By James T. McKenna | March 6, 2017
Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation + Training’s established a new joint training academy in Valencia, Spain, to support operations of the 429 in Europe, the Middle East and other areas around the world.
The Feb. 14 opening followed January’s certification of the academy and its Bell 429 Level D full flight simulator by the European Aviation Safety Agency. EASA also has certified the 429 initial type-rating course certification that anchors the training center as a satellite of the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas, which is a certificated EASA Authorized Training Organization.
“Customers have asked for global training solutions and we’ve heard them,” said Ray Lamas, general manager, Global Customer Training at Bell Helicopter. “Our collaboration with TRU in Valencia will expand our capabilities for our customers in the region and bring our world-class training in a first-rate simulator and facility much closer to them.”
The new training center is a key part of Bell’s business plan for Europe.
“Bell Helicopter is investing to win in Europe,” Bell EVP of Customer Support and Services Glenn Isbell (shown above) said at the opening. “From facility and capital enhancements to advanced personnel training and certification, we continue to invest to ensure Bell can offer the most modern and robust services to meet the long-term needs of our customers.”
Now fully operational, the Valencia facility offers EASA initial type rating and recurrent courses, regular factory initial and refresher training and the option for wet and dry lease contracts to Bell’s global customer base. Its instructors each have more than 5,000 hours of helicopter experience across multiple platforms and bring English, French, Spanish and Italian language capabilities to the facility.
Built upon TRU’s ODYSSEY H platform, the companies said, the 429 full flight simulator was developed for the unique training requirements of the helicopter pilot. TRU and the visual-systems designer and manufacturer RSI developed an immersive, 10-projector, 41-megapixel out-the-window visual system consisting of a 240-degree horizontal by 80-degree vertical field-of-view display. An 11th projector provides extended field of view specifically for the chin window. This provides pilots with a highly realistic visual experience. The ODYSSEY H also utilizes six-degree-of-freedom primary and secondary motion systems, and features a roll-on/roll-off capability to allow the simulator to be reconfigurable.
TRU Simulation President/CEO Ian Walsh said the facility’s opening marked a day of many firsts for his company.
“The TRU-built Bell 429 device is the ‘first-ever’ Bell 429 Level D full flight simulator with FAA and EASA qualifications for pilot training as well as the ‘first-ever’ TRU device built upon the game-changing ODYSSEY H platform.”
“Additionally, the Valencia training center is the ‘first-ever’ internationally located training academy for TRU,” he said.
Training has been an integral part of Bell’s customer support and services program for more than 65 years. The company has trained more than 140,000 customers from every market segment in more than 135 countries throughout the world.