Airbus Helicopters announced at Heli-Expo 2018 on Feb. 27 that it will join forces with Thales and Helisim to construct a new, state-of-the-art helicopter pilot and maintenance crew training center in Texas. The Airbus Helicopters Training Center in North America will be located at the headquarters of Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Grand Prairie.
Helisim, a joint venture of Thales and Airbus Helicopters, will develop and operate the simulation center, which will include the first H145 and H175 Level D simulators in North America. These Reality H simulators, built by Thales, will allow pilot training for two of Airbus Helicopters’ newest, most high-tech civil helicopters now entering wide use in the Americas.
"With this expansion, we will be able to support our customer’s needs for world class helicopter training in one convenient location," said Christopher Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters Inc. "Expanding our capabilities with H145 and H175 Level D simulators will allow customers to optimize their training programs and benefit from the expertise that we can provide onsite at our headquarters in the U.S."
"When we first embarked on this partnership with Airbus, our primary goal was to ensure the next generation of helicopter pilots worked in an industry with the same safety record as those in the fixed-wing market," said Benoit Plantier, vice president of training and simulation for Thales. "The quality and level of training Helisim offers to pilots in Europe has gone a long way to accomplish that goal. We are proud to continue this legacy in North America."
"The opening of this new facility near Dallas represents a major international expansion of Helisim," said Christian Cochini, the company’s CEO. "Our 18 years of experience in simulation training for Airbus Helicopters’ wide range of aircraft, representing nearly 200,000 simulated flight hours, combined with Airbus Helicopter Inc. expertise, will allow us to offer safe and efficient training solutions for North American customers."
The second flying H160 prototype was displayed at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, making its first appearance at an international airshow. "This aircraft is emblematic of the company's transformation in every domain—from concept and design, to the revamped industrial production model enabling enhanced industrial maturity from entry into service—and capitalizing on key digital technologies for greater customer support and maintenance," said Ben Bridge, Airbus Helicopters executive vice president for global business. The H160 will begin a U.S. demonstration tour following Heli-Expo, he added.