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U.S. flight simulator lands at Air India
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Coutesy: Air India

U.S. flight simulator lands at Air India


Photo courtesy of Alteon Training LLC

Air India has received a new Boeing 737NG flight simulator, above, from Boeing Co. subsidiary Alteon Training LLC. Air India will use the simulator to train pilots. According to Air India, the simulator will save time and money for training.

Boeing sells training gear to state-run airline giant

Photo courtesy of Alteon Training LLC

Air India has received a new Boeing 737NG flight simulator, above, from Boeing Co. subsidiary Alteon Training LLC. Air India will use the simulator to train pilots. According to Air India, the simulator will save time and money for training.

SEATTLE Boeing Co. subsidiary Alteon Training LLC recently delivered a new Boeing 737NG flight simulator to Air India Charters Ltd., fulfilling part of a business deal it signed with the state-run airline in mid-November.

Alteon workers began the complicated process of installing the simulator upon its arrival late last month at Air India's Mumbai training facility. The Indian government is scheduled to certify the simulator for use in late January.

The 737NG simulator replicates the look and feel of a Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft cockpit and can simulate virtually any scenario that pilots may encounter while flying one of the jets, according to Roei Ganzarski, Alteon director of business development/marketing.

"Take the cockpit from an actual Boeing jetliner and put it into a big box, double the size of that box, put it on legs and that's what a commercial flight simulator looks like," Ganzarski said.

"The 737NG simulator stands about two stories high and can duplicate the exact motion, sound and visual of the actual Boeing 737 jet it is modeled after. It's so realistic, you could do all of your flight training in the simulator and then step into the cockpit of a Boeing 737NG jet and fly it as a first officer."

Seattle-based Alteon owns the machine, which was manufactured earlier this year by FlightSafety International Inc., a wholly-owned division of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. It carries a list price of $10 million to $12 million. Air India has said it will use the 737NG simulator mainly to support its low-cost division, Air India Express Ltd., which it established in May 2004.

However, Indian carriers that fly Boeing's 737NG aircraft will also be able to rent time on the simulator to train their crews.

Alteon's contract with Air India stipulates that it deliver and install three Boeing aircraft simulators over the next two years to the Air India Operations Center in Mumbai. The first of the simulators to arrive was the 737NG; Alteon is scheduled to deliver a Boeing 777 simulator in November 2007 and a Boeing 787 simulator in early 2008.


"Per the agreement, Alteon will place three flight simulators and some of its employees at the Air India training facility in Mumbai," Ganzarski said. "Alteon will install the simulators and then train Air India's pilots, cabin crews and mechanics to operate and work on the Boeing jets the simulators replicate."

Capt. T. Manilal, Air India general manager for training, predicted the arrangement would provide the airline increased flexibility with its training programs.

"At Air India, we are rapidly expanding our fleet to meet the increasing demands of air travel in India, and we have been working closely with Alteon to identify and develop the most suitable training solutions for our new airplane orders," Manilal said in a prepared statement. "We are pleased with the creative solutions Alteon is providing us so that pilots and crew will be well-trained and ready to operate the new aircraft in a safe and efficient manner when they are delivered."

Founded in 1932, Air India is the subcontinent's largest international airline and India's national flag carrier. The Mumbai-based carrier provides service to 95 airports around the world, including 12 locations in India through Air-India Express. Air India is one of two state-owned airlines in the country the other being Indian Airlines.

The former ordered 68 new jetliners from Chicago-based Boeing in December 2005. The $11 billion order, which set a record as the largest commercial aircraft purchase in the history of Indian civil aviation, includes eight 777-200LR "Worldliners," 15 777-300ER jets, 27 787-800 "Dreamliners," and 18 of Boeing's next-generation 737-800 aircraft. The first 737-800 was deliverd to Air India this month.

"Alteon Training provides training services to owners of any commercial aircraft with more than 100 seats," Ganzarski said. "One of those tools that we offer is flight simulators we don't build them or sell them, we just place them in locations around the world that are closest to our customers. And our agreement with Air India is that since they placed a large order for Boeing jets, we will provide them with flight-training services and our simulators at their training facility in Mumbai."

Alteon owns and operates 73 full-flight simulators at 22 locations in 13 countries. The company trains more than 400 operators of large commercial aircraft annually, including the international airline industry, corporate, military and government operators.

According to Ganzarski, most of the world's airlines have chosen to contract with companies such as Alteon for flight-training services.

"There are still a few large airlines that do own flight simulators, but most have decided to outsource their flight-training services to private companies," he said. "United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways all have training centers that feature flight simulators, but that's about it."

He attributed the trend to the airline industry's struggle in recent years to remain profitable.

"Historically, the airlines particularly the larger ones would have purchased a flight simulator. But the industry is not nearly as profitable as it once was, and owning a simulator can be very expensive," he said. "They must be maintained according to very strict government regulations, and they must be updated technologically and cosmetically every time a company like Boeing updates its planes. These require significant investments on the part of the airline."

Alteon agreed to place the three flight simulators at the Air India Operations Center in order to accommodate the airline's pilots and cabin and ground crews, and because Air India once operated a simulator inside the facility.

"In the case of Air India, it made sense to them to place a flight simulator close to their home base," he said. "They're an expanding airline, which means they need to train more pilots. And any time an airline like Air India sends one of its pilots away to train, it must pay for that pilot's lodging, his meals and other expenses. But the biggest cost to Air India is that pilot isn't flying, which means they must hire another pilot to replace him."

According to Air India, the catalyst for the Alteon deal is to save money and time on pilot and crew training.



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Wow. Where will they keep it. Mum or Del.

And wow. Tis is the season to be jolly, tra la la la, la la la la.

I love the smell of Jet Fuel in the morning.
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