NBAA Convention News

FSI Orlando: The Disney World of Training

 - October 31, 2012, 10:40 AM
FlightSafety International’s Orlando training center houses 11 simulator bays dedicated to providing instruction for the line of Citation-series aircraft.

FlightSafety International’s Orlando Learning Center caters to the full range of Cessna Citation clients. Many return to the center for recurrent training while their aircraft undergo maintenance across the street at Cessna’s factory-owned and -operated regional service center.

The FlightSafety International (FSI) Orlando center has 24 classrooms and 12 simulator bays; 11 of those are devoted to Citations, while one handles training for the Beechcraft 1900D. Andy Johnson, a 27-year Navy veteran, runs the center and recently discussed its recent accomplishments. “We’ve trained 88 Part 135 operators here, I’m really proud of that,” he said. He also pointed out that Orlando was the only center last year to receive FSI’s top awards for technicians, customer support representatives and instructors.

While Johnson thinks the economy is responsible for Orlando having fewer full-service clients, he points to an array of flexible options available to maintain proficiency, including hourly simulator leasing. However, he said full-service contracts have inherent advantages, including FSI’s pilot proficiency protection program. Pilots on a full-service contract get free recurrent training if they switch employers. “Essentially, the [new employer] gets free training time,” Johnson explained. Full-service clients can also drop in any time for proficiency training if simulator time is available. “This is useful in particular for clients who want to fly simulated approaches to places they have never been before,” he said, adding that this flexibility is popular with owner-operator pilots.

Class sizes vary by aircraft type, but none are larger than 10. Technology is continually being added to the classroom. On the Citation Mustang, FSI’s flight training device (FTD) is used as the recurrent training classroom. “Anything you can do to bring the cockpit closer to the classroom environment is just better for learning,” Johnson said, “especially with the number of low-time owner-operators making that jump from turbine transition to a jet environment. You need this tool.”

All Citation Mustang simulators come with a corresponding FTD. They are built at FSI Tulsa, a new 375,000-sq-ft building for manufacturing simulators for FSI and third-party providers, including for the military and major airlines for aircraft as diverse as the Bell-Boeing V-22 tiltrotor and the Airbus A320. The Tulsa facility can build as many as 19 simulators simultaneously. –M.H.