Pilots and mechanics looking for expert instruction are turning to Bell Helicopter's Training Academy in Fort Worth.
Bell says it's the only manufacturer to offer hands-on training for pilots and mechanics teaching them what they need to know to fly and service almost any helicopter.
“Right now I am training for the Bell 407,” said William Vargas who is an EMS helicopter pilot from California.
Instruction starts in a classroom. Then mechanics move into the sprawling hanger where they get hands-on.
“I need to be able to respond to any helicopter issue, any mechanical issue, 24/7,” said Vargas.
The pilot get to test their talents in a simulator and eventually in real helicopters that take off outside at Alliance Airport.
The training academy has taught more than 120,000 students since starting around 1948.
Anywhere between 40 to 120 students train weekly from more than 160 countries. Some of the students from Mexico and Central America are even learning maintenance in their native language.
“Name anywhere on the face of the earth that there is a helicopter that operates, we have trained people to fly those helicopters in those environments," said Marty Wright, Master Flight Instructor at the academy.
Vargas says he’d be lost on the job without the training.
“Oh, it would be a real trial by fire, that’s for sure,” said Vargas.