Bell and TRU open first International Training Academy
Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation have opened the first international training centre in Valencia, Spain.
TRU Simulation was formed just over two and half years ago, from predecessor companies (AAI in Goose Creek, South Carolina, Mechtronix in Montreal, Canada, Opinicus in Lutz, Florida and ProFlight in Carlsbad, California).
The new simulator centre is housed in the Cessna Citation facility at the Valencia Airport. The simulator is the first Odyssey H Bell 429 full flight simulator (FFS) built by TRU Simulation.
The FFS is EASA Level D certified, it has a special feature which gives the occupants the feeling of real flying, the unique feature is a second motion sensor set in the simulator.
The simulator is larger than most commercial airline simulators because the Odyssey H helicopter simulators have 240 degrees of vision rather than the normal degrees of vision on fixed wing simulators.
The Odyssey H simulator has been designed to allow helicopter modules of different models to be interchangeable. TRU Simulation has an formal order for three simulators from CopterSafety along with five different helicopter modules.
The simulation hangar has the first simulator fitted and the facility is already preparing for a second simulator. Dependant on the market, the second simulator might well be a fixed wing business aircraft. David Smith, VP Training Centres confirmed that TRU are open to developing where the market takes them, either another rotorcraft simulator or a fixed wing.
Smith said that locating the facility at Valencia was an easy choice as Textron is already here with the Cessna Citation Service Centre, all the infrastructure needed is in situ.
Bell Helicopter and TRU Simulation held a joint briefing before the opening ceremony, introducing the key senior personnel at both companies. They explained why the first simulator is a Bell 429 and why the facility is in Spain. The 429 market in Europe is strong with a number of large orders from government based agencies, such as the Swedish Police who operate seven examples from five bases, two Bell 429s are fitted with hoists and are based in the north of Sweden mainly used for mountain rescue. Thomas Lindall, flight operations manager for the Swedish Police explained their operations and that already the fleet has flown some 6,000 hours since the aircraft were delivered in late 2015.
Jakub Hoda, managing director for Europe and Russia said that the helicopter is becoming stronger despite the woes in the oil & gas industry, he confirmed that there had been growing stronger interest in the VVIP market and he expects growth in that area of the market.
A short video of the new simulator was released