Three Textron brands collaborate to form European training solution for Bell Helicopter customers
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation + Training, both Textron Inc. companies, (NYSE: TXT), announced a collaboration to open the first Bell Helicopter training center in Valencia, Spain. The companies are targeting the facility to be operational in the first quarter of 2016 with the Bell 429 as the initial training platform. The training will be conducted via a full flight simulator (FFS) which will be designed and produced by TRU Simulation + Training.
“We began with the Bell 429 based on the continued interest in the product in the region,” said Eric Cardinali, executive vice president, Bell Helicopter’s Customer Support and Services organization. “Since 2011, the number of Bell 429s operating in the region has grown from two to nearly 50. This exponential growth means increased training demands requiring a regional solution.”
The two companies will leverage the facility footprint of a third entity, Textron Aviation, by housing the new training center at the Textron Aviation Service Center in Valencia. The 89,000 sq. ft. (8.62 sq. meters) facility has 64,000 sq. ft. (5.94 sq. meters) of hangar space and a three-floor office layout. The facility also offers back shop capabilities for servicing Beechcraft, Citation and Hawker aircraft.
“The new training center leverages the resources of three great Textron brands – Bell Helicopter’s world-class training curriculum and resources, TRU Simulation + Training’s industry-leading simulation technology and Textron Aviation’s state-of-the-art service facility in Valencia,” continued Cardinali. “It also answers our customers’ requests for us to develop a regional training solution – sooner rather than later. This collaboration is just the beginning of our plans to bring in-region pilot and technical training to customers worldwide.”
“We are pleased to partner once again with our sister company, Bell Helicopter, to address the need for additional footprint and furthering their capabilities in Europe,” said Brad Thress, senior vice president, Customer Service for Textron Aviation. “Adding the Bell Helicopter training center to our Valencia site complements our existing service offerings and serves as a platform for Textron to drive additional training opportunities.”
The Bell 429 simulator is an FFS which will be certified to Level D FAA and EASA/JAA requirements. TRU Simulation + Training will employ its new ODYSSEY™ H FFS design, developed especially for the unique training requirements and needs of the helicopter pilot. The ODYSSEY H utilizes TRU Simulation + Training’s state-of-the-art, ultra high definition visual system with a 240 degree horizontal by 80 degree vertical field of view, and 41 megapixel total system resolution visual display. The ODYSSEY H also utilizes primary and secondary motion systems, and features a roll-on/roll-off capability, which allows the simulator to be reconfigurable for other helicopters.
The simulator flight compartment is an exact replica of the Bell 429 cockpit, from forward of the pilot’s anti-torque pedals to aft of the pilot seats. All controls, panels, instruments, avionics, equipment and furnishings will be identical in appearance, feel, location and operation to those of the actual aircraft. It will respond exactly like the aircraft in all flight conditions (day, night, VFR, IFR and NVG) as well as accurately simulate malfunctions and emergency procedures.
“The ODYSSEY H provides the most realistic training platform available today for any rotary wing simulator, and will allow Bell 429 helicopter pilots to safely and cost-effectively hone their skills,” said Diane Giuliani, TRU Simulation + Training’s senior vice president and general manager of Training Centers and Services.
The simulator will be built at TRU Simulation + Training’s facility in Tampa, Fla., and is expected to be fully operational in Q1 2016, to coincide with the opening of the training center in Valencia.
The new center furthers the teamwork begun at Farnborough where Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation + Training announced their collaboration on the full flight simulator on the Bell 525. It also furthers Bell Helicopter’s commitment to increase resources and regional support in Europe, starting with the announcement that its facility in Prague, Czech Republic would serve as its official customization, delivery and aftermarket service center for Europe.
John Garrison, president & CEO, Bell Helicopter and Jim Takats, president & CEO, TRU Simulation + Training at the Bell Helicopter booth at Helitech. The companies announced plans for a new Bell Helicopter training center in Valencia, Spain.
Left to Right: Danny Maldonado, executive vice president, Sales & Marketing, Bell Helicopter; Diane Giuliani, senior vice president and general manager of Training Centers and Services; Eric Cardinali, executive vice president, Customer Support and Services, Bell Helicopter; Jim Takats, president & CEO, TRU Simulation + Training; John Garrison, president & CEO, Bell Helicopter; Ray Lamas, general manager, Global Customer Training, Bell Helicopter.
TRU Simulation + Training was formed in April out of three legacy companies – Mechtronix Inc. and OPINICUS Corporation that were acquired by Textron late last year, and a portion of the former AAI Logistics & Technical Services.