The Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) begins its first helicopter ab-initio technician training class with 15 students, signalling the start of a long-term plan devised by Eurocopter and CAFUC to develop a pool of qualified helicopter technicians to meet China's future needs in the expanding general aviation sector.
In an opening ceremony held on 26 October, senior representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), the French and German Consulates, as well as CAFUC and Eurocopter China were present at the CAFUC campus in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, to mark the commencement of ab-initio technician training courses for students to become qualified helicopter technicians and pursue a career in the industry.
"Safety has always been a top priority for Eurocopter, and proper training is essential to ensuring the utmost safety in helicopter operations," stated Eurocopter China CEO Bruno Boulnois. "We have joined hands with CAFUC to train technicians in China, as CAFUC is a key training organization within CAAC, the highest authority in flight safety and aviation development in the country. With CAFUC's proven expertise and competence in aviation training, this co-operation marks another milestone in Eurocopter's long-standing relationship and presence in China supporting the helicopter market and serving its customers."
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Eurocopter and CAFUC was signed in July 2010, with the aim of training 120 helicopter technicians annually by 2015. In the "train the trainer" scheme, Eurocopter provides training to CAFUC instructors both in China (one month) and its training academy in Germany (three months), to certify them to the highest international standards as qualified instructors to provide ab-initio technician training to students in CAFUC.
Describing it as a win-win situation for both Eurocopter and CAFUC, CAFUC President Zheng Xiaoyong said, "Our instructors get to learn from the best in the industry, and in turn, we are able to train many more students to prepare them for a career in a sector that is poised to grow rapidly as China begins to open up its low-altitude airspace in the coming years."
The course will last for four months, during which each trainee will receive 350 hours of theoretical and 300 hours of practical training in the technical aspects and functions of a helicopter. Upon completion and passing a CAAC-approved test, the trainee will receive a basic helicopter maintenance technician license. Thereafter, he will be able to seek employment with helicopter companies and operators, during which he can then further obtain type-rating certification to progress in his career.
"Proper ab-initio training is absolutely crucial, as it not only provides the foundation for trainees to further improve their skills in tandem with on-the-job experience, but also in the development of the aviation industry," said Detlef Ehrig, head of Eurocopter Training Academy based in Kassel, Germany. "In a fast-growing market like China, this foundation has to be built early, so that the growth of the industry will not be hampered by the lack of ab-initio trained technicians and pilots."
In a sign of commitment to the Chinese helicopter market, Eurocopter China will continue to invest in training activities in co-operation with local organizations. "In time to come, China will become one of the world's largest aviation markets, and top-level training is key to its future development," concluded Boulnois.
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