FlightSafety Boeing opens London center

 - May 8, 2008, 5:50 AM

FlightSafety Boeing Training International (FSB) opened its UK training center at London Luton Airport on July 27. The 35,000-sq-ft facility is equipped with a pair of Boeing 737-300 flight simulators, a 737-700/800 unit and a 757 device.

Ford Europe’s corporate flight department has already made a booking to conduct recurrent training for its Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) crews at the Luton training center, which is just 27 mi from its base at London Stansted Airport. The Ford pilots will use the 737-700/800 simulator, which can be quickly reconfigured to replicate the different handling characteristics of the 737-derived BBJ (including thrust and center of gravity). In January, Ford Europe took delivery of two BBJs to replace a pair of MD-11s for its daily corporate shuttle operations to Cologne, Germany; Bordeaux, France; and Valencia, Spain.

In fact, most BBJ training outside the Americas takes place at FSB’s Burgess Hill training center near London Gatwick Airport since the new-generation 737 simulator there is equipped with the head-up display (HUD) featured on the BBJ. FSB is now planning to add a HUD to the 737-700/800 sim at Luton, which features the FlightSafety International (FSI) Vital ChromaViewPlus visual system. BBJ training is also provided at the FSB facility in Atlanta.

The new Luton center will be used by airline crews throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Its main long-term contract customers are low-cost carrier Easyjet and charter operator Monarch, both of which are based at Luton.

FSB is now evaluating possible locations in mainland Europe for another training center and also has plans for a new facility in the Middle East. The company already has another European center at Palma de Mallorca, Spain (which opened in May), Paris Le Bourget and at Manchester in northwest England.

In addition to its U.S. and European sites, FSB also has training facilities in Johannesburg, South Africa; Seoul, South Korea; Kunming in the People’s Republic of China; Mexico City; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In June, Brazilian carrier Varig selected FSB and sister company FlightSafety International to provide simulators and courseware to cover its fleet of new-generation 737s and 777s, as well as its Embraer ERJ-145s.

TRTO Approval
In September 1999, FSB became the first non-European company to secure type rating training organization (TRTO) approval and certification in accordance with the terms of the European Joint Aviation Authorities’ new Joint Aviation Requirement-Flight Crew Licensing (JAR-FCL) system. The initial TRTO covers all 737 types and the U.S. company is now seeking to extend this to other aircraft families.

TRTO status is important because, in theory, it allows any European airline to have its crews trained at the facility without the need to revalidate the type rating with their own national licensing authority. However, many European civil aviation authorities are still failing to honor the common licensing approach of JAR-FCL some three years after it was implemented.

Separately, FSB last month announced the addition of a fourth flight simulator for the 106-seat 717-200, with the FAA having certified a new unit at its Atlanta facility. FSB also provides 717 training at its Miami and Long Beach, Calif. facilities. The Miami center has just had its new 717-200 and 737-700/800 simulators certified.

In May, FSB contracted Aerosim Technologies to provide software to develop a new advanced training curriculum for flight management systems. The courses will be based on intelligent tutoring techniques, allowing pilots to conduct training
on their laptop computers in preparation for subsequent fixed-based and flight-simulator training.