AS365N3 Helicopter FFS Simulator Training at HUTC

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Through Wind, Rain, Clouds and Snow…

For 10 hours a year all of our pilots have the opportunity to fly in all of these conditions and more, in the usual clear skies of the Cote d’Azur thanks to the simulator.

I set off from the Isle of Man to France, heading North of Bordeaux to my destination of Heli Union Training Centre (HUTC) in the rural setting of rolling hills surrounding Angoulême-Cognac airfield. HUTC is home to the only AS365N3 FFS (Full Flight Simulator) in Europe, and is certified by the DGAC and EASA. I’m here to join our Chief Pilot, Alain Viard to sit in on one of his annual slots at HUTC.

08:45: Thierry Vermeersch, the head of simulator department leads our pre-flight brief as Alain’s instructor and sim operator for the day. Following our 15 minute brief we head through the two sets of fire proof doors, into a huge double height room home to the simulator. Resembling something similar to a round water tower mounted on hydraulic actuators (legs to you and I). The room isn’t big enough to be able to capture a photo of this behemoth, which at full height extends to 3 metres above the ground.

We climb the steps and enter the simulator which was dimly lit. The darkness of the space was illuminated by the control panels, screens and the instruments. Inside there is the full front portion of the N3 complete with cockpit, jettison doors, and the distinctive dauphin nose. The cockpit faces a curved screen which wraps around the aircraft and upon which the simulation is projected.

I’m instructed to strap-in as you normally would in a live aircraft, then to put on my headset in order to communicate with Alain and Thierry. The FFS recreates the sounds as well as the movements and changing views you would experience in live flying.

As Alain starts up the aircraft, Thierry begins the simulation, we are transported to runway 13L at Marseille airport. The simulated building’s are 3D – outside the Airbus factory you can see the helicopters parked on the spots  next to the fire department’s Canadair floatplanes – which are now no longer based at MRS but all add to the ‘real’ feeling. The first exercise is straight forward to acclimatise, but not long into the second exercise Thierry presents Alain with an engine flame out, the warning lights flash in the panel in front of us, we hear the audio alert and see the needles drop on the instruments – it all feels very real.

A series of engine failures ensue over the course of the simulation. Aircraft appear in the distance and I’m told that they are always automatically set on a collision path! Thierry demonstrates the different flying conditions he is able simulate; flying through snow, which is also reflected by the white blanket which has appeared on the ground. While flying through the rain, we hear the sound of rain hitting the windscreen. Emerging from the dense clouds, flying through the sunset into night time.

Next Thierry instructs Alain to land on a frigate which has been positioned off the coast of Marseille. As we come closer you can make out two stationary figures on the deck waiting to greet us. We land by day, but the take off is by night, closely followed by a controlled ditching into the sea. The impact from the water is obvious but not hard, and after the floats are deployed we bob with the swell of the sea.

At HUTC  the simulated area is concentrated on the South of France, beyond that, its not like the ‘Truman Show’ as I had thought it might be, instead, outside the available area the ground is just blue screen but the rest of the simulation doesn’t change.



As we are drawing to the end of the two hour slot, Alain tells me that he is going to give me the controls after asking if I had ever flown a helicopter the answer was no, “not even a fixed wing?”, “No, never” I told him that the closest I came was that I can drive a car. During the 15 minutes I was in control I just about managed a hover (with Alain’s assistance), took off from Marseille, flew around and managed to land – it was bumpy, but wasn’t a crash!

In the simulator, you can land anywhere you like, as long as there is space to do so – no permits, or special permissions like in reality! You can practise the same approach as many times as you like, and you can train for scenarios which simply aren’t possible during live training. The simulator doesn’t let you get away with things that wouldn’t be achievable in reality, it has pre-programmed criteria that must be fulfilled in order that it can determine if the area you have landed in was big enough, or whether any landing is a crash or not. Whilst we didn’t crash during this slot I’m told they can feel very realistic, and aren’t comfortable.

The two hours flew by, and after my first time at the controls I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. There is no doubt that this is an invaluable training tool for our crew, and that they are very well looked after by all the team at HUTC.

Article is by Kerry Walker, our Operations Manager.

For more information about  the FFS AS365N3 Simulator visit the HUTC website. Heli Union also offer a EC135 FTD simulator at their facility and provide a PBN course. PBN will become a requirement for all pilot’s holding an IFR rating by August 2020.

Luviair’s ‘Let’s Do’ Attitude

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We at Luviair share a strong sense of compassion and corporate social responsibility, being active in, and contributing to, several charities. One of these is Let’s Do, a veterans’ charity based in Northern Ireland.

Let’s Do was founded by Robert Maxwell along with two other veterans who, unfortunately, aren’t with us today. Robert is a self-driven man who has continued to manage the charity after his fellow founders passed away. His drive stems from his own experience in the military and what he witnessed while in the aftercare system – with some veterans saying that they had not seen anyone in a professional capacity for ‘over a dozen years’. This level of neglect was the catalyst for Robert and his fellow founders to set up the charity and has remained the driving force behind the charity’s 3-year period of growth.

Let’s Do aims to help veterans deal with both mental and physical disabilities. It facilitates this by creating events for veterans in similar situations across the UK so that they might grow in confidence with their injuries by getting involved and socialising with their peers. Ross is a veteran who, in his own words, was ‘struggling to move forward in life’. Let’s Do took Ross to the ‘Southern 100 International Road Races’, held on the Isle of Man, earlier on this year. The trip made a huge impact on Ross who fed back that it ‘gave me something to look forward to and, for the first time in a long time I got excited.’ By this one example it is possible to witness how Let’s Do provides life-changing experiences and an inclusive community for those affected by war.

As the charity continues to grow they have cast their net to include veterans across the UK and Isle of Man. This year Let’s Do teamed up with the ‘Joey Dunlop Foundation’ and sent 12 veterans across to the IoM TT races. Currently the charity is running 3 trips to the Isle of Man, 2 to Northern Ireland and 2 to the UK mainland. Let’s Do is not only looking to continue sending veterans over to the UK but is also looking at purchasing a 14 seat minibus with the aim of taking a selection of veterans on safari to Africa in the coming years.

Robert has a dedicated core of volunteers who take a proactive approach and reach out to veterans in need, connecting them to the charity. Social media plays an ever-increasing role when finding people and many of them message the charity following feedback from other beneficiaries. However, despite Robert’s hard work, his trips are often over-subscribed and he has to decide who will attend on a case-by-case basis. We wish Robert and his team all the best with their upcoming events!

To find out more about Let’s Do and to support this fantastic charity, please visit their website or Facebook page- links below.

Let’s Do website:

Let’s Do Facebook page: Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 09.43.30

Luviair sponsors Isle of Man cyclist Leon Mazzone

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Leon Mazzone is a 20 year old road cyclist from Ramsey in the Isle of Man. Riding since the age of 3, Leon has been competing with Team ILLI-Bikes in Belgium (top end amateur set) since 2015 and is about to start his 3rd year of Luviair sponsorship. Nigel Watson, Luviair’s director, is also a keen cyclist and the founder of ‘Manx Youth Opportunities’ (MYO) which is an organisation that provides opportunities to young people on the island. As a young aspiring professional sportsman from the island he was an obvious candidate to sponsor.

We recently took the opportunity to catch up with Leon to hear how he got on this season. Competing in the British National Championships, which incidentally saw him riding on home turf on the Isle of Man, Leon achieved 8th in the under-23 category despite battling with a knee injury. Other personal highlights were his two early podium positions at the start of the season; these wins gave him the drive and confidence to perform throughout the year. The most important race for Leon was the ‘Ras Mumhan’ based in Ireland. It proved pivotal as he aimed to use this particular race to qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He achieved his goal by coming 4th during stage three, 4th overall in the general classification and 1st place in the under-23 category.

With the 2017 season now over Leon is currently living the ‘normal life’, working to save up money for the upcoming year. Leon also talked us through his off-season process. This consists of a 3 week break after the season ends, which first includes a week to ‘clear his head’ while he takes stock of the previous season. The second week he returns to the gym, starting off slow and building up gradually. By the end of the third week he is back into his routine, training almost every day for the upcoming season.

After a very successful season and full of gratitude to Team ILLI-Bikes for the past 3 years, Leon is now hoping to move closer to home and is currently in talks with several teams throughout the UK. Leon has set his sights high, aiming to compete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia (Gold Coast) and in the UCI World Tour by 2020. Undoubtedly, Leon’s new team, whoever he chooses to ride with, will help him achieve his goals.

 We wish Leon good luck!


Leon Mazzone - Sponsorship frame

Helitech conference 2017: Our man on the ground

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With Helitech 2017 having drawn to a close we look back at what was, by any definition, an outstanding exhibition. The show lived up to its reputation as being a platform for the cutting edge. One of the most notable additions was the unveiling of Safran’s new engine. The ‘Aneto’ is designed for both super-medium and heavyweight helicopters operating from 2500 to over 3000 horsepower. Leonardo and Safran have worked together to install the Aneto-1K engine into Leonardo’s AW189K helicopter, which first took flight in March of this year. The engine is due to enter service in the 4th quarter of next year according to estimates.

Attending the exhibition was a range of experts from a multitude of different industries, from media to engineering and manufacturers to anti-corrosion specialists. Many of these experts were offering seminars in their fields. I chose to attend a talk about managing your company’s online presence. The presentation went in-depth about how to best present your company to the outside world and the increasing importance of social media. In the age of the smartphone we live in a constant state of connectivity. Look no further than Donald Trump and his relationship with Twitter!  Finally we refreshed ourselves on how to conduct yourself in the face of a disaster, working from past examples and learning from their mistakes. The seminar proved enlightening, and one thing to take away from Helitech is that there is always room for improvement… especially in aviation.

Although we were only there for the day, the Luviair team made the most of our time there packing the day with business meetings, seminars and networking. As a new week begins, we aim to consolidate on the benefits of attending events like Helitech.










Above (microphone in hand) is Mr Florent Chauvancy, Vice President, Heavy Helicopter Engines Program for Safran, revealing the new ‘Aneto’ engine.

Helitech Conference 2017

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The aviation industry is fast paced. Only last week we were full on at the Monaco Yacht Show, it being a key event in our calendar. Now, less than a week later, we are on our way to the Helitech International conference (which starts tomorrow – 3rd October).

Helitech International runs the largest helicopter exhibition in Europe. Naturally Luviair, as a well-established helicopter operator, will be in attendance. The conference is a hub of activity for all things helicopter related, from seminars on search & rescue operations, through safety workshops, to talks about social media presence. So lots to get our teeth into, and also an opportunity to feast our eyes on the wide-range of helicopters being exhibited!

The list of exhibitors this year is extensive. All are vying for positions in the industry and using the conference as a helipad to launch their business into the spotlight. Helitech is an invaluable opportunity to feel the very pulse of the industry, to network and cultivate business relationships. This year we are joined by our Director, Nigel Watson, a world authority in the aviation industry. Armed with his expertise we are anticipating a productive show.

Our team would be delighted to meet up with you at Helitech on the 3rd October. If interested please email us at:

Meet Luviair’s aviation specialists at the Monaco Yacht show on the 27-28 September 2017.

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This year is Monaco Yacht Show’s 27th anniversary having been established in 1990. Over the course of almost three decades it has become a hub of innovation attended by pioneers of many industries – including aviation. As a world leader of heli-yacht integration Luviair will be walking the show to meet with our partners and establish new networks in the industry. 

The heli-yacht industry is ever-changing and as such, keeping current is vital in order to remain a key player. Our director Nigel Watson shares his insight with Chris Clifford from Onboard magazine into the future of helicopters in the luxury VIP sector: 
Whether you are interested in purchasing a helicopter, integrating it with a yacht, or would like to learn more about our helicopter management services then Nigel Watson should be your go-to at the Monaco Yacht Show this year.
If you would like to meet, get in touch at:
Wishing you an excellent show!

EC155 Helicopter Co-Pilot Vacancy

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Applications are invited for the position Co-Pilot with the private helicopter management company Luviair ( The core business of the company is to provide a safe, professional and efficient helicopter service to a select group of VIP clients. This is a fantastic opportunity to join a well established and prestigious London-based VIP operation. You will need a confident, courteous manner and be able to adapt to a low hours IFR operating environment.

This role is suitable for UK-based applicants only. In addition to this, candidates must be prepared to live close to the London operating base when on duty; crew accommodation for duty periods can be arranged if required.

The job offers a very competitive salary package and generous time off.

•  A current EASA CPL (H) I/R (ME) or higher
•  Any current type rating ME (T)
•  Eligible to work in the UK

•  Experience of operations in Southern England
•  EC155 Type rating

Interested candidates may apply in the strictest confidence by e-mail only, writing to An application should comprise an up-to-date concise curriculum vitae, a head and shoulders passport photograph and a brief motivational letter addressing their suitability to conduct VIP helicopter operations. Candidates should indicate their notice period with their current employers, all current type ratings, and their up-to-date flight hours on helicopter, twin engine and types. Applicants must hold minimum qualifications and strictly follow the above application process in order to be considered for the position and to receive an acknowledgement of the application.


Is this the Isle of Man’s most glamorous apprenticeship?

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Introducing Luviair’s newest recruit, Liam Finch, who joins the firm as part of a new marketing apprenticeship scheme on the Isle of Man…

Where do you start when you are trying to write your first ever blog post? Like most things the hardest part is just getting started. This is true with many things in life… including starting a new job. As many of you graduates and school leavers may know, choosing a career path after you leave education is a challenging process. Many people ‘um’ and ‘ah’ about what job they wish to go for before eventually making a laboured decision on the matter. It is also highly unlikely that a good job opportunity will present itself to you at the ideal time- one that offered training and travel as part of the deal. Well that is the situation I found myself in when the Luviair opportunity presented itself.

About me

My name is Liam Finch, I am twenty-two years old and I live on the Isle of Man. I am a recent University of Nottingham Graduate (class of 2016) having just completed my degree in Viking Studies- fields of study comprised of English, History and Archaeology. Much of my childhood was spent moving around countries from the UK to Kuwait, which has put me in touch with multiculturalism and a thirst for travel.

About Luviair

Luviair is a global operator of private aircraft- mainly dealing with helicopters but also with fixed-wing craft as well. In layman’s terms, we manage and operate aircraft, so our clients don’t have to worry about registration and being compliant with regulations. Luviair celebrated its 10 year anniversary last year and is well established on the Isle of Man, operating with a small but skilled team.

There are myriad blogs out there, and many readers outside of the industry may be asking if Aviation Management isn’t a little dry for the topic of a blog? Well in this case it’s not. Luviair works in affiliation with several other businesses across the globe, stretching from the Caribbean to the south of France. This means that apart from the day-to-day operations involved in many companies, we also get a taste of the exotic. The most notable entry on my calendar currently is the Monaco Superyacht show, which this year is set to take place on the 27th of September- a mere two weeks after my starting date of the 11th! Well if the company wants to take me to Monaco, who am I to complain, right? Being invited to travel with the company so soon after joining is obviously a lucky break for me, and a generous offering from the company. The purpose of me going on the trip is to integrate with the team; for Luviair, the purpose is to maintain relationships with customers and network with potential clients in one of the most fashionable destinations in the world.

Needless to say, I am pretty excited about what this year will hold for me, and doubtless, Luviair will provide loads of favourable experiences and an insight into the world of aviation which I look forward to blogging with you about.

 Nigel and I
Liam Finch (left) Marketing Coordinator, Nigel Watson (right) Director of Luviair.

Job Vacancy: Marketing Apprentice. Isle of Man

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Luviair is seeking a Marketing Apprentice to begin a one-year paid placement based at The Jet Centre in Ronaldsway airport.

About the Marketing Apprenticeship

A brand new marketing apprenticeship scheme has been developed in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development and The Marketing Partnership.  It is open to candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in marketing.

The apprenticeship will comprise of 4 days working at Luviair’s Head office in Ronaldsway, whereby candidates will gain hands-on marketing experience working closely with Luviair’s management team.  The candidate will also be granted study leave 1 day a week to attend The Marketing Partnership study centre in Douglas to study towards their Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Foundation Certificate in Marketing.

This is an excellent career opportunity for a proactive and enthusiastic individual who has an interest in the global luxury aviation and the super yacht industries.  This is a dynamic and varied role involving all aspects of marketing communications and brand management, from social media and Public Relations management, to direct marketing, events and content management for the company’s websites.

Skills & Requirements

  • Resident in the Isle of Man (with work permit if applicable).
  • Highly literate with excellent copywriting skills.
  • Exceptional proof reading skills and attention to detail.
  • A self-starter with a proactive and positive attitude.
  • Creative and able to undertake small graphic projects.
  • Available to undertake occasional international travel.
  • A-Level French (or equivalent) is advantageous but not essential

The successful candidate will receive a salary and, all CIM tuition fees and exam fees for the CIM Foundation Certificate are covered by the apprenticeship scheme. The apprenticeship starts at the beginning of September for one year.

To apply to Luviair please send your CV and a covering letter to Mairi Lockwood

Applicants will also need to submit an application to study at the CIM Accredited Study Centre, The Marketing Partnership. The application form can be found at under “upcoming events” or email

Closing date for entries is 16th July 2017.  No agencies please.

Luviair flies back in to support Isle of Man Cyclefest

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Luviair is delighted to be supporting Isle of Man Cyclefest presented by Isle of Man Bank, now in its second year.

After becoming an official sponsor of the three-day cycling festival last year we have renewed our support for this year’s event.

This year’s festival cycling schedule takes place between Friday 12th to Sunday 14th May and includes a full Community Day in Ramsey town centre that will offer a number of cyclists of all ages the opportunity to race or simply lap a specially devised street circuit around the Courthouse, accompanied by both the Junior and Ramsey Town bands, for the fundraising ‘Big Ride with Rebecca House’. The programme also features disability group Bike 4 Life and a full programme of Schools races for primary schools around a purpose built pop up Street Velodrome for the Sure Schools Challenge.


Luviair is committed to supporting local events here on the Isle of Man and Cyclefest hits at the heart of what that’s all about. It is a fantastic platform for the local community to get together and celebrate our wonderful island, whether that involves participating in one of the many cycling events or attending the Cyclefest festival at Milntown and sampling local culinary delights whilst listening to our incredible homegrown artists.

NW Cyclefest

Luviair Managing Director Nigel Watson, a keen cyclist who has again entered the Cyclefest Gran Fondo event, commented:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge that last year’s Gran Fondo race presented and am looking forward to pitting myself against the three notorious climbs again this year. The Isle of Man Cyclefest organisers did an extremely good job last year and will undoubtedly have learnt a lot so I’m sure this year will be even better and Luviair is delighted to remain involved.”

Paul Phillips, Director, Isle of Man Cyclefest, commented:

“Luviair were one of our founding partners last year and I’m really pleased that they have again shown their support. Luviair is a well-established and respected business on the Island and we are delighted to have them in our official partners programme.”

Tickets can still be purchased on the gate for the Isle of Man Cyclefest presented by Isle of Man Bank festival on the 13th and 14th May.

For more information and full entertainment schedule go to

Visit the Luviair Facebook page to find out how Nigel gets on in the Grand Fondo cycle race, a gruelling 85 mile road circuit around the island. Our Manager Mairi will be participating in the Medio Fondo, a gentler 40 mile loop and our Operations Officer Emmajane Bremner is taking part in the Piccolo Fondo, 22 miles. Good luck team Luviair!

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