FSI opens Farnborough center

 - October 19, 2006, 11:24 AM

FlightSafety International (FSI) officially opened its new Farnborough Learning Center in the UK on September 14. The 92,000-sq-ft facility has already received its first 50 pilots and is equipped with five of the 14 simulators it will eventually house.

Built next to the TAG Aviation business aviation center at the London-area airport, the Farnborough center currently includes simulators for the Cessna Citation Bravo, the Gulfstream IV-SP, the Raytheon Beech 1900 and King Air 200, and  the Saab 340.

Between now and next June, the company will install a Citation CJ2 and an Excel, two Hawker 800XPs (one with Honeywell avionics and the other with Rockwell Collins’s Pro Line 21 suite) and a Hawker 400XP. Two as-yet-unspecified helicopter simulators will be added, along with two more jet trainers– almost certainly for the Citation Bravo and Mustang. The first Bravo simulator is already booked through year-end.

During the opening ceremony, Mark Paolucci, Cessna’s v-p for Citation sales, confirmed that the manufacturer has selected FlightSafety to provide initial training for new Mustang customers. FSI will provide the training through its Wichita Learning Center or at the new Farnborough facility for operators outside North America.

Rudy Toering, FlightSafety’s managing director for European sales, said that the European Business Aviation Association had been instrumental in supporting the business case for building the company’s second European learning center. The other facility is at Paris Le Bourget Airport, which now focuses on Dassault Falcons and regional airliners.

According to FlightSafety president Bruce Whitman, the Farnborough facility will eventually employ 150 people, including some 70 instructors by year-end. In addition to three simulator halls, it also offers 27 classrooms and more than 30 briefing rooms.

Both the Farnborough and Le Bourget centers are now attracting pilots from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. These operators face shorter journeys and less jet lag than they would if they went to the U.S. centers. Crucially, they also avoid the onerous visa requirements that are now in force for pilots entering the U.S. for flight training.

The Farnborough facility is a self-contained FSI center, incorporating the company’s three-tier learning concept. In addition to the full-flight simulators, it also uses its interactive FlightViz debriefing system whereby pilots and their instructors can rerun and review simulator experiences and practice operational procedures on a Matrix graphical flight deck simulator. The third element is the Matrix twin-screen desktop training system.