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From the Field: Era to Open New Training Center

By R&W Staff | February 1, 2008

Era Helicopters plans to open a new helicopter training facility in Lake Charles, La. early this year.

The 7,694-sq-ft Era Training Center is to feature two helicopter flight training devices (FTDs), an AS350B2 FTD and an EC135 CPDS P2+ FTD, as well as classrooms, custom briefing areas and administrative offices.

The training devices are to be provided by Frasca International.

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The new center is intended for use to provide training for both Era Helicopters’ crews and third-party operators.

"One of our primary goals is to make Era Training Center a benchmark for industry-wide safety and excellence in helicopter training," Era Training Manager Paul White said. He added that the center would offer a broad range of courses. "Because of its proximity to our Lake Charles operations base, real-time training can be incorporated with Era’s diverse fleet of light, medium and heavy aircraft."

The center’s offerings won’t be restricted to training offshore operations crews, he said, but will include "programs designed for air medical operators, corporate aircraft owners, and airborne law enforcement personnel."

Era in August 2007 received a $2.1 million Rapid Response Fund grant from the state agency Louisiana Economic Development for providing a training facility close to its operations base on the Lake Charles Airport property. That fund is intended to promote economic development projects beneficial to the state of Louisiana by providing new jobs and capital investments within the state.

The AS350B2 Helicopter FTD is to be configured to fly like the Eurocopter AS350B2 and include exact replication of that aircraft’s cockpit. It also will have Frasca’s TruVision 220 visual system with a database to allow for training in offshore support environments as well as winter weather operations in Alaska. Frasca is to certify it as a Level 6 FTD. Delivery of that device was planned for late 2007.

The EC135 CPDS P2+ FTD also is to be an exact cockpit replication, duplicating the single-pilot IFR configuration that Era operates. It is to be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

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