Airbus Helicopters and Helisim break ground on expanded North American training center

Photo above – Left to right are Laurent Vautherin, Airbus Helicopters Head of Training; Anthony Baker, Vice President of Customer Support, Airbus Helicopters Inc.; Jean Charles de Troy, Managing Director of Helisim LLC, Grand Prairie; Ron Jensen, Mayor of Grand Prairie; Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc.; Christian Cochini, CEO of Helisim. Photo © Robbie Aleman for Airbus Helicopters Inc.

Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Helisim broke ground Tuesday on a new, state-of-the-art helicopter pilot and maintenance crew training center in Grand Prairie, Texas.

With an initial investment of $40 million, the Helisim Simulation Center will provide introductory and recurrent training to thousands of pilot personnel each year. The first stage of the new facility is scheduled for completion later this year when the first new Thales Reality H Level D full-motion flight simulator will be delivered.

Helisim, a joint venture of Thales and Airbus Helicopters and a global leader in helicopter training, will develop and operate the simulation center. The center will house the first Level D full-motion flight simulators in North America for Airbus H145 and H175 helicopters, two high-tech civil helicopters, which are now entering wide use in the Americas.

“Airbus Helicopters builds some of the most innovative helicopters on the market today. The North American training center will meet our customers’ needs for exceptional training on those aircraft,” said Anthony Baker, Vice President of Customer Support for Airbus Helicopters Inc. “This training center will advance safety for the thousands of men and women who operate and fly in our helicopters every day.”

The new center represents a major international expansion of France-based Helisim, which brings 18 years of experience in simulation training for Airbus Helicopters aircraft.

“Helisim is committed to improving flight safety across our industry through simulator-based training,” said Christian Cochini, CEO of Helisim. “By working closely with Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Thales, we will now be able to provide unparalleled training solutions to North American customers.”

Eventually, the North American training center will expand to include an H160 simulator, once that helicopter model is certified and production is underway. The center also incorporates the existing training facilities of Airbus Helicopters Inc., including its H125/AS350 full flight simulator and H135/H145 flight training device.

The venture is expected to bring several thousand pilots and maintenance personnel to Grand Prairie every year, sometimes for two weeks or more, supporting the growing local economy in Grand Prairie.

“Grand Prairie is a proud supporter of Airbus Helicopters Inc., which has helped to make North Texas a hub of aviation,” Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen said. “This training center will strengthen that reputation while boosting our local economy.”