In parallel with global business jet sales, pilot training activity is, for the most part, stable and growing somewhat, particularly in new markets. At the same time, flight-training providers are reporting unprecedented growth in the civil helicopter sector, with much of this being driven by a surge in demand for rotorcraft support in the booming offshore oil and gas industries, plus the deployment of new-generation helicopter simulator technology.
With the number of business jets in China steadily increasing, the country is facing a shortage of qualified pilots, with virtually all of those attending its flight academies and training schools destined for the commercial aviation sector. Operators in China use a ratio of five pilots for every business jet in operation, according to Christopher Jackson, co-founder and executive director of China-based aviation consultancy Jackson Rosenberg, who sees a need for hundreds of additional business jet pilots in the short to medium term.
The opportunity to teach pilots how to manage aircraft upsets is now available in Europe with the opening of an Aviation Performance Solutions location at Seppe Airport at Bosschenhoofd in the Netherlands. APS will use the Slingsby Firefly T-67 in the European training system. The company will use CAE’s level-D Boeing 737 simulator at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam for clients who plan to complete the final phase of training, which uses simulation.
FlightSafety International has begun training pilots in its new Pilatus PC-12NG simulator, located at the Dallas learning center. The FAA and Transport Canada have qualified the new full-motion simulator to Level D. EASA Level-D qualification is expected within months. The Dallas center also offers PC-12 maintenance training.
HEMS Academy, the simulator training arm of German air ambulance specialist ADAC, has announced that it will add a new Eurocopter EC145T2 full-flight simulator in 2015. This follows ADAC’s order last September for 14 new EC145T2 helicopters to replace its aging BK117 B2 fleet. The new helicopters will be equipped with the EuroAvionics EuroNav7 navigation system upgrades, which will also be included in the simulator. Meanwhile an EC145T2 systems training device will be brought online in mid-2014, allowing for web-based training on the type.
Bombardier’s Montreal aircraft training facility received FAA level-D approval for its new Challenger 300 full-motion simulator for pilot and maintenance training, the company announced today. The simulator complements another Challenger 300 level-D flight simulator located at Bombardier’s Dallas training center.
A new full flight simulator for training on the Sukhoi SSJ100 arrived for installation at the SuperJet International (SJI) Training Center in Venice, Italy, early last month. SuperJet International said it expected installation of the L-3 Communications-made simulator to take 30 days, after which it will undergo an “extensive” phase of on-site testing. The company will then apply for final approval of the EASA STD (synthetic training device) evaluation team, allowing for the start of training, potentially this month.
FlightSafety International is moving to expand and upgrade its helicopter training portfolio substantially, according to David Davenport, vice president of operations.
“Helicopter training has been a high-growth business for FlightSafety for many years. We have always been the factory-authorized training provider for Bell and Sikorsky. We’ve also tried to branch out into highly successful helicopters such as the [Eurocopter] EC135 and [AgustaWestland] AW139,” Davenport said.
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.
Simulation technology and flight training provider CAE (Stand 468) will set up its first Asian business aviation facility in Shanghai, China later this year. The Canada-based group, which is celebrating 65 years of business in 2012, will then have eight training centers around the world.