The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is receiving training on its latest batch of six Enstrom 480B helicopters ahead of delivery. Over the next four weeks, a total of 36 RTA pilots and mechanics will be visiting Enstrom facilities in Menominee, Michigan, to become trained to fly and support the turbine-powered helicopters. They will be split into two groups, each staying two weeks at a time.
“The pilot and mechanic training are crucial to the success any programme,” said Bayard duPont, Enstrom technical fellow and chief flight instructor. “We welcome this latest group with open arms. It’s about building relationships, getting to know the people at the factory, and feeling comfortable asking us when questions arise.”
While in the United States, the group is being assisted by the Enstrom representative in Thailand, M-Landarch. The students have been able to co-ordinate the trip with the acceptance and delivery of the latest order. “The timing worked out well. We are able to support our customers and handle the acceptance of our six turbine training helicopters,” said Thana Dharapak of M-Landarch. The helicopters will be used for training in Menominee prior to shipping them to Thailand.
Enstrom announced the sale of the six aircraft for the RTA to the Thai Enstrom distributor in March this year.
A previous order for 16 aircraft was officially announced in February 2010. Although these helicopters are primarily used for pilot training, they also have secondary roles, such as search and rescue, surveillance and disaster relief. The first three destined for the RTA were confirmed as undergoing flight testing in the US in early March 2011, with their delivery taking place during July. The second batch of three followed suit in September 2011, with the next four shipped from the US in mid-December 2011 and accepted into RTA service in January 2012. All 16 helicopters from the first batch were delivered and operational by June 2012.