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Oct 30, 2014

Training to be Provided for Helicopter Pilots

David Jones

In addition to the four point one million acquisition cost, there is also the matter of what had previously been described as prohibitively expensive operating costs. But those costs, including training, parts, service and maintenance have already been factored in, and pending a physical inspection to verify the airworthiness of the craft, all lights are green.

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force

“The operating cost for the Bell 206, the Long Ranger, would be about a hundred and fifty thousand Belize dollars per year. The Jet Ranger would be approximately about a hundred and thirty so you are looking at two hundred and ninety thousand dollars. At the moment, we have two hundred thousand dollars allocated for whenever we use Astrum services. So instead of using Astrum services, we will use this money and it will be only an additional ninety thousand dollars to run two of these helicopters. It’s a different platform, of course; fortunately we’ve started the process prior to acquiring these helicopters. We’ve already had three pilots that have gone through the Jamaica training course; they have acquired a hundred hours flying these helicopters already. So it is a matter of getting them the extra hours that they need to completely be able to fly it on their own. So within a three-month period, we’ll be able to have three pilots that are fully functional and capable of flying these aircrafts on their own.”

 

Reporter

“Okay and then you would have to train the mechanics…”

 

Brig. Gen. David Jones

“Yes, the mechanics….the training primarily, we will be able to get it from our CARICOM friend in Jamaica as well. We have other options in Canada and the US to provide mechanical training for them to repair these helicopters.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“In the event though that the last check, the physical inspection together with experts from our CARICOM sister nation of Jamaica which operates the same type of helicopters. In the event that the physical inspection doesn’t completely satisfy us, we will not proceed with the purchase of the two refurbished helicopters. But in that case, government will buy one absolutely brand new helicopter at a cost of five point six eight million dollars.”

 

The smaller helicopter, the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, would be used for fast missions and reconnaissance and can carry three persons. The larger helicopter, the Long Ranger, can carry six persons and can be used for casualty evacuation. The helicopters are currently in Miami awaiting a physical examination before final approval is given for purchase.

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