HNZ Group Inc. (TSX: HNZ.A, HNZ.B) (the “Corporation”), an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a state-of-the-art Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2/B3E Level 7 Flight Training Device (“FTD”) from Frasca International, Inc. (“Frasca”). The FTD is to be housed at the Edmonton International Airport (“EIA”) main terminal building as part of the growing flight training sector established at EIA.
The Airbus Helicopters AS350 is the most popular commercial single engine helicopter in North America and this FTD will be the first of its kind in Canada. It will be manufactured by Frasca, producer of over 2,600 flight training devices around the world. Delivery, installation and certification of the device in the main terminal building at EIA is expected to be completed in May 2016 at an approximate cost of $3 million.
Over the past 18 months, HNZ, through its subsidiary Canadian Helicopters, has collaborated with Transport Canada to break ground on establishing a framework to qualify HNZ’s training course to replace some in-aircraft training hours with FTD hours. Upon certification of the FTD, HNZ’s training course will be the first in North America to receive regulatory credit for in-aircraft flight hours on a helicopter FTD and represents a unique training offering. Crews currently complete external simulator training on multi-engine medium and heavy aircraft and this acquisition will provide an internal platform for extending synthetic training across its fleet. In addition to HNZ crews, the FTD will be available to the broader helicopter industry for third party training.
The high fidelity device will allow for more in-depth and efficient training than can be accomplished from aircraft use alone. It will allow pilots to simulate inadvertent entry into deteriorating weather conditions, night flying, platform and rooftop landings, confined area procedures and emergency procedures training including failures not possible to practice safely in the aircraft. The FTD will be used in completing Airbus Helicopters AS350 B2/B3E initial type endorsements and recurrency training.
Features of the FTD include Frasca TruVision™ Global visual system with projection display in a totally enclosed spherical screen (200° x 70° field of view). Databases including the Edmonton area and specialized training scenarios at various locations in Canada will be provided. The FTD will also include a vibration platform, Graphical Instructor Station (GISt™), and cargo mirror simulation.
HNZ’s President and CEO, Don Wall, said “we are pleased to partner with Frasca and EIA in order to bring this FTD to western Canada. We believe that the introduction of this device into our training program will enhance our industry leading safety standards for the benefit of our crews and customers. Synthetic training is recognized by Transport Canada and our major customers as being a highly effective tool, and this FTD represents the very leading edge of technology in simulated flight. As a result of this acquisition, we will realize significant safety as well as environmental and economic benefits, and we expect that other operators in the industry will also want to avail of this opportunity.”
HNZ Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, has been a helicopter operator in Canada for over 65 years and light helicopter operations constitutes a significant portion of hours flown. Western Canadian crews are currently trained at the company’s facilities at EIA. HNZ employs over 60 AS350 aircraft in its fleet throughout Canada, Asia-Pacific andAntarctica and is pleased to expand on the flight training community at EIA with this acquisition.
ABOUT HNZ GROUP INC.
HNZ Group is an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services with operations inCanada, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and Southeast Asia. The Corporation operates in excess of 120 helicopters in support of a range of multinational companies and government agencies including onshore and offshore oil and gas, mineral exploration, military support, hydro and utilities, forest management, construction, air ambulance and search and rescue. In addition to charter services, it provides flight training and third-party repair and maintenance services. HNZ Group is headquartered near Montreal, Canada and employs approximately 700 personnel from 34 locations around the world. The Corporation operates from fixed-base locations as well as from temporary locations, commonly referred to as “pool locations”, and provides helicopters in a wide variety of climatic conditions and terrain across the globe.
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