Abu Dhabi Aviation and Flight Safety International (FSI) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to further advance a memorandum of understanding signed in October to build a flight-training center in Abu Dhabi for up to 17 full-flight simulators. Company officials signed the LOI at MEBA 2014 in Dubai.
The “Learning Center,” as FSI calls its training facilities, is planned to be built in two stages, with Phase 1, an 8,000-sq-m facility, to be completed by September 2015. This building will house eight simulators. Phase 2 is expected to double the size of the facility and will accommodate nine simulators. Cost of the facility is estimated to be about $200 million.
“Selecting FlightSafety to provide industry-leading flight simulators and proven instructional technologies for the new Learning Center will establish Abu Dhabi as a major aviation hub and center of excellence for training in the Middle East,” said Nadi Al Hammadi, chairman, Abu Dhabi Aviation. “The center will not only serve the UAE, but the whole MENA area, meaning Middle East and North Africa, whatever clients we can get through marketing.”
“This is our first true commitment into the region and we are very happy to partner with Abu Dhabi Aviation,” said Rick Bedard, FSI director of training operations. “We visited the site yesterday and it’s going to be marvelous. FlightSafety has more than 63 years of aviation training experience building simulators, world-class courseware and training devices to support each of our programs. It’s a great venture and we will look forward to serving out partners.” FSI has 42 Learning Centers around the world, serves more than 250 operators and completes more than 80,000 training events every year, he said.
Although Abu Dhabi Aviation, established in 1976, is the largest commercial helicopter operator (61 helicopters and three DHC-8s) and aircraft MRO in the Middle East, the proposed Learning Center will offer training in a variety of helicopters and airplanes, both civilian and military. In fact, Abu Dhabi Aviation already operates two helicopter simulators, an AgustaWestland AW139 and Bell 412, and these are to be moved to the new Learning Center, according to Bedard.
The center will operate FlightSafety FS1000 simulators equipped with Vital 1100 visual systems, electric motion control and cueing and advanced instructor consoles. Instructors will meet the requirements of the UAE GAA, EASA and FAA. Classrooms and other specialized areas for self-paced and instructor-led learning will feature Matrix, the company’s integrated training device.