On 2 March 2014, the new helicopter Pilot Training Centre (PTC) was inaugurated by the President of the Country, accompanied by the Prime Minister, Mr. Nikola Gruevski, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Talat Xhaferi, and the Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Goranco Koteski. At the ceremony were also present, among other national and international notaries and officials, representatives of the Israeli ELBIT System Company, that built, operate and own the establishment.
The project, valued at €43 million, operates under a Private Financing Initiative (PFI) concept, in which Elbit Systems has provided a comprehensive solution, including the setting up of the training centre, acquisition of aircraft, supply of full mission simulators, and operation of the centre for a period of eight years. According to the agreement between MoD and Elbit System, 52 pilots will be trained for the needs of the Aviation Brigade.
The first group of four helicopter pilot-lieutenants (one of them female) graduated some days ago, the second group of helicopter pilots have already finished the first part of the training, and the training of the third group of pilot candidates is expected to begin soon. The PTC will prepare and qualify new pilots, as well as provide training of active pilots, for the national defence and security forces.
The centre is now fully operational and ready to provide all services to the state institutions, and possibly other interested foreign partners. "With its two simulators, based on Mi-8/17/117 and Mi-24, the PTC will be proposed as a regional center of excellence for training helicopter pilots, for those Countries that want to use the latest technologies in terms of flight simulation”, said the Mister of Defence during his speech.