Every year, the Bell Training Academy (BTA) in Valencia, Spain welcomes around 200 Bell pilots to train using the class-leading facilities located there. At its center is the certified Bell 429 Level D Full Flight Simulator (FFS) which has so far accumulated 1,000 simulator hours in 2023 alone.
At the BTA, pilots can embark on the training program to train for any unforeseen circumstances in different meteorological conditions. The Level D Full Flight Simulator is the highest level approved by aviation authorities, providing customers with a regional solution for Bell 429 pilot training.
Patricia Charcos, Valencia Training Centre Manager, said: “I really enjoy talking to the pilots to learn about their experience, not only in the simulator and during their training but also their daily activity flying different missions. It’s rewarding to hear how useful the simulator training is to help pilots prepare in case of an emergency or a malfunction.”
The training facility receives customers from around the world, offering them the option of dry leasing the simulator to use their own instructors for training, along with ground school training and other options to match each attendee’s goals. This year, more than 200 hours of simulator dry leasing has taken place at the Valencia training facility.
Marcel Costa, a former trainee from Helitrans Pyrinees in Spain, said: “A few weeks ago, I attended the BTA in Valencia to do an initial type rating and found that the simulator exceeded all expectations. The visual system is close to reality and once you are immersed in the training you don’t realize you are flying in a simulator. I was able to perform all training maneuvers – especially malfunctions and emergencies – enabling me to understand and learn how the helicopter responds in the unlikely event of these failures.
“The instructors are exceptionally experienced and knowledgeable, and more importantly they know how to share that knowledge with the pilots. The facilities are impressive and the staff are very kind and attentive; I am sure I will go back to Valencia next year for further training.”
The Bell 429 Simulator has an operational efficiency of more than 99% so the number of training interruptions and reschedules is close to zero. The Level D Full Flight Simulator is used for the 429 Initial Course, involving EASA approved training with the introduction needed to fly a Bell 429; a Recurrent Course, consisting of refresher training with a combination of ground school and the flight simulator to help customers continuously master the aircraft; and a Performance Based Navigation Course, combining theoretical and practical training on the flight simulator to meet EASA requirements for all instrument rated pilots.
Tiago Mesquita, former BTA attendee from JCPM Group in Brazil, said: “I recently had the opportunity to re-train on the Initial Bell 429 Course. The Ground School was important to consolidate the knowledge acquired and learn about the updates to the GPS and display units installed on the new aircraft. The simulator training is of great value because we can train the loss of effectiveness of the tail rotor and other scenarios in IFR flight, where it is necessary to manage several systems.”
With training facilities in Europe, Asia, and America, Bell has attracted customers from around the globe, with over 130,000 pilots having completed pilot or technical training at a Bell Training Academy since 1947.
Photo Credit: Bell