The Royal Australian Navy and Army Joint Helicopter School at HMAS Albatross is a step closer to lift off with the first group of instructors beginning their training at the multi-million-dollar facility.
Civilian contractors Boeing Defence Australia and Thales will teach the future instructors how to operate the EC-135 training helicopter and the three full-flight simulators that make up the school’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System.
Army Captain Adrian Ludman said the group will also validate and verify the training that they will eventually deliver to students when the school opens in January 2018.
“The Training System will deliver a joint Navy and Army aviation training capability that will replace the separate basic rotary training systems that employ the ageing Squirrel and Kiowa helicopters respectively,” Captain Ludman said.
Captain Ludman said the Army and Navy instructors had come together well despite coming from quite disparate training and operational backgrounds and they were proud to be part of a school that would deliver best-in-the-world helicopter training.
"The previous aircraft were single-engine helicopters with all instrument dials. The EC-135 is an electronic age modern helicopter with digital displays replacing the analogue instruments and dual-certified GPS navigation systems that allow flight in-cloud with no requirement for ground-based navigation systems," he said.
The first group of instructors is expected to finish in July with the next instructor course to start in September.
The Joint Helicopter School will train up to 105 Navy and Army aircrew each year. These aviators will go on to train in and subsequently crew the MH-60R Seahawk, MRH-90 Taipan, ARH Tiger and CH-47F Chinook helicopters.
The school will provide better and more advanced training for pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers, Aircrewmen and Sensor Operators for complex rotary operational types, both current and future.