Helicopters Magazine

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Leonardo opens helicopter training academy in the U.S.

May 5, 2021  By Naomi Szeben

Leonardo announced the official opening of their new Helicopter Training Academy, located on their existing campus in northeast Philadelphia, which also provide  production, support and administrative functions for the U.S.

The new Academy was first announced at the 2019 Heli-Expo in Atlanta and, despite the challenges of Covid-19, was able to open on schedule, two years later.

The new Academy in Philadelphia is part of an $80 million investment in U.S. operations that provides training services for pilots, cabin crews and maintenance technicians across North and South America. The Philadelphia Training Academy will mirror the services provided by its sister facility in Sesto-Calende, Italy. They will be offering air, ground and virtual training as well as simulator capabilities jointly developed by Leonardo and CAE.

The Academy, already up and running for customers, features training services for the AW119, AW169, AW139 models and will also be home to the training services for global customers of the AW609, the world’s first tiltrotor, set to receive civil certification.


The first Leonardo Helicopter Training Academy opened in Sesto-Calende in 2006 and in its inaugural year provided training to 600 students. Between 2018 and 2020, that number grew to an average of 10,000 annually across the global training network, including similar facilities in the United Kingdom, Poland and Malaysia and authorized training centres.

The main features of this new training location are:

  • 10 multi-media classrooms for either small and large group-training, equipped with the latest technology, designed to provide interactive 2D/3D graphic content
  • Three maintenance simulators, one AW139, one AW119 and in the near future, an AW609
  • Two full-flight motion simulators, one AW139 and one AW169/AW609 with roll-on/roll-off capability. Jointly developed by Leonardo and CAE and operated by their Rotorsim JV, the simulators provide realistic training for specific missions, including off-shore, law enforcement, EMS and passenger transport. Additionally, an empty bay exists to allow for a future addition of a third full flight simulator to be added, based on demand.
  • Special amenities for students to either take a break and mentally recharge through meditation and thoughtful reflection in a quiet, dedicated room, or ramp up their endorphins utilizing exercise equipment in gym that includes locker rooms and showers for customer convenience.


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