Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Operator Profile: UTair Training Center in Russia
UTair Training Center, located in Tyumen—one of the most important industrial and economic centers east of the Urals and a vast oil-rich region stretching from the Kazakh border to the Arctic—is recognized throughout the industry for its high level of professionalism and commitment to safety and excellence. Rotor & Wing went to the heart of the facility to learn more about the company’s training programs
|Mi-8 (left) and Mi-26 trainers|
The UTair Training Center in Tyumen dates back to 1967, when it was a training facility unit for the Tyumen Civil Aviation Department. Later it developed into a Personnel Training Center (PTC) and was registered as a non-commercial partnership that soon grew into one of the largest civil aviation training centers in Russia. UTair Aviation and its subsidiaries, UTair Engineering and Center of Transport and Services, established the center. The facility contains training infrastructure for engineers and pilots, and has trained pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and technicians for more than 50 years. Currently, 18,000 students from Russia, Colombia, Turkey, China, Sudan, Nepal, Africa and Peru attend UTair’s training classes every year.
Vladimir Demkin, UTair training center director, is a rotary and fixed-wing pilot and has flown Mil Mi-26s, Mi-8s and Tu-154s. He also holds the position of deputy flight director at UTair Aviation.
In 2011, Eurocopter certified the UTair training facility, meaning that pilots and mechanics were authorized to train in Russia to Eurocopter standards. Therefore, PTC became the 20th training center in the global Eurocopter training network and the first without Eurocopter shareholding participation. The center is approved for AS350 and AS355 type ratings.
The successful operation of the center shows the high professional degree of UTair and the company’s commitment to complying with international requirements. It enjoys the full support of helicopter manufacturers and has secured communication on best practices and the latest training materials.
UTair Training Center provides a “complete and dedicated training environment,” where students are able to “achieve their objectives in the most efficient manner. PTC consists of an administration center, a flight simulator training facility, lecture halls, instructor briefing offices and a library with Mil and Eurocopter manuals and references,” explains Demkin.
“Our success lies in our sophisticated pilot training programs, along with effective management systems and qualified instructors,” says Demkin. “Very experienced pilots come from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Defense and other governmental structures around the world. They all go through what we call here ‘an adaptation program’ and after certain procedures start working with us.”
PTC’s philosophy “is to teach pilots to do their job well,” he adds. “Certainly it includes effective and adaptable procedures, an applied operational knowledge, good and confident managing skills. All these are taught and then put into practice via roleplaying immediately. We have identified specific objectives and designed real-life situations to achieve them. Theory and practical training are integrated strategically for maximum productivity.”
Today’s highly competitive passenger air transport market presents airlines with ever more demanding requirements in terms of flight safety, reliability and service quality. In order to maintain and go beyond these parameters, it is essential to have highly qualified personnel.
|Flight personnel as of May 22, 2012|
|Senior flight crew||88|
|Other flight crew||459|
UTair is the proud employer of more than 6,000 highly professional specialists. Over 4,500 employees are dedicated to the maintenance and operation of the airline’s helicopter and fixed-wing fleet. Upwards of 50 percent of the company’s employees are certified to conduct international flight operations. Currently UTair Aviation employs more than 13,000 highly qualified specialists.
One More Step to Improve Safety
Apart from being a leader in the Russian helicopter world, UTair is one of the world’s largest actors in the helicopter services market. It operates a wide range of aircraft and, therefore, a wide range of simulators of these aircraft. The UTair Training Center in Tyumen boasts the first and only Mi-26T full flight simulator operated in Russia. The FFS has all that is needed for full flight simulation. It uses an 8-channel visual projection system on a spherical screen. It features the modeling of a wide number of sceneries, with a very high level of detail and search/selection of landing pads, and ensures wide view angles including bottom hemisphere. The visual system provides imagery required for Level D FFS and imitation of various weather conditions from fair to severe. The Instructor Operation Station allows to effectively control all the stages of the training. It enables creating and editing exercises, entering and canceling failures, executing pre- and post-flight debriefings, documenting flight and crew training results.
“The future of helicopter flight training leads to helicopter simulation. New FFS allows UTair which is among leaders of the world helicopter market and one of four biggest Russian airlines alongside with other airlines trained at the UTair Training Center to increase flight safety of their helicopters,” says Vladimir Demkin.
“Now we have a state-of-the-art simulator to hone pilots’ aviation skills in a safe environment,” says Vladimir Kapustin, deputy of the PTC Head. “I’m happy we are able to practice in a low-risk environment. We can recreate numerous types of challenging weather conditions through the simulator and we also train for night operations.”
One of UTair’s Mi-26 pilots notes that a certain percentage of the flight deck contains original equipment in the actual Mi-26. “This level of realism provides positive benefits,” he points out. “We touch the actual controls and when we fly the aircraft. I very much enjoy my time in the new simulator.”
Demkin says simulators are “a safety issue. I believe each airline should have simulators. Here at UTair we don’t count when it comes to safety.”
The UTair Tyumen training center also has Mi-8MTV and Mi-8T simulators, which Transas Group supplied in 2004. Transas provides the upgrading of the earlier-commissioned Mi-8/17 helicopter simulators thus the Flight Training Center has versatile simulators in which two fixed spherical screens are permanently used, while cabins are changed depending on the needs.
The number of accidents in 2011 once again prompted Russian authorities to reconsider the question of safety thoroughly. Structural changes and increased budgets gave a new breath to the Russian flight simulation industry. Dinamika and Transas are the key companies which develop and produce flight training devices for both the military and civil aviation. While military flight simulation is well developed, not more than 70 aircraft simulators are being used in civil aviation, only 10 of which were developed in the past decade and are fully compliant with international standards. The UTair Training Center has taken its way for a future breakthrough and is investing a lot of capital to integrate the simulation technology, which will provide the impetus for improvement and growth.
Center for Scientific and Technical Services (CSTS) Dinamika designs and produces aviation training equipment for flying crews and maintenance engineers, equipment ranging from interactive CBT to full flight simulators. It is a prime contractor of the Russian Air Force, which implies high quality and engineering quality in regard to development, certification, logistics and supply, and aftersales support. Dinamika’s developments include full flight simulators for the MiG-29, MiG-31and Su-33 fighters, and Mi-24P, Mi-28N/Mi-8MTV, and Mi-17–1V combat and transport helicopters. Overseas, the Navy Training Center in Mexico operates a Mi-17-1V full flight simulator.
Transas develops and supplies airborne and maritime equipment, advanced onboard navigation systems and simulators in the highly competitive international market. The company has especially made its mark in the field of helicopter training devices, both complex simulators and procedural trainers. The pallet of training products covers practically the entire range of Russian-made rotorcraft. Full mission simulators are available for the Ka-31/Ka-32 naval helicopter, the Ka-52K attack helicopter and the Ka-60 multirole helicopter. The portfolio also includes simulators for the Mi-8/Mi-17 multirole helicopter, the Mi-24/Mi-35 gunships, the Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopter and the Mi-28 attack helicopter.