The government of New Zealand has approved the purchase of a flight simulator from Canadian company CAE to train the pilots of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF’s) fleet of NHIndustries NH90 multirole medium helicopters.
“A New Zealand-based simulator offers the benefits of increasing the number of trained pilots, while making more pilots and flight instructors available for deployment. This places less strain on RNZAF resources,” Minister of Defence Ron Mark said in an 8 August statement.
“The availability of in-country, simulator-based flight training will also reduce the need to use NH90s for training flights, ensuring the helicopters are available for more operational tasking,” added the minister.
Currently, training for the RNZAF’s NH90 pilots includes simulator-based training in Germany and Australia, combined with training flights in the NH90s in New Zealand.
The budget for the purchase and installation of the 10 m-tall flight training device is NZD42.73 million (USD28.42 million), said the minister. A large facility will be required to house the new simulator and land at RNZAF Base Ohakea has been earmarked for the construction site.
The simulator will be constructed in Montreal, Canada, over the coming year, with the new facility at Ohakea expected to be ready for training activities by July 2020, according to the minister.
“Bringing flight training back to New Zealand makes operational sense,” said Mark. “This announcement follows on from the lease of new [Beechcraft] King Air  aircraft, which enabled us to bring specialist aircrew training back to Ohakea from Australia.”
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