Airbus Helicopters listened to customers and put their needs under the lens, and revamped its training to offer type rating course preparation through to refresh and recurrent training to maintain, update and enhance proficiency.


Inflexible course lengths, locations, is a challenge even in the best circumstances. Airbus’ role is to remove the extra hurdles and create a learning environment that fosters safety and competence in helicopter operations.

By gathering customer feedback regarding their needs, Airbus has improved and expanded on its training and flight ops portfolio. With this new offering, unveiled at European Rotors 2023, the OEM has addressed a growing range of customer needs with solutions that reflect greater choice, tailoring and innovation. “We’re prioritising continuous improvement of the trainee experience,” says Melchior Kaag, Head of Training & Flight Ops at Airbus Helicopters. “With this restructuring we adapted our offer according to strategic axes we heard from customer input to propose a greater range of courses, innovative digital tools and means, and a larger network to offer customers a training package fully adapted to them.”

As one of the pillars in Airbus’ HCare service offer in its HCare Store, the evolution in training reflects the overhaul of HCare one year ago to offer customers tailorable combinations of service plan—in the case of training, it includes a commitment to quality and to the OEM’s high standards. 


Recurrent emergency

Is there a trainer in the house?

The new training approach now aims at an uninterrupted corps of knowledge, available to pilots and technicians in a more adaptable way. The aim is to accompany students not only in getting their initial type ratings but in preparing them for it beforehand. Similarly, new courses help trainees go beyond the basics, as they acquire a solid proficiency and mastery of skills and know-how. 

“Our goal with this training re-look is to accompany customers in an end-to-end acquisition of knowledge,” says Melchior Kaag. “From preparing them to achieve their type rating, to ensuring they keep up their proficiency with refresher training, the aim is to make training make sense to students.”

To do this, Airbus reviewed the goals and means behind its offer. The subsequent restructuring and deployment of new classes according to helicopter type and training philosophy resulted in a clearer offer; now, for instance, an H125 operator need only refer to H125 training to find pertinent courses. Technician, pilot or avionics objectives are now more apparent – ‘validation of a type qualification’, for instance, or ‘acquiring mission expertise’ – and lay out at each step the goals Airbus has set and how trainees’ knowledge will evolve throughout the programme. Just as clear are the tools (virtual maintenance trainer, full flight simulator) available to achieve them. Short, “cheat sheet” type-specific ID cards set out briefly the curriculum, ground school and hand’s-on means offered throughout Airbus’ global training network. 


Current means confident

Because keeping current is at the heart of safe, efficient operations, Airbus also amped up its offer on refresh and recurrent training. The OEM is expanding its offerings in blended learning sessions and web-based recurrent training for a growing number of helicopter types. The advantage of web-based training means students of the H125, H135 and H145 (and, progressively, other aircraft in the range) can study anywhere, even in their home office. At the same time, Airbus is putting resources into developing innovative tools like virtual maintenance trainers and virtual reality (VR) simulators – which it co-developed, with the added benefit that these tools feature OEM-direct data for better real-world training.


The offer also goes further in supporting trainees’ deeper acquisition of skills, especially through means and tools. Expanded solutions include more full-scale mock-ups, digital trainers, video training and smaller-scale VR and fully-immersive simulators. With the development of new digital tools that take advantage of real helicopter data, Airbus gives trainees the benefit of life-like scenarios in a controlled environment. Customers thus ensure safe, top-quality training while retaining the use of their existing fleet for operations.

H125 VR simulator

Clear and present: solutions nearer to home 

Another key evolution arising from customer feedback and borne out by the OEM’s experience is that bringing training closer to client operations adds up to better skills and safety. Now, operators can schedule more frequent refresh/recurrent training without the expense of traveling too far to a training centre or any loss of revenue due to crew absences. Such close-to-home alternatives to training include additional full-flight simulators making their appearance in Europe and the Americas; a growing number of local operators-cum-qualified training centres; and pilot and technician training capabilities springing up in Latin America and Asia for the newer aircraft in the range. 

Airbus also takes into account the needs of the fleet in each particular region and is progressively implementing physical training means and courses that are adapted to the area. This also extends to coming machines like the H160 as the aircraft is introduced worldwide. 

In expanding the offer to take advantage of innovations in technology, Airbus ensures students get the most modern teaching methods, up-to-date information and high-fidelity graphics to improve their learning outcome. A series of digital tools like Component Locators and the P-Check application (so pilots can train for this inspection) elevate students’ knowledge of the helicopter, while a revamped online learning management system joins other flexible and cost-effective solutions—always with the gain of bringing OEM-level excellence to operators’ door-steps. For more about the evolved training and flight operations suite, visit the HCare Store in AirbusWorld.

Here's a look at the training philosophy of the Airbus Helicopters Training Academy for pilots and technicians:

Airbus Helicopters' civil range training philosophy for pilots
Airbus Helicopters' civil range training philosophy for technicians
Trainees at Airbus Helicopters Training Academy

Airbus Helicopters Training Academy course catalogue