Flight training provider Universal Helicopters (UHI) has been named as the first Bell-approved and certified training facility in the U.S. In addition, UHI will take over the rotorcraft maker's recurrent and ab initio flight training for the light single 206B starting next month.
Arizona-based UHI is establishing a new 8,000-sq-ft Bell-centric training facility in a refurbished hangar at Dallas Executive Airport, near the airframer’s training academy, where it will perform the training using Bell approved syllabus and training manuals for the initial and recurrent courses. It will have access and employee training on Bell’s training registration system, as well as the use of Bell Training Academy 206B simulators.
“We found the ultimate partner to take over some of our legacy training, specifically pilot training on the 206B,” said Sam Nelson, Bell’s general manager for global customer training and head of the Bell Training Academy. He explained that as Bell continues to develop and deliver new helicopter models, it is looking to offload the training for some of its out-of-production models. “We needed that space and we needed a good partner that we could trust to operate with our logo, and take over some of our legacy aircraft business,” said Nelson.
“For an organization like Bell-Textron to partner with a small company like mine is very unique,” said UHI president and CEO Gordon Jiroux, who has nearly four decades of industry experience and has operated the model since the 1980s. “The part about Bell that seems to stand out is they truly want a partner—they don’t just want a contractor.”
UHI will base its two 206Bs, one of which is on display at this week at Heli-Expo at Booth C4623, at the Dallas facility. “This one has been used exclusively for training since 2012,” said Jiroux, referring to one of his well-maintained 206Bs. “We’ve probably flown it for 3,000 hours of flight training over the past four years.”
Between its locations in Scottsdale and Prescott Ariz.; Waco, Texas; and Provo, Utah, the company has 55 helicopters in its training fleet.