Training of pilots for new types of helicopters in Slovakia? It is more than probable.
The Army of the Czech Republic is gradually getting into the phase of purchasing new helicopters. We have already known by now that it will concern 8 multi-purpose UH-1Y Venom’s and additionally 4 AH-1Z Viper fighters. Together with a necessary service background, it is necessary to train pilots for the new types. With regards to the fact that our training centres dispose of old equipment of Mil Mi type or of single-motor Enstrom 480, a logical solution is to use services of the European Air Services Company falling into Czechoslovak Group.
European Air Services, or Slovak Training Academy, ensures training programs for the civil and military pilots and crews, starting from the basic training, through advanced and typical up to local and tactical training. It disposes of a fleet of its own 16 helicopters for training, aviation works and VIP transport, consisting of the following types: MD-500E, S-300C, Bell 206, AS-355N, UH-60 and Tecnam P90. The enumeration of the equipment indicates how big experience the company has with the west equipment, including running of the legendary „Black Hawk.“
Though CLV Pardubice company from the Czech Republic (part of LOM Praha, State Enterprise) has significant experience in the training of abroad military pilots, but the current fleet isn’t sufficient for the future training. The single-motor Enstrom 480 evidently won’t be a suitable platform for training on the machines of Venom and Viper type, and the remaining helicopters, Mi-2 and Mi-17, are absolutely different. A solution could be a fully new platform complying with the category of helicopters, which the Aviation Forces is going to gain during the several next years, but this is a utopia with regards to the current state and the fact that the American Enstrom 480 extended the fleet just very recently.
So, it appears to be more than well-founded idea to address our partners from Slovakia, namely company Czechoslovak Group and to continue the already established cooperation. But let’s not to move forward and wait until the delivery of the new helicopters is realized; at that time it will be absolutely clear who will be responsible for training. According to the plan, the army should obtain the new equipment in a horizon of three to four years.