Irrespective of political turmoil in land-based energy supplier regions, oil and gas exploration and production is rising, especially offshore where drilling technology advances have made extraction more efficient. This is driving demand for helicopters and simulators.
Illinois-based aircraft training device manufacturer Frasca International, Inc. (Booth H304) announced here at ABACE 2014 it has just completed factory acceptance by the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) of a Citation CJ1+ Level D full flight simulator (FFS) purchased by Nanshan Flight Academy in Shandong.
“Factory acceptance per CAAC guidelines is like certifying an airplane,” said Niu Tao, Frasca’s Beijing-based Chief Representative in China. “The requirements for the simulator are very stringent.”
While the safety and practical benefits of simulators are well known to the airline industry, they are still relatively new to civil helicopter pilots, instructors and operating companies. First, the student and instructor do not have to spend time flying to a particular place–for example, a hilly area, an offshore platform and so forth. With one click of a mouse at the instructor station, the helicopter and the crew find themselves teleported.
FlightSafety International is moving to expand and upgrade its helicopter training portfolio substantially, according to David Davenport, vice president of operations.
“Helicopter training has been a high-growth business for FlightSafety for many years. We have always been the factory-authorized training provider for Bell and Sikorsky. We’ve also tried to branch out into highly successful helicopters such as the [Eurocopter] EC135 and [AgustaWestland] AW139,” Davenport said.
Urbana, Illinois-based Frasca International has expanded its market share in China with contracts totaling eight flight simulators this year and has also developed its first level-D full-motion simulator.