Two years ago, FlightSafety International nearly doubled the size of its Dallas Learning Center at DFW. The company’s largest campus, founded in 2000, has grown to 210,000 sq ft and now features 24 simulator pads, more classrooms and an engine shop, allowing FlightSafety to add several new programs. The Dallas center has 250 employees (125 of them instructors) and graduates 10,500 students annually. One-third of those students are from outside the U.S. “Dallas is just a great place to get to with direct flights, and that helps a lot,” said center manager Dan MacLellan.
And when the rigors of training become overly stressful, students can walk down the hall and get a massage.
“We have some niceties in the building. We went out and bought mountain bikes and golf clubs. There’s a barber shop in the building and a massage therapist as well. If you are here for three weeks, you can’t train the whole time,” MacLellan said. Student rental cars are delivered either to their hotels or to the learning center, and there is a luggage check room for arriving and departing students.
The center is continuing to add new programs and recently moved Bell helicopter twin-engine simulators from Bell’s Fort Worth training center to the DFW campus.
Current programs include the entire Dassault Falcon line for pilots and maintenance technicians, all midsize-cabin Gulfstreams and large cabins through the G550, the Pilatus PC-12NG, Bell twins (430, 212, 412), the Eurocopter EC135 and training on 15 Pratt & Whitney Canada different business jet and helicopter engines. “That has been a big area of growth for us; we got that program [P&WC’s 30-hour OEM maintenance course] 18 months ago,” MacLellan said. The engine course consists of 22 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of hands-on training in the high-tech engine shop. Images from a borescope inspection are transmitted to a large display screen for the benefit of the entire class.
The center also offers cabin attendant emergency training in a mockup, complete with real smoke, emergency windows that can actually be detached and tossed, and climbing into an aircraft-matched life raft in the pool at the nearby American Airlines training center.
Most of the center’s Level-D simulators have companion FlightSafety-designed graphical flight simulators for remediation and familiarization. The newer Level-D sims feature full-electric motor function as opposed to the old-style, more complex and expensive hydraulic actuators that have traditionally been used to provide motion. “It is so quiet and so smooth,” MacLellan said of the new electric simulator technology.
All simulator flight data is captured for replay and review through a video data system. “By filming the crew you get the CRM piece as well,” says MacLellan.