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World's first TRTO for FireBoss




Air Tractor Europe S.L. is a Spanish, Valencia-based company that is exclusive dealer of US, Texas-based Air Tractor Inc. for sales of that company planes in Europe, North Africa and Middle East. Being extremely successful in sales of Air Tractor planes over the past years the company has recognized the importance of organizing appropriate training for pilots and technical staff that are flying and maintaining Air Tractor planes. The fact that its sister company Avialsa T-35 is EASA Part 145 Maintenance Organization specialized in providing all levels of maintenance and comprehensive logistical support for different types of Air Tractor planes, the company Air Tractor Europe used its close links to Avialsa for achieving its strategic goal - establishment of high-quality system for training of AT-802 pilots and related technical staff. The first step towards achieving this impressive goal was Air Tractor Europe request for Avialsa T-35 to provide a twin-seat training version of highly successful floats-equipped Air Tractor AT-802A Fire Boss fire-fighting aircraft. The reason for such initiative and investment was the fact that Air Tractor Europe recognized that land-based AT-802 two-seater was not appropriate for training of new and existing pilots of continuously increasing fleet of Fire Boss fire-fighting amphibian planes.


Answering to its sister company need for two-seat Fire Boss in March 2010 Avialsa T-35 handed over to Air Tractor Europe the first dual-cockpit dual-controls EASA-certified AT-802 Fire Boss fire-fighting and training amphibian aircraft. The development of that plane was a result of tight cooperation of Avialsa with Air Tractor Europe as well as with AT-802 manufacturer Air Tractor Inc. and Minnesota-based floats producer Wipaire Inc. The certification of that aircraft by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indeed opened the doors for serial production of twin-seat AT-802 Fire Boss planes and its employment in the much-needed training role. Namely, shortly after getting access to its first AT-802 Fire Boss, Air Tractor Europe employed that aircraft for training of pilots of Macedonia's Protection and Rescue Directorate that purchased from Air Tractor Europe three single-seat AT-802A Fire Boss planes in package with training for pilots and technical staff. The extremely positive results accumulated from the initial use of twin-seat Fire Boss in training role resulted in growing interest by different AT-802 operators for getting access to Air Tractor Europe's unique plane and/or for purchase of that type of aircraft for their own use. Appropriately, over the past two years a total of 6 twin-seat AT-802 Fire Boss amphibians have been produced by Avialsa T-35 - two of them have been sold to Israel in 2011, one became property of a private Spanish operator while additional 3 have been keep in service with Avialsa T-35 for performing training of new pilots, keeping existing flyers current as well as for scheduled and unscheduled proficiency checks by Avialsa Class Rating Instructors (CRI) and Class Rating Examiner (CRE). When necessary, Avialsa uses some or all of its AT-802 Fire Boss twin-seaters in fire-fighting role - obviously the presence of second seat provides a room for putting in the air a coordinator of fire-fighting operations or any other professional that can assist the front-seat pilot in performing his assignments.


Air Tractor Europe continuous straggling to achieve perfection in training of AT-802 pilots has leaded this company to at least three additional and tremendous achievements over the past two years. Namely, in the second half of 2010 the company Air Tractor Europe established a EASA 147 Training Center that being supported by Avialsa T-35 in terms of personnel, capacities and know-how started providing on a daily base training of technical and engineering staff for different level of maintenance of AT-802 planes. The next step in creation of high-quality AT-802 training system come one year later when under Air Tractor Europe initiative Avialsa T-35 became the world-first AT-802 SET and SET(SEA) Type Rating Training Organization (TRTO) under Certificate that was issued by the Spanish State Air Safety Agency (Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aerea - AESA) on 27 June 2011. Ever since Avialsa's TRTO is able to provide training for AT-802 pilots under specifically developed syllabuses for land-based and amphibious AT-802s. Those syllabuses can be adjusted to provide training for students with either zero or some prior experience on land-based AT-802. In addition, specific training courses are also available on demand or when needed by customers. For performing its daily operations, the Valencia-based TRTO constantly employees three CRIs and one CRE that are having constant access to at least one land-based AT-802 and one amphibious AT-802 Fire Boss. The number of TRTO planes is normally increased when there is a need of involvement of more aircraft in the training process.


Another clear indication of Air Tractor Europe vision for the future and its intentions to transform Valencia into a center of excellence for training of AT-802 pilots became very obvious during the 49th International Paris Air Show that took place at Le Bourget Airport between 20 and 26 June 2011 when its sister company Avialsa T-35 presented to EUREKA's Eurostars Programme a 1,99 million Euro project for creation of an advanced Training Center for Air Tractor AT-802 aircraft. The project was gladly accepted and under that project, that is scheduled to end on 31 December 2013, a flight simulator system, officially named Flight & Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPT), for pilots of AT-802 aircraft in land and amphibious configuration will be developed with unique capabilities to simulate fire-fighting missions with level of fidelity and accuracy as described in the JAR-SDT 3A for a Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainers (FNTP). The successful realization of this project will significantly help in increasing the level of quality of training of AT-802 pilots and will definitely supplement the recent appearing on the market of so-missed two-seat AT-802 Fire Boss amphibian fire-fighting/training aircraft, world-first Part 147 Training Center for training of technical and engineering staff for different level of maintenance of AT-802 planes and world-first AT-802 SET and SET(SEA) Type Rating Training Organization. The successful integration of all these elements will mean fulfillment of Air Tractor Europe ultimate strategic goal for establishment of high-quality system for training of AT-802 pilots and related technical staff.


Although being key supporter of Air Tractor Europe in its development of sophisticated training system for AT-802 aircraft, the company Avialsa T-35remains recognized around the globe as the biggest, EASA Part 145 Maintenance Organization for Air Tractor planes. The company is also known as the biggest operator of Air Tractor AT-802 planes in the world. As a result, Avialsa fleet of single-engine fire fighting and agricultural configured AT-802 planes regularly operates in Spain, Italy and Portugal while company's possession of big number of AT-802 planes, pilots and highly-qualified technical staff gives Avialsa a freedom to promptly answer any urgent calls from governments or other subjects around the globe that have found themselves in a need of first-class support in performing specialized aerial work services, more precisely operations for fighting wildfires and agricultural-related operations. At the beginning of 2012, Avialsa fleet was composed of 30 planes out of which 15 were land-based AT-802s and 15 were floats-equipped Fire Boss amphibians. In addition, Avialsa also operates a fleet of Cessna 337 Skymaster planes for regular and fast deployment of its own pilots, technical staff and spare parts when needed and where needed.


Apart from being able to independently support its entire fleet of AT-802 planes from a maintenance point of view, including performing heavy maintenance and repair works, Avialsa T-35 is fully authorized and capable for performing different installations and modifications, for providing spare parts on a regular base including through established aircraft-on-ground (AOG) system as well as for providing on-field assistance via deploying highly qualified personnel whenever necessary. Apart from maintaining its own planes, Avialsa T-35 is also providing different level of maintenance and logistical support for other Spanish AT-802 operators as well as for private operators in neighboring Portugal and Italy. Apart from that, Avialsa T-35 is also providing maintenance and logistical support for AT-802 fleets that are operational within the Governments of six Mediterranean countries - Italy, Israel, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Cyprus. Clear indication of Avialsa's capacities are illustrated with some simple numbers - during 2011 over 45 AT-802 aircraft owned by 8 different customers passed through Avialsa EASA 145 Maintenance Organization!


By Igor Bozinovski