Cutting-edge helicopter training facility for Abu Dhabi

A helicopter training centre in Abu Dhabi is to open in mid-2015 and have eight simulators, which cost some $15-20 million a pop.

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Abu Dhabi Aviation, the Middle East’s largest commercial helicopter operator, plans to open the region’s first helicopter training centre next year.

Located in Khalifa City, the centre is to cover about 7,250 square metres and will have eight simulators.

Construction of the centre is expected to cost about Dh25 million.

“We already received the first helicopter simulator, and it’s the first [of its kind] in the region here and the Middle East and Africa,” said Ahmed Al Khouri, an adviser with Abu Dhabi Aviation.

The simulator, which cost between US$15 million to $18m, is being stored at a nearby Etihad Airways facility until the centre opens by the middle of next year.

“The requirement is now to do compulsively a training on simulators. It raises the safety, you do things same as in an aircraft. You shut down the engines, and you practice the fire drill,” said Mr Al Khouri.

The centre is meant to train pilots for Abu Dhabi Aviation, the UAE Armed Forces and police. It will also offer training for pilots from Saudi Arabia, Oman, India and Africa.

The centre will seek accreditation from European and American bodies such as the European Aviation Safety Agency.

“You apply for certification. They will fly a mission to inspect the simulator,” Mr Al Khouri explained.

Abu Dhabi Aviation operates 61 aircraft and 57 helicopters. Its main mission is the support of Abu Dhabi’s offshore oil companies and construction companies.

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