Following training centre openings across the UK and France, and the planned opening in Norway in 2015, Thales will join SAF Group, one of the key European players in the helicopter market, at a shared training centre in Albertville in the French Alps. The centre will feature two state-of-the-art Reality H Simulators, the most advanced full flight simulator on the market. With this announcement Thales continues on its path to become one of Europe’s premier training and simulation providers.
SAF, who have operated a Reality H in Albertville since 2012, providing training and simulation for the EC135, will be joined by Thales, who will operate a further brand new Reality H to be ready for training by mid- 2014.
The Thales simulator will fill a much needed gap in this market by being the very first in Europe to provide full flight training and simulation for the AS350 helicopter.
The choice of providing training and simulation for these two platforms in the same facility is crucial to better serve clients’ future needs. The AS350 and EC135 form the bulk of the European SAR and emergency response fleet for mountain areas, and the centre is therefore strategically located to service clients across the Alpine regions of France, Italy and Switzerland as well as being easily accessible to all operators across Europe.
Reality H simulators are highly flexible and well suited for training pilots to fly safely under difficult and challenging conditions such as mountain terrain. However, as the facility follows recommendations by the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) to reduce accidents and improve helicopter safety in all situations, Thales and SAF envisage broadening the scope of training services to include any type of environment required by all their clients from across Europe.
Thales is a global technology leader in the Aerospace, Transportation and Defence & Security markets. In 2012, the company generated revenues of €14.2 billion with 65,000 employees in 56 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers and local partners
Founded in 1979 in Albertville, SAF Group pioneered in helicopter rescue services. The second largest operator in terms of aircraft fleet in France, after Air France holds a leading position in the domain in France. The Group has three subsidiaries:
– SAF HELICOPTERS: Emergency Medical Services, passenger transport, sling load operations and mountain rescue
– SAF INDUSTRIES, PART 145: maintenance and repair station for public and private helicopters
– SAF TRAINING ACADEMY: training organization, training services on Full Flight Simulator.
With 120 employees, the SAF Group now operates 40 helicopters in France, Brazil and Africa.
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