Efficient operations are directly linked to the proficiency of pilots, flight crew and technicians, as well as to their ability to safely operate and maintain rotorcraft in a full range of conditions and missions.
Airbus' helicopter division provides complete training solutions in 23 training centres throughout the world – from ab-initio up to recurrent training for both pilots and technicians.
Some of these centres have state-of-the-art full-flight simulators equipped with an OEM Sim Data Pack that provides the most true-to-life experience possible. And many of them utilise full-scale mock-ups, offering trainees an experience similar to what it would be on a real aircraft.
In 2017, Airbus trained around 12,000 helicopter pilots and technicians, and logged some 8,000 helicopter flight hours and 30,000 helicopter simulator hours during training activities.
Airbus offers three different lines of helicopter training services answering to customers needs:
This service offer is dedicated to both pilots and technicians.
With the Graduate service, trainees obtain their qualification on a specific helicopter type.
The teaching programmes proposed in this service offer can be different according to customers’ backgrounds, and range from type renewal courses, or difference courses, up to complete type rating courses.
To maximise their type qualification training, customers can complement their courses with optional improvement modules focused, for instance, on avionics or dynamics.
The Masters line of training services was built to enrich the type certification with additional material about mission equipment. The target of this service is to demonstrate the effect of specific mission equipment on the behaviour of the aircraft, allowing trainees to enhance their operational experience.
This range of services is dedicated to customers who wish to define a target for their training session, but who need guidance in putting the content in place to reach their goal.
Airbus will fully customise the content of the courses, and will adapt the training means to pilot and technician profiles, in favour of achieving the customer’s objectives and optimising trainee results.
This end-to-end service may also include pre-entry and/or maturation modules, as well as training means and media and up to a complete cooperation on the set-up of customer training centers.
As part of both the Masters and Honours offerings, Airbus can propose additional services to accompany customers once they have commenced operations with their aircraft.
Airbus' helicopter instructor pilots can be dispatched to customer sites to join pilots on their missions, showing them the ins and outs of operating the rotorcraft in their actual environment and increasing their knowledge.
This form of on-site pilot assistance can be customised to an operator’s needs to support the safety and efficiency of their operations.
Qualification courses, known as type rating training, are Airbus’ primary training support for helicopter pilots. They range from single and multi-pilot, to renewal and instructor training courses.
Recent expansions to the training course catalogue focus on recurrent and mission training, such as emergency procedures, IFR (instrument flight rules) and night flight courses. The company also offers customised ground and in-flight training programmes.
Many of these courses rely on state-of-the-art training technology such as full flight simulators (FFS), flight navigation procedure trainers (FNPTs) and flight training devices (FTD), which provide realistic and cost-efficient mission training that prepares pilots and flight personnel for real-world situations.
For users who prefer to train remotely, e-learning modules are available for some courses on the Learning Management System (LMS). In addition, ab-initio pilot training is available at the company’s three ab-initio training centres located in Mexico, Asia and Europe.
Technician training is another area of specialisation at Airbus, which offers type rating qualification courses for both avionics and airframe.
The curriculum involves both theoretical training and hands-on practice performed on full-size maintenance training helicopters and actual components, such as cockpits and gearboxes, to simulate real-world situations for maintenance personnel.
Specialised courses and refresher courses also are available, among other offerings.
Airbus has brought virtual reality to technician training with the launch of a new Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT).
The VMT provides a real-time and free-play simulation of Airbus helicopters and their support equipment. It is designed to ease the training experience for students by familiarising them with the helicopters anytime, anywhere in the world; providing an interactive and safe learning environment; and optimising training time by combining a virtual environment with real equipment.
Through this new pedagogical tool, Airbus provides the same level of technician training service to all operators. The VMT will be progressively deployed at Airbus Helicopters training centres around the world.
Airbus is committed to expanding its network of helicopter simulation trainers in order to enhance the quantity and quality of the training solutions available to customers near their operations. Conducting simulation training locally reduces the costs associated with pilot availability and means pilots can train more frequently and with greater convenience.
The three main simulation tools deployed by Airbus are the static flight navigation procedure trainer (FNPTs) and flight training device (FTD), and the dynamic full-flight simulator (FFS), all of which contribute to safer and more realistic training.
The FNPT and FTD complement type rating training. They are a cost-effective solution that allows operators to acquire more training hours before moving to an FFS or real flight, or to meet the training-hour recommendations suggested by independent industry associations such as the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers.
As Airbus’ full-motion training tool, FFSs are available at Helisim in France and various other locations close to customer operations. The Level D version of the FFS offers the highest level of training available on the market today, with the best fidelity, the latest technology and the highest degree of customisation. The OEM data package installed on the FFS ensures the most true-to-life experience possible.
Airbus’ FFS network has grown exponentially over the past few years. Currently, they are available for the most widespread helicopters in the range.