Bristow Nigeria Establishes Airline Training Organization for Maintenance Training

Students attending the first S-76D Maintenance Differences class

Shown here are the students and instructor attending the first S-76D Maintenance Differences class, which was held February 22 to March 4, 2021.

Bristow is the first Aviation company in Nigeria to have an Airline Training Organization (ATO) approval, thus allowing Type Training of aircraft Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers on its fleet of Sikorsky S-76 and S-92 aircraft.

The approval by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was granted to Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited on December 16, 2020 and was part of a five-year effort to allow for training of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering License Type Ratings, under Part 2 (Personnel Licensing) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.

Having an ATO allows maintenance training to be conducted in-house and reduces the need to pay external organizations, which, in turn, eliminates the expense of travel and other issues associated with COVID-19. It can also be difficult to get contractors to visit Nigeria to conduct required training. The ATO additionally allows the Bristow team in Nigeria to train employees in-country at will and on their own schedule and convenience.

“The annual savings estimate of our current training initiative is approximately one million dollars ($1m) and will bring greater flexibility in training,” said Nigeria Quality & Safety Manager Ibinabo Abule. “Furthermore, we can now identify key areas or challenges unique to our region, upon which we can focus additional training as needed.”

“This was not an ordinary feat, understanding the certification process took over 12 months to achieve due to internal and external challenges. The team showed great resilience and dedication to overcome these challenges,” added Abule.

Bristow followed a five-phase certification process with the NCAA, which requires an organization to demonstrate its ability and capability of running an ATO with the required resources and support.

  1. Phase one was the initial meeting with the CAA.
  2. Phase two involved the submission of the application.
  3. Phase three consisted of the development of training, quality and procedures manuals documenting compliance with the Federal Regulations, and development of training materials and lesson plans all submitted for approval.
  4. Phase four required a demonstration of a theoretical class conducted to the ATO and regulatory standard.
  5. Phase five concluded with the issuance of the initial certification.

The Bristow Nigeria team also has plans to submit courses on the operational specification and the region’s in-flight health usage and monitoring systems (HUMS) exposition for FAA certification, said Engineering Training Manager Christopher Ruggiano.

The ATO Certificate which was accepted by Bristow’s Tufty Travers

Shown above is the ATO Certificate which was accepted by Bristow’s Tufty Travers (third from left) and Ibinabo Abule (fifth from left) flanked by the CAA Certification team.

The Aircraft Type Courses listed on the specifications include the following:

  1. Sikorsky S-76C++ (Turbomeca Arriel 2) Maintenance Initial.
  2. Sikorsky S-76C++ (Turbomeca Arriel 2) Avionics Initial.
  3. Sikorsky S-76D (PW210) Maintenance Differences.
  4. Sikorsky S-76D (PW210) Avionics Differences.
  5. Sikorsky S-92A (GE CT7-8) Maintenance Initial.

HUMS Type Training can accompany any of the above Aircraft Type Courses on request (conducted under our Aircraft Maintenance Organization Training), which is more comprehensive training that was not offered by Bristow’s previous training partners. “Having previously developed training programs for approval by the FAA, UK CAA, EASA, CASA, CAAC, TC, ANAC, I conclude that the NCAA was the most challenging,” Ruggiano added.

The Bristow team in Nigeria currently conducts Leonardo AW139 & 189 HUMS training. With the increasing popularity of Leonardo aircraft, the team does plan to add these aircraft at some point in the future.

A graphic containing ATO Contributors and Safety Milestones

“Although it is no longer a requirement by the NCAA for engineers to undergo a mandatory refresher training, with the ATO, at our discretion and benefit of safety, we can provide refreshers where needed and practicable within our schedule. This ultimately provides development opportunities within the region,” said Ibinabo. “This underpins our drive towards ensuring safety within the aviation sector as well as the level of service provided to our esteemed clients.”

Bristow in Nigeria has 26 aircraft that provide onshore and offshore services to International Oil Companies (IOCs) as well as National Oil Companies (NOCs).

Half of the first Bristow class during practical training in front of an S-76

This image shows only half of the first Bristow class during practical training in front of an S-76. Shown from left to right are: Blessing Omoraka, Segun Shoyombo, Daniel Okwuchi, Tufty Travers, Christopher Ruggiano, Akeem Salami and Santos Igbinedion.