With more than 2000 helicopters to be procured by 2021, uncertainty on growing maintenance demand appears. Increased need for technical knowledge provokes more questions than answers: outsource or invest in the internal technical team, train on-site or send to the training center, etc.
In 2016, more than 20% of global helicopter fleet was operated in Asia-Pacific. Complicated geo-political situation that boosts need for military helicopters, region’s economic growth and enlarged usage of rotorcraft for law-enforcement agencies (police, EMS etc.) are expected to increase the share by more than 20% in the next decade. Global helicopter market growth tendencies are promising as well – it is expected to increase by at least 10% annually.
Increasing demand of helicopters imposes additional need for technical capabilities as well. According to experts at Helisota, an international provider of integrated MRO and training services for rotorcraft aviation, during the last years, the amount of inquiries regarding technical training in the market has significantly increased.
In general, it is always beneficial to have a team of trained technicians inside the organization. In case maintenance services are outsourced, even minor faults take a great amount of precious time to be resolved. In contrast, well-trained internal technical team can start solving failures immediately. On-site technicians are familiar with the aircraft, know the specifics and are acquainted with the maintenance history, thus, they can identify the malfunction quicker. Continuous performance of equipment maintenance allows technicians to foresee alternative failures in advance and operatively repair them.
Cost-saving is another feature mirroring the benefits of available technicians inside the organization. When helicopter is operated frequently and faults are found, time and money for transporting rotorcraft to the maintenance station is saved. Similarly, maximum efficiency is guaranteed – inner staff ensures technical readiness, thus helicopters can be available almost 24/7.
Generally, two possible ways exist to prepare the team of technicians, both alternatives taking around 1,5 months. It is either procure training, which is performed by training organization team (on-site training), or sending the trainees to training organization. In case training is conducted at client‘s site, costs are usually saved. Generally, two training specialists visit client‘s site, hence company doesn’t need to spend on student transportation or accommodation abroad. Additionally, on-site training incorporates flexibility factor. Practical training is conducted on the helicopters that are used afterwards in day-to-day operations and duties execution. This type of training can be flexibly adjusted to the needs of the client or targeted only for practical training. A number of additional services such as audit, preparation of individual training plan based on unique client’s needs and future development goals, invitation of third party training partners, are possible when conducting on-site training.
On the other hand, training at school‘s base involves different variety of additional benefits. Trainees receive unique opportunity to access and get familiar with global real-case examples, much wider variety of training materials and consult with highly experienced team of professionals at training school. In some cases, trainees even get the chance to boost their knowledge during hands-on training while studying at the real MRO.
It is worth highlighting that geographically closest training partner in practice is not necessarily the most optimal solution. It is highly advisable to look further than neighbor country or region – sometimes further can translate into higher quality or more personalized training approach. Moreover, training trips expand employee understanding of global aviation standards and improve open-mindedness. Employees not only learn new practices usual for the country or region of training location, but sometimes, get to participate in the actual maintenance processes along with highly experienced technical personnel.
Finally, the question whether to have internal technicians team or outsource repair services remain under competence and decision of the operator. At the end of the day, both of the choices for alternative technicians training have different benefits and it is up to the business which road to take.