for virtual reality pilot training

Twenty million dollars have been invested in Loft Dynamics, a Swiss startup developing VR simulation technology for helicopter pilots. Investors include David Sacks’ Craft Ventures, Sky Dayton, and Up Ventures, all based in the United States.

The company has changed its name from VRM Switzerland in conjunction with the announcement of the funding.

Founded out of Zurich in 2016, Loft Dynamics has developed a slew of simulators for some of the most common helicopters, including the single turbine Airbus H125. Future pilots can put their skills to the test in a variety of realistic settings, such as at night, and receive force-feedback to simulate system failures and other issues.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved Loft Dynamics’ Airbus H125 flight training device in May, so pilots can now get credit for simulator time.

The company claims that its platform helps alleviate the worldwide pilot shortage, which was exacerbated by the pandemic as pilots opted for early retirement or a change in careers, by providing more opportunities for training and decreasing the high costs of actually flying in a real helicopter.

Loft Dynamics also claims that its simulators can be deployed more widely than competing technologies because they are only about a tenth as large as their counterparts.

Virtual reality simulation is being used by other businesses to address staffing shortages and improve training methods. FundamentalVR, which aims to use virtual reality to train surgeons, recently raised $20 million, and VRAI is developing technology to support training for the offshore wind industry.

Now rebranded as Loft Dynamics and with an additional $20 million in the bank, the company is prepared to expand beyond Europe and into the lucrative American market.

“After many years in development, we are ready to expand Loft Dynamics to become a global company and bring our technology and training solutions to the world,” Loft Dynamics’ cofounder and CEO Fabi Riesen said in a press release. “This funding comes at exactly the right moment as we will be able to meet the escalating demand for flight schools and accelerate the range of aircraft types we support.”