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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Helicopter Training: From the Factories

R&W Staff

Bell Parent Plans Academy in India

Bell Helicopter is looking to set up a training academy in India.

The move is part of Bell parent Textron’s effort to strengthen its position in one of the world’s most promising aviation markets. In addition to training for helicopter pilots, the academy would provide instruction on the products of another Textron unit, Cessna

‘We are looking forward to providing pilot training facilities in India," Textron Executive Vice President Mary Howell said Jan. 16. "In fact, that is the top priority of our senior management here.

"India is an exciting place in terms of the opportunities in the aviation market," she added.

A key constraint on aviation in India "is not aircraft or helicopters, but the availability of pilots," said Bell Senior Vice President Bob Fitzpatrick.

To broaden its presence in India, Textron has hired the former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Nalini Ranjan Mohanty.

Bell is vying with Eurocopter to win a variety of Indian military contracts.

Bell, Frasca To Display Networked Sims

Bell Helicopter and Frasca International will be demonstrating two networked helicopter flight simulators at Heli-Expo, to be held March 1-3 in Orlando, Fla.

One simulator will be located at Frasca’s booth (1238) in the Heli-Expo exhibit hall, while the second will be at the Bell booth (1333). The simulators will be networked together, allowing the "aircraft" of each to be seen in the other’s visual system. That should permit interactive flying.

The reconfigurable Frasca TruFliteH helicopter simulator to be displayed in Frasca’s booth will include a dome visual system with a 220-deg field of view.

The Frasca MentorH simulator at Bell’s booth will be in a deployable configuration allowing temporary set up at a user’s location.

Both devices are available in configurations for several light, single-engine helicopters, such as the Bell 206, Bell 407, the Schweizer 300 and the AgustaWestland A109.

The simulators also feature a high-detail visual database of Bell’s training facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Frasca was awarded a contract to provide several simulators in support of the Bell Training Academy’s Project LoneStar initiative last year.

The contract includes a Level 6 Bell 407 flight-training device, six MentorH deployable units for the Bell 206 and 407, and technology upgrades of the Bell 407, Bell 207 and Bell 427 Frasca flight-training devices previously installed. The MentorH units are to be shipped to various locations for on-site training and are designed to increase safety and understanding of Bell systems and procedures.

Frasca is building simulators for numerous helicopters types, including Bell, Eurocopter, Robinson and others. It recently delivered units for the Eurocopter EC120 and several Robinson R22 simulators.

U.K. Test Pilot School Adds Leased A109 Power

The Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down in England has added an AgustaWestland A109 Power to its training fleet.

The unit of the QinetiQ Group had been flying two Sikorsky/AgustaWestland Sea Kings, two AgustaWestland Lynx and three Eurocopter Gazelles.

The addition of the A109 is intended to significantly increase the school’s capacity to train helicopter test pilots and flight test engineers. The school faces a growing demand for spots in its rotary-wing courses.

The aircraft arrived at Boscombe Down in time for the start of the 2007 rotary-wing training course. During that yearlong course, it will undergo engineering modifications to instrument it to increase its training capability and make it available in exercises that currently use instrumented Lynx and Sea Kings.

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