New simulator centre opens for business
Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation + Training have opened the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Valencia and there are prospects for a variety of platform simulators to join the existing EASA-certified Bell 429 full flight simulator (FFS) at the facility.
The Bell 429 FFS, known as the Odyssey H simulator, includes an ultra-high definition visual system with a 240-degree horizontal by 80-degree vertical field of view (FoV), and 41-megapixel total system resolution visual display.
In addition, the simulator has 11 projectors to enhance the FoV for the pilots and this also contributes to the Odyssey H being the largest FoV for a simulator, according to the company. The system operates primary and secondary motion systems, and features a roll-on and roll-off capability.
While there is clearly space for other simulators within the facility, neither companies would divulge detail on what other aircraft simulators would fill the space.
Current production helicopters like the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X or the Bell 525 Relentless in the long-term could be on the cards, a TRU Simulation spokesperson suggested. This could also be dictated by interest from customers' needs and demands.
The Valencia facility is the first training centre in Europe for Bell and TRU Simulation, and the former company is optimistic that its reach into the European and wider market will boost orders of the 429 Model.
For a first time pilot TRU Simulation expects the pilot to undertake ten days of training at ground school while a recurrent pilot will undertake three days of training at ground school. This knowledge is then taken from the classroom to the simulator.
VFR and IFR ratings are offered by the company as well, Vance Ontjes, training centre manager at TRU Simulation, explained further to Shephard.
'Roughly the time at ground school for the initial training is 22 to 24 hours. For the recurrent training, it is seven hours. By comparison for the initial 22 to 24 hours of ground school only 12 hours are in the simulator. The time in the simulator is more valuable but it has to be supplemented by the core knowledge of course,' commented Ontjes.
Further to this EASA requirements stipulate that a pilot must also undertake two hours flying in the helicopter. The multilingual instructors are dual-qualified for the classroom and simulator.
It is expected that around 400-500 clients will utilise the facility this year and 50% of this number will be from outside of the EU.