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Sunday, June 1, 2008

From the Factories: Partners Weigh Spot For AW139  Simulator

R&W Staff

Training service partners AgustaWestland and CAE are debating whether to install their second AW139 simulator at the former’s Philadelphia plant or the latter’s N.J. training center.

The companies have installed FAA- and European Joint Aviation Authorities-certificated Level D simulators for the AW139 and the A109E Power at their Rotorsim joint venture in Sesto Calende, Italy. The simulators are built by Montreal-based CAE.

AgustaWestland has lagged in offering simulator training, which has particularly irked U.S corporate customers and offshore operators, who are pushing for more sim training for their crews. It opened Rotorsim in 2006 in part to address those concerns, but U.S. operators have remained without a simulator.

The Italian manufacturer has been expanding its operation at North Philadelphia Airport, where it assembles the A119 and the AW139. CAE early last year opened its North East Training Center near the Morristown, N.J. airport, moving a Level D simulator for the Sikorsky Aircraft S-76 there from its center at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It chose New Jersey in large part because it was "most convenient to our customers," many of whom are corporate helicopter operators in the Northeast United States, said Jeff Roberts, CAE’s group president for innovation and civil training and services.

The question with which the partners are wrestling is whether the AW139 simulator is better placed at a site set up to support simulators and their use in training or one where customers are picking up their aircraft.

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