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Posted 29 June 2017 · Add Comment

The pace of new aircraft development and booming airliner sales worldwide is creating growing demand for flight training simulators. As Dave Calderwood finds out, TRU Simulation + Training is more than keeping up.

The booming market for new airliners around the world – and especially in the Middle East – is creating challenges for cadet pilots coming through and also existing pilots needing type rating and refresher training.
For TRU Simulation + Training, a maker and supplier of flight simulators, it’s an opportunity the company is relishing in the region.
TRU’s latest development is with Oman Air, which has opened a new training centre in Muscat equipped with new flight simulators from the Textron subsidiary.
The two full flight simulators (FFS) are for Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 airliners operated by Oman Air. TRU is also supplying a flight training device and virtual cockpit classroom for the latest B737 MAX aircraft.
“We are honoured to work hand-in-hand with Oman Air to support the set-up and operation of the flight training centre in Muscat,” said George Karam, VP and general manager of TRU’s air transport simulation division. “Oman Air joins a number of other fast-growing airlines around the globe that have opted to train their pilots and aircrews at home.”
It’s an important point. The number of aircrew required to meet future demand is staggering, and airlines are increasingly looking to train pilots locally rather than send them halfway around the world. Even qualified airline pilots must take a check flight in the simulator every six months, so investment in local facilities is essential.
“The Middle East is an important and growing market and a large number of aircraft orders are for carriers in the region, said Karam. “The simulator market follows the aircraft market closely.
“TRU is Boeing’s chosen supplier for the 737 MAX [simulator]. Boeing chose us after a dedicated examination,” added Karam.
The first FFS for the recently rolled out B737 MAX is already up and running in Miami, USA and “receiving excellent feedback from the FAA and Boeing”.
Boeing also confirmed orders for the first two simulators for the new generation 777-9 in March from TRU, further expanding the relationship between the two US companies.
The 777-9 is scheduled for delivery in 2020 and both Emirates and Qatar Airways have placed huge orders for the aircraft.
These first two FFS suites will be delivered and installed in Boeing training campuses in Singapore and the UK, becoming operational in the second half of 2019.
It’s not just Boeing that has turned to TRU. Airbus has also worked with the company on full-flight simulators for the A350, the A330 – one delivered to Oman Air ¬– and the ubiquitous A320, of course. The A380 is the only Airbus airliner for which TRU does not have a simulator.
There’s more to a flight simulator than just the hardware. For Oman Air’s new training centre, TRU supplied a suite of training products for the B737 MAX, all sharing the same software. TRU will also be providing maintenance for the devices and is responsible for the full operation of the centre, located adjacent to the Oman Air’s headquarters in Muscat.
Captain Ali Hassan Sulaiman, executive vice president & chief operations officer, Oman Air, said: “The Oman Air Flight Training Centre will enable us to continue operating to the highest safety standards and with absolute professionalism. Furthermore, our investment in this training facility – the first of its kind in Oman – will add an important milestone in the airline’s contribution towards the development of the sultanate.”
It’s not just airliners that TRU supports with simulators. Being part of the Textron Group, TRU has developed simulators for a whole range of Textron Aviation aircraft, including being first to market with the Beechcraft King Air Fusion cockpit 250/350.
Other Textron aircraft supported include the latest business jet from Cessna, the Citation Latitude.
A simulator for the Longitude, still in flight-testing, is under development.
Other Cessna simulators are the CJ series, Sovereign, Caravan turboprop and 172 and 206 single-engine piston aircraft.
Recently, the Citation CJ3+ training programme, available at the TRU ProFlight Pilot Training Centre in Tampa, Florida, successfully received full certification and is currently accepting customers.
 

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