The Indian Air Force (IAF) has entered into a formal agreement with Bangalore-headquartered HATSOFF for training their pilots operating the Advanced Light Helicopter, Dhruv. The first batch of pilots have already finished their mandatory five hours of training on the Dhruv simulator at the facility.
Every pilot is scheduled to receive five hours of training spread across two-two-and-a-half-months. The IAF on its part has also deputed an officer to monitor the training. “This is going to be a huge morale-booster for the ALH pilots considering the issues we had with this chopper. We hope to bring down the accident rate and couldn’t have asked for a better facility than HATSOFF,” a senior IAF official said, not wanting to give out the number of pilots set to undergo the training.
The training exposes pilots to undertake dangerous missions, thereby giving them the confidence to practice and execute ‘bail-out-plans’ in the company of an instructor. “The options are aplenty. Now we know what needs to be done during bad weather, ways to avoid the clouds and so on. Time saved, money saved and above all the confidence of having upgraded our training levels,” says an IAF pilot, who was part of the Sarang team earlier.
HATSOFF’s first overseas client is Telstra Child Flight from Australia. Telstra operates emergency helicopter retrieval service for children and babies in Australia. Two pilots have already undergone training at HATSOFF. In addition, two Ecuadorian presidential pilots also have finished their training on the Dhruv simulator. The air force pilots from Ecuador are now likely to follow suit.
HATSOFF now hopes to have the third simulator (Dauphin 365-N3) installed by November this year, taking the total to three. The facility has also got on to Facebook (Hatsoff Bengaluru) for the benefit of helicopter community world-over.
(Posted by Abraham V. Kuruvilla, Tarmak007 intern from Madras University.)
(Below update on July 11, 2011)
Training comes handy: The practice of various emergencies and malfunction procedures at HATSOFF simulator has come in as a saving grace for Capt Paddy, COO of Swajas Air Charters Ltd. On July 7 2011, while take-off from oil rig Tahara, just after rotation, Paddy is said to have experienced a total power loss of engine No 2.
"The chopper was recovered without much problem, as we had practiced these emergency malfunctions at HATSOFF last month. Hence, safe single engine flight was established and after identifying the fault, No. 2 engine was taken into manual control and was flown to Chennai, making a safe landing. The cause of this failure was due to a broken P3 air pipe which was rectified later. It was a simulator session, which made things very easy and helped us to handle the emergencies," the pilot was quoted as saying on the HATSOFF FB site.