After more than a year of putting pilots through its unparalleled upset recovery course, FX Helicopters is now expanding its focus to bring an additional margin of safety to operators that has not been previously offered elsewhere.
“We are looking for new ways to bring the skills and knowledge we have gained over the past decades to the industry,” says Chuck Aaron, half of the powerhouse team behind FX Helicopters (FX). Chuck, along with Sikorsky test pilot Kevin Bredenbeck are together educating pilots on how to critically think about their particular missions. The FX program ties together the pilot, the aircraft’s abilities and performance, and how an operation can tailor itself to fly missions safely in any given environment. FX believes its 3 day course can revolutionize an organization. Operators will be able to integrate safety margins most people never considered, all while reducing training costs and implementing new cost saving measures.
The primary focus is on the pilot and his knowledge of his aircraft’s dynamic stability. By the end of the course a pilot’s confidence grows immensely. The pilot encounters a high stress training environment unlike anything he or she has experienced before. “It isn’t your typical flight training course,” says Chuck Aaron.
It may not be enough simply to offer this course to the pilots; therefore, FX has decided to open the ground portion of its course to operations directors. If you send a pilot or chief pilot through the program the Director of Operations can participate in the ground portion of the class at no charge. They can even ride in the backseat of the helicopter during the flight portion. This allows for a first-hand look at the effectiveness of the training. This not only allows for pilots to gain the experience but in reality this allows for more effective CRM within an operation.
Training isn’t cheap and FX understands that. Required training by various agencies hasn’t had the same effect of mitigating rotor wing losses as it has with fixed wing losses, and everyone seems to be aware of this. The result is rotor wing insurance rates are higher than fixed wing aircraft insurance rates; more accidents and higher average loss payouts result in higher premiums. FX has taken this problem head on.
FX is unique in that a credit is offered by Starr Aviation for attendance at the FX Helicopters training academy. Operators can see a premium decrease of up to 10% on their next renewal for participation in the FX training course. Also, the FX course offers a second benefit; the course can be substituted, on an alternating year basis, for the annual in-aircraft training under most insurance policies. For instance, if an operator has multiple aircraft types and pilots train in each of the types every year, alternating training in the FX course single training event in a single aircraft, the BO 105, would result in substantial cost savings to the operator. Instead of having to train in 2 or more aircraft each year, a pilot could potentially satisfy his insurance flight training requirement every other year through the FX course.
New opportunities for rotor wing training are highly sought after in the insurance market. Insurance carriers want to see innovative ideas from experienced rotor wing instructors and professionals about how the industry can mitigate losses. FX has proven they are at the forefront of this effort. Through the expertise Chuck and Kevin are handing on, they believe the industry can begin to see the accident rate decrease significantly. As more operators and aircraft owners take part in the FX course, this change can happen and it is on the horizon.
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