A lot of announcements for the world of rotorcraft are made at the Helicopter Association International’s annual meeting and trade show, Heli-Expo. And Heli-Expo 2017, held March 6 through 9 in Dallas, saw a number of announcements related to helicopter training.
Redbird Flight Simulations came to Heli-Expo for the first time, showcasing its new Redbird VTO—designed to help teach hovering and autorotations. The company displayed the trainer at events like EAA AirVenture and Sun ’n Fun while it was under development, and a Redbird employee said the product is now ready for evaluation by an audience of experienced helicopter operators. FAA approval of the device is expected soon, Redbird added.
Sikorsky has chosen Bristow Group as its preferred supplier for ab initio pilot training for Sikorsky aircraft customers at Bristow Academy. The companies are working to complete a long-term agreement that will offer Sikorsky Black Hawk, S-70i, S-92, S-76, and Light Helicopter customers a Sikorsky-certified training curriculum taught by Bristow Academy’s instructors. Bristow’s training programs offer Sikorsky customers a customizable training solution, the company said in a news release.
“Sikorsky and Bristow have shared a history for more than 40 years, and this is a promising new direction for our relationship,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz. “We are proud to now provide an initial training capability that enhances safety and proficiency of the pilots operating the Sikorsky fleet around the world.”
“We are honored that Sikorsky has selected Bristow Academy to be a certified provider of pilot training for Sikorsky helicopter customers worldwide,” said Bristow Group President and CEO Jonathan Baliff. The company, which conducts training at its main base in Titusville, Florida, and at a satellite location in Carson City, Nevada, is one of the world’s largest commercial helicopter training providers. Training courses under the agreement are expected to begin later this year.
Cobham Helicopter Services, which has been involved in training helicopter pilots and aircrew for more than 18 years, is expanding the reach of its helicopter training capabilities by establishing the Cobham Helicopter Academy. The company has 20 years and more than 500,000 hours of training experience outside the United States.
"Our instructors are among the best in the world,” said Duncan Milne, vice president of Cobham Helicopter Services. “They are all British ex-military, with considerable operational experience gained from the same demanding conditions that students may one day find themselves operating in."
The academy will offer a unique blend of military and commercial experience and expertise, providing training from ab initio to special missions such as search-and-rescue and tactical operations.
Middle Georgia State University displayed one of its new Guimbal Cabri G2s training helicopters at Heli-Expo. Instructors at the university in Eastman, Georgia, recently completed their training in the new aircraft.
The college identified the aircraft as a contender to replace its fleet of Schweizer 300Cs at HAI’s 2016 Heli-Expo. After carefully evaluating other aircraft in its class, the university purchased two of the helicopters. Helicopteres Guimbal and its U.S. distributor, Precision Helicopter of Newberg, Oregon, optimized the aircraft configuration to meet the college’s needs.
“We chose the Cabri for its modern technology, ease of maintenance, and safety features,” said Robert Hobbs, the college’s maintenance supervisor. “We hope it allows us to continue our immaculate safety record and increases our fleet uptime.” Middle Georgia State—which operates a fleet of 25 Piper airplanes, including Warriors, Archers, Arrows, and Seminoles; three Schweizer 300 CBis; a Robinson R44; and the two new Guimbal Cabri G2s—has a 20-year accident-free training record.
And if you need to fly at night, FlightSafety International now offers FAA-approved Part 142 Night Vision Goggle initial training for the Airbus Helicopters H135, Bell 212, and Bell 412EP using Level D qualified simulators. FlightSafety also introduced an NVG eLearning recurrent course.
“The ongoing expansion of our NVG training for helicopter pilots demonstrates our investment and commitment to providing the highest quality training for this critically important technology,” said Steve Gross, senior vice president of sales.
The initial training "is designed to provide in-depth instruction on the equipment and focus on the efficient and effective use of the goggles through scenario based and mission specific exercises. It includes eight hours of ground school and eight hours of training in an advanced Level D qualified simulator," the company said in a news release.