Airbus Helicopters, Thales and Helisim to build world-class North America regional helicopter training center

Airbus Helicopters, Thales and Helisim have announced that they will join forces to construct a new, state-of-the-art helicopter pilot and maintenance crew training center in Texas. The Airbus Helicopters Training Center in North America will be located at the headquarters of Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Grand Prairie.


Helisim, a joint venture of Thales and Airbus Helicopters and a leader in helicopter training, will develop and operate the simulation center, which will include the first H145 and H175 Level D simulators in North America. These Reality H Simulators built by Thales will enable pilot training for two of Airbus Helicopters' newest, most high-tech civil helicopters which are now entering wide use in the Americas.


The initial investment is estimated to be about $40 million and the new facility will have the capacity for several thousand pilots and maintenance personnel a year to perform both introductory and recurrent training. It will be designed for expansion to allow the future installation of an H160 simulator once the helicopter model is certified and production is under way. It will also incorporate the existing training facilities of Airbus Helicopters Inc., including its H125/AS350 full flight simulator and H135/H145 flight training device.


"With this expansion, we will be able to support our customer's needs for world class helicopter training in one convenient location," says Christopher Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and head of the North America region. "Expanding our capabilities with H145 and H175 Level D simulators will allow customers to optimize their training programs and benefit from the expertise that we can provide onsite at our headquarters in the U.S."


"When we first embarked on this partnership with Airbus, our primary goal was to ensure the next generation of helicopter pilots worked in an industry with the same safety record as those in the fixed wing market," Benoit Plantier, Thales Vice President, Training and Simulation says. "The quality and level of training Helisim offers to pilots in Europe has gone a long way to accomplish that goal. We are proud to continue this legacy in North America."


"The opening of this new facility near Dallas represents a major international expansion of Helisim," says Christian Cochini, CEO of Helisim. "Our 18 years of experience in simulation training for Airbus Helicopters' wide range of aircraft, representing nearly 200,000 simulated flight hours, combined with AH Inc. expertise will allow us to offer safe and efficient training solutions for North American customers."