HATSOFF plans to increase civil training for Asian customers

Singapore
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Indian helicopter training provider HATSOFF (Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying) plans to increase its training offerings for civil operators throughout the Asian region.

The training provider, a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics and CAE, was formed primarily to provide simulator training for the Indian military, but is now branching out to train more civilian pilots.

Chief of training Capt NS Krishna says many helicopter operators in India use the facility, and it is now marketing its capabilities to operators in Indonesia and Thailand in particular. "It makes sense for them because we are located very close," he says.

The Bengaluru facility has a full-motion, Level-D certificated simulator, which uses a roll-on/roll-off platform. This allows it to load different cockpit modules into the same motion base, which it calls the "mothership".

It has modules for the HAL Dhruv, Eurocopter Dauphin and Bell 412 which can be inserted into the mothership and be ready for use within three hours. When not in the mothership, the other cockpits can be loaded into a fixed device for other training.

Added to that, Krishna says HATSOFF has a number of different terrains in its database to cater for its clients, including those in the growing offshore sector.

"In the civilian market, about 80-90% of the customer base comes from the offshore market, which is why we have about eight types of rigs supporting various operations," he says.

Since opening in 2009, the facility has seen an average of 40% growth in training hours year-on-year, and expects to conduct more than 3000 flight hours in 2013.

Krishna adds that the facility is well placed to handle further growth in the helicopter training market: "We have one motion platform with three cockpits and we have everything done to receive another mothership and cockpits, so we are ready for growth in the coming years."