For a 57-year-old company, FlightSafety International may be more mature than some others, but it hasn’t stopped growing. While the simulation training provider is active in other markets, the vast majority of its 40 learning centers and fleet of more than 230 simulators are dedicated to serving the business aviation community.
The company recently added Honda- Jet to its long list of factory-authorized training centers, bringing yet another model to the long list of airplanes for which FSI provides training. “Our priority has been, and will always be, to provide outstanding customer service and the highest quality training and best overall value,” said Bruce Whitman, president and CEO. “FlightSafety’s close working relationships with business aircraft manufacturers, our simulator design and manufacturing capabilities, talented teammates, comprehensive training programs and broad network of conveniently located learning centers are intended to serve and support our customers. We will continue to invest in the facilities, equipment and teammates needed to provide the best training for them.”
FlightSafety also will be building a new Hawker Beechcraft maintenance training facility in Wichita, expanding the existing pilot learning center there and adding new simulators.
“This significant expansion of our relationship with Hawker Beechcraft and investment in facilities and simulators reflects our common commitment to enhance safety and to provide mutual customers with the best, most comprehensive training and the value they deserve,” said Whitman.
FlightSafety’s new Rotorcraft Training Center of Excellence learning center in Lafayette, La., will begin offering training in January. According to Whitman the new center is dedicated to meeting the training needs of the Gulf of Mexico helicopter industry as well as EMS, law enforcement, newsgathering and other operations.
The 76,300-sq-ft center will feature eight bays for full-flight simulators and facilities for next-generation flight training devices. Training will be offered for a wide variety of helicopter types including models from AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter, Sikorsky and others. The first full-flight simulators to enter service will be for the Sikorsky S-76C+/C++ and S-92. Level-7 flight training devices will include the Bell 206B/L, Bell 406 and Eurocopter AS 350.
Whitman also said the company will be expanding the Learjet learning center in Wichita to accommodate a new Bombardier Learjet 45XR simulator that is expected to enter service in November 2009.
Facility expansion in the Wichita area will also include a new pilot learning center located adjacent to FlightSafety’s Cessna facility. The new 85,000-sq-ft center will accommodate up to eight full-flight simulators and provide numerous advanced technology equipped classrooms and customer service areas.
FlightSafety’s fourth Cessna Citation Mustang simulator is scheduled to be delivered to its Orlando learning center next April. The company currently has two full-flight simulators and two advanced FTDs at the Wichita Cessna center and one of each device at the London Farnborough center in the UK.
The Mustang training includes the industry’s first Mentor Services program, distance learning and a “proficiency index” developed jointly with Cessna. The proficiency index is used to determine the level of training required for each type-rating candidate. The parameters used to determine the proficiency index include previous ratings, number of flight hours and glass-panel experience. The index determines whether the pilot qualifies for an initial second-in-command rating, crew type rating or single-pilot type rating.
The Mustang flight training device incorporate the airplane’s Garmin G1000 avionics system. It conforms to FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-45 and is intended to be a cost-effective alternative and addition to the level-D full-flight simulator. The FTD is an open-cockpit design and is capable of extensive free play. The device is capable of training in normal, abnormal and emergency navigational procedures along with selected system malfunctions. It is used to present one-hour systems integration before the simulator sessions.
The Mustang course includes ground school training, level-4 FTD, level-D simulator and distance learning programs. These methods are in response to Cessna Aircraft’s request to provide first-class training to their customers who have varied experience levels.
Two new Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft simulators will be added to FlightSafety’s fleet with the first one to be installed at the London Farnborough learning center by the end of 2010. The second simulator will enter service at one of the company’s learning centers in the U.S. in 2011.
Training has started at FlightSafety’s newly expanded Gulfstream maintenance learning center in Savannah, Ga. The facility, which features Total Technical Training, a collaborative effort with Gulfstream, has more than doubled in size to keep pace with demand for aircraft maintenance training.
“We are currently considering additional expansion at domestic and international locations. As always, the decision to move forward with these plans will be based on our discussions with the aircraft manufacturers and the desires and needs of our mutual customers,” added Whitman.