Inaugurated at the start of 2015, DCI’s International Helicopter Training Centre (CIF-H) was successfully certified as an Approved Training Organization (ATO) in accordance with European standards by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) on 23rd May 2016. This certification paves the way for initial flights by the end of June 2016. The role of the CIF-H is to transfer the know-how of the French Army’s light aviation unit (ALAT) to countries friendly with France. The centre is located in the French military pilot training schools at Dax and Luc-en-Provence.
DCI Chairman and CEO Jean-Michel Palagos declared: “We are very pleased to have obtained certification from the DGAC, which reflects the quality of our infrastructures and training courses at the CIF-H. It shows that we made the right decision to create this centre, whose role is to transfer to foreign trainees the know-how developed by the ALAT over many years in technical and tactical aspects of rotary wing combat, using the new-generation helicopters that DCI is proud to possess.”
The CIF-H is DCI’s response to very high demand from friendly countries for helicopter pilot training, from initial training through to the performance of operational missions. Training takes place on military helicopters or on the HELIDAX* fleet of 36 EC120s fitted with innovative equipment. Training at the CIF-H is in English or French in partnership with the ALAT and HELIDAX. During their training courses and their time in France, all trainees receive personalized support from DCI, which offers a comprehensive service covering accommodation, meals and transportation.
In 2015, DCI decided to acquire its own fleet of EC120 Colibri helicopters to complement the HELIDAX fleet. This decision was taken in response to very high demand for initial technical and tactical training for helicopter pilots. For 2016 alone, the needs of the CIF-H amount to around 3,000 flying hours. Accordingly, DCI decided to acquire the helicopters and to modify them to the same standard as the HELIDAX fleet, in order to ensure a consistent standard across the training fleet.
The first helicopter was delivered on 29th July 2015, followed by a second on 22nd February 2016. Acquisition of a third helicopter is in progress.
In April, after less than one year in operation, the CIF-H passed the 1,000 flying hour mark using EC120 Colibri helicopters in the Calliopé configuration.
In another success, on the 25th May 2016, the first graduating class from the CIF-H achieved a 100% pass rate in obtaining their French military helicopter pilot qualification.