By early 2017, more than six classes completed Priority 1 Air Rescue (P1AR, Booth 2417) search and rescue (SAR) training under a multiyear contract with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), said Brad Matheson, P1AR president. Since October 2016, Defense Helicopter Command trainees have focused on marine and inland hoist operations in Airbus AS532 Cougar and NH90 helicopters at the P1AR Tactical Training Academy in Nîmes, France.
Tailored training packages vary in length and enrollment, depending upon contract terms, Matheson said. Virtual training and tactile training are performed under the RNLAF contract, he added. Pilot and rear-crew synthetic sessions are paired with hands-on training-tower sessions to provide trainees with technical and procedural hoist operations practice.
The RNLAF contract features hoist mission training for basic to advanced SAR, ocean and shipboard operations. Night-unaided and night-vision-goggle operations in specified environments and all-weather conditions are included. “The virtual simulation component provides not only realistic immersion, but more importantly, accurate context to skills and scenarios [in the field] to train for their complete range of missions,” said Matheson.
Level of detail in the training platforms relates to the company’s field experience performing helicopter hoist SAR missions and 18 years providing international customers human-hoist operations ground- and live-flight training and program implementation services, he said.
The Nîmes facility includes aerial gunnery training, two separate hoist procedural towers, fast-rope and rappel tower and multimedia classrooms. Two swimming pools are used for helicopter underwater egress training and rescue training programs. P1AR’s European facility was first to use TitanIM simulation software for more realistic visualizations, and a companion facility in Mesa, Ariz., is set to use the new software in early 2017.
The multifaceted corporation also has worldwide government and commercial contracts to provide continuous coverage for SAR and medevac personnel such as full-time hoist-system operators, rescue swimmers and paramedics. More than 6,000 civilian and military pilots have trained with P1AR.