OZARK -- Thanks to the combined efforts of local economic development leaders, city officials, a major business partner and Enterprise State Community College, the Wiregrass area will now have needed training on the advanced Arriel 1E2 engine.
Safran Helicopter Engines USA donated an Arriel 1E2 engine, found in the UH-72 Lakota helicopter, to the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark to be used for training to address workforce needs. Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets.
Safran President and CEO, Thierry Derrien called the relationship between ESCC and Safran a successful one.
“I think by donating this engine to the Aviation College, we are giving the opportunity to future mechanics to improve their skills on the real thing,” Derrien said.
A year ago, Safran was contacted about its work with the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) and Fort Rucker by the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Enterprise Mayor William E. Cooper.
“Approximately 24 months ago, Mayor Cooper and I began meeting with representatives from Safran Helicopter Engines USA to discuss their work on the UH-72 Lakota training helicopter for USAACE at Fort Rucker. These representatives included, but were not limited to, their President and CEO, Thierry Derrien and Vice President, Military and Government Support, Chris Speer,” WEDC Executive Director Jonathan Tullos said.
“During this time, I also worked with ESCC President Matt Rodgers and the ESCC Foundation board to determine what training was or could be available for maintenance professionals to become more familiar with this engine, which would of course directly support the mission at Fort Rucker.”
At the time of these meetings, there was no training available in the area on this advanced engine.
“Mayor Cooper and I then worked with Thierry and Chris to obtain an Arriel 1E2 engine for classroom purposes for the Alabama Aviation College,” Tullos said. “Safran and our local leaders agreed this could be a force multiplier in training our local workforce. The impacts should be felt at Fort Rucker and beyond, giving our graduates more knowledge and flexibility in a high-demand, high-skilled labor market.
“We are appreciative of the generosity of industry partners like Safran Helicopter Engines USA and the foresight of their President and CEO Thierry Derrien to help our area address our workforce needs.”
Cooper said Safran’s support for ESCC and the AAC was “invaluable.”
“Safran is one of the leading engine manufacturers in the world,” he said. “To have them donate an engine for our aviation students to be able to get hands-on experience with, that is invaluable. They already have a heavy presence at Fort Rucker, but for them to come outside of the installation and into our community, that shows what kind of company they are.”
At the AAC, the Arriel 1E2 engine will be used to introduce students to the turbine engine and related theories, according to Director Stan Smith.
"We are excited to partner with Safran to upgrade our aviation power plant instruction to include a modern turbine engine with the latest technology,” Smith said. “I want to thank all those involved who helped bring the Safran Arriel 1E2 engine to our college. This is the engine used on the Lakota Helicopter that the Army uses for flight training. After training on this engine, our students will be more prepared to work in the local area supporting the flight school mission.
"Instructors will teach using the Safran engine in the Turbine Engine Systems Theory Course. This course introduces our students to the turbine engine, and emphasis is placed on turbine engine development, application, theory, components, materials, construction, and operating and power extraction principles. Upon completion, students will be able to explain turbine engine theory and operating principles, describe procedures for 100-hour and borescope inspections, and perform a hot section inspection on this modular turbine engine.”
Smith said the engine adds value to the education and training at the AAC since it is identical to those found in over 200 training aircraft at Fort Rucker.
ESCC continually works to provide its students with the best technology and equipment for training and education, President Matt Rodgers said.
“We are proud to work with our business and industry leaders to address workforce needs and provide the tools necessary for our students to succeed when entering that workforce,” he said. “We are thankful to Safran for its donation and support of our college.”