Boeing Defence Australia’s (BDA) flight instructors have completed operator training on the EC135 helicopter it is offering for the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) helicopter aircrew training system (HATS) programme.
A total of 12 helicopter instructors received training from the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service during the three day programme, which was conducted as part an arrangement between BDA and Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ).
BDA Army Aviation Training and Training Support (AATTS) project manager Mark Brownsey said the programme enabled BDA operators to assess the aircraft’s capabilities in a multitude of real-life situations.
"The programme is part of our pilot engagement strategy, which allows BDA instructors to update their skills on a modern aircraft to support our partnership with the Australian Army," he said.
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service Queensland chief pilot Peter Bird added: "The training partnership between Boeing and SLSQ has provided an excellent opportunity for our pilots to share information about this very capable, technologically advanced twin-engine aircraft."
The Eurocopter-built EC135 helicopter was jointly proposed by BDA and Thales for the project AIR 9000 phase 7-HATS programme, following extensive flight and ground assessment trials in January.
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Upon selection, the companies will be tasked with design and development of a fully integrated HATS solution featuring instructors, flight simulators, computer-based instruction and training aircraft for both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW206B turboshafts, the EC135 is a civil helicopter widely used by police and ambulance services and also for executive transport missions.
The helicopter is already in service with the ADF Victorian and New South Wales police forces and is also a part of successful training systems in Germany, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.
BDA currently provides pilot, aircrew and technician training for the Australian Army’s Black Hawk and Kiowa training aircraft under the AATTS contract.
Image: A Eurocopter EC 135 T1 helicopter operated by the German Army. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.