SEPTEMBER 28 2016 – 2:22PM
Queensland’s rescue chopper pilots have been saved expensive training overseas with the opening of a $10 million training centre at Brisbane Airport.
The centrepiece of the Aviation Australia facility was Australia’s first Augusta Westland 139 helicopter simulator, a high-tech piece of equipment built by international aviation company Thales.
Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said the simulator was incredibly lifelike and would test pilots in all sorts of adverse weather conditions with no risk of physical harm.
“If you think about flying helicopters on a normal day that can be exciting enough, but when you go out in a really serious bad storm, or bad weather conditions, you need to have the training that has adequately prepared you for those conditions.
“Here in Australia, we have some pretty tough conditions from time to time, whether it’s offshore or even up in the bush.
“For LifeFlight to have that training on-ground, that best-quality training for their crews, is the sort of thing Australians should do, I reckon.”
LifeFlight chairman and former Queensland premier Rob Borbidge said the new facility in Brisbane would be a life saver for Queenslanders.
Previously, Mr Borbidge said, pilots had to go to either Malaysia or Italy to get proper simulator training.
“The 139 is the helicopter of choice now in Australia for medical and rescue missions,” he said.
“There are a large number of the aircraft in Australia and to have the world’s leading helicopter training simulator here in Brisbane is tremendous.
“It will save lives and it will make life a lot cheaper for operators of rescue services, such as LifeFlight.”
Queensland Training and Skills Minister Yvette D’Ath said the new Aviation Australia facility would add to the state’s export potential.
“Aviation Australia are regularly training international students in a range of aviation skills and we also have Aviation Australia running facilities in other countries, including in Saudi Arabia where it was successful in getting the contract in delivering a school of excellence in aviation training,” she said.
“This isn’t about just bringing international students to Queensland, it’s also taking our skill sets to other countries to train them up and having that international reputation of delivering the highest quality of training.”
The 5000 square metre Aviation Australia training centre also included 20 lecture rooms, a technical training area and a cafe.
Aviation Australia chief executive Bill Horrocks said more than 1000 students had been trained in the past year.
“This new facility further strengthens our ability to provide world-class training in aviation related disciplines, including engineering, cabin crew, aviation security, pilot training and ground operations.”
Source : Brisbane Times