Airbus Helicopters, Thales and Helisim are to join forces to construct a new, state-of-the-art helicopter pilot and maintenance crew training center in Texas. The Airbus Helicopters Training Center in North America will be located at the headquarters of Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Grand Prairie.

Helisim, a joint venture of Thales and Airbus Helicopters will develop and operate the simulation center, which will include the first H145 and H175 Level D simulators in North America. These Reality H simulators built by Thales will enable pilot training for two of Airbus Helicopters' newest, most high-tech civil helicopters which are now entering wide use in the Americas.

The initial investment is estimated to be about $40 million and the new facility will have the capacity for several thousand pilots and maintenance personnel a year to perform both introductory and recurrent training. It will be designed for expansion to allow the future installation of an H160 simulator once the helicopter model is certified and production is under way. It will also incorporate the existing training facilities of Airbus Helicopters Inc., including its H125/AS350 full flight simulator and H135/H145 flight training device.