Good pilot prospects on the Horizon

Part of the Edge group, Horizon is the region’s largest independent helicopter flight-training academy.

Its state-of-the-art facility in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, operates an all Bell fleet of 407, 429 and 505 helicopters, along with modern flight simulators, with courses designed for novices to experienced military pilots.

The region has seen a growth in demand for helicopter training, fuelled by the expected employability of pilots.

Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, CEO Horizon, said: “A recent study by Boeing estimated a demand for 59,000 helicopter pilots worldwide through 2037. With increased defence spending and new uses for rotary aircraft, the industry is thriving, and more jobs are becoming available, from law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations, to offshore support and emergency medical services.

“With a great number of pilots retiring, trained helicopter pilots are almost guaranteed a job in this growing industry for the next 18 years.”

The majority of the students at Horizon are sponsored by the military, but the school has seen the profile changing.

Al Dhaheri said: “We have a lot of youth cadets as students, but we also have international students and candidates from other GCC countries. Lately, we’ve noticed an influx of females breaking into this male-dominated industry in the region, and that trend is beginning to trickle down to Horizon. It is an exciting and welcome change.”

The international-standard courses can be tailor-made to customer requirements. Both civil and military training is undertaken using simulators and on turbine glass cockpits, which offer the new pilot a wide range of operational skills.

The team also provides additional training in night vision goggles to help pilots navigate the difficulties of flying in the dark.

The academy’s most recent addition to the training fleet are the Bell 505 helicopters. Al Dhaheri said: “The Bell 505s are configured for flight-training, fully equipped with an integrated glass cockpit that enables pilots to experience modern controls on a single-engine aircraft. The aircraft delivers exceptional visibility and has a high-tech flightdeck and adaptable cabin design, with advanced avionics enabling first-time pilots to fly with confidence.”