Malaysia's army and navy are to outsource their primary helicopter pilot training to the new Aviation Academy Integrated Training and Services (AAITS) company. AAITS will begin training operations later this month in the city of Ipoh, andis acquiring two Eurocopter EC120 helicopters and three Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) Eagle 150 fixed-wing aircraft, writes Brendon Sobie.

Currently, all Malaysian military primary pilot training is overseen by the air force, but the navy and army have decided to send at least 62 ab initio students to the AAITS- Malaysia's first privately run helicopter flying school - over the next five years. The company has the capacity to train up to 32 helicopter pilots a year and plans to also enrol civilian students for helicopter and fixed-wing licences.

The first group of 12 army and navy cadets will begin ground school this week and flight training next month following the delivery of the Eagle 150s. The ab initio course includes 50h on the Eagle, followed by 108h on the EC120, deliveries of which will take place in December.

Ipoh's Sultan Azlan Shah Airport is offering to rent AAITS land for a training facility and says Ipoh is an ideal location for training because it has little commercial traffic.

Malaysia's navy needs new pilots because it has introduced six AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300s over the past year and has six Eurocopter Fennecs on order. The army is to form a new aviation unit with 11 AgustaWestland A109 light utility helicopters, the first of which will be delivered in November 2005.

Industry sources say the service is also negotiating with CTRM to lease at least eight Eurocopter BO105s. The company plans to acquire and refurbish at least 12 ex-German army BO105s.


Source: Flight International