Angola plays the SIM card to boost training
At Albertville in the French Alps, Thales and SAF Helicopteres, a specialist in mountain aerial work and helicopter emergency service (HEMS) operations, share a training facility equipped with two Thales Reality H full flight simulators (FFS) configured for the EC135 T2+ and AS350 B3e helicopters. Report by David Oliver.
The EASA certified training centre is the first in Europe to provide full flight training and simulation for the AS350 B3 type helicopter. Thales and SAF share a building, maintenance and spare parts, and a partnership agreement allow seach company to offer up to 2,000training hours per year on the two Level B/D FTD 3 FFSs mounted on 6-axes Hexia all-electrical motion systems with Image Generation System ThalesView 70 and a computer generated environment for the management of the virtual animations. The databases cover an area in southern France stretching from the Alps to Marseille.
SAF Helicopteres, which has a fleet of more than 30 helicopters, is an approved training organization (ATO) which offers wet and dry lease courses tailored to customers which includes initial and recurrent type and instrument ratings, mountain flying and NVG, SAR and HEMS mission training.
In addition to civil and commercial clients from Europe, India and China, the training centre attracts several parapublic operators including the Angolan National Police
Angola is twice the size of Texas, with over 3,000 miles of land boundaries and 1,000 miles along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.
The approach to its great central plateau is marked by the west-central highlands the highest peak of which is the 2,620m (8,600ft) Mount Moco in the Serra da Chella mountain range.
Established in 1992 the Angolan National Police Force Helicopter Unit’s exclusive Eurocopter fleet currently include six Dauphin AS365 N2s with emergency medical service capabilities and 15 AS350 B2/B3 Ecureuils used primarily for surveillance missions. A contract was signed in 2009 for 10 AS350 B3s, selected for its superior operational capability and ability to operate in hot, high and dusty conditions, for delivery between June 2009 and May 2011, making the Angola National Police Force one of the best- equipped law enforcement agencies in Africa.
A total of 41 Angolan police pilots have been trained at Albertville to date for AS350 B3 Type Rating. These include a number of instructor pilots who now man the Instructor Operating Station (IOS) teaching their own training courses.