How Italy’s AgustaWestland is bringing helicopter training into the 21st century

AgustaWestland, a world leading company in helicopter design and construction, faced a unique challenge when training its engineers and customers. Although its courses are renowned for their quality and cutting-edge technology, students mainly used technical textbooks and manuals to learn the difficult subject matter – which involved a large amount of paper and high printing costs.

The company needed a solution that would modernize the entire learning process while ensuring the same high quality of training. It also required an efficient training tool that would help reduce costs and provide continuity with existing IT investments.

Find out how AgustaWestland worked with Microsoft to deploy Windows 8 Lenovo tablets for its training courses and how the solution has allowed the organization to streamline its work and promote greater collaboration and engagement among students.

Introducing AgustaWestland

The AgustaWestland Training Academy works across three continents (Europe, America and Asia) and trains more than 6,000 students, pilots and technicians from over 40 different countries each year. With its unique experience and know-how in the field of aerospace systems, the company focuses on military and commercial operators across the world. Its courses are acclaimed for their use of state-of-the-art technology and innovative flight simulators and they help students obtain certifications valid worldwide.

The challenge

To ensure that its courses maintained their cutting-edge reputation, AgustaWestland decided to further modernize the learning process. They had a tall order: the academy needed a technology solution that would engage students in the challenging area of aerospace and be used in different training scenarios from the classroom to the cabin of their flight simulators and finally of a real helicopter. What’s more, AgustaWestland wanted to cut costs by eliminating the large amount of paper used to create training manuals.

Finding a solution

To assist AgustaWestland with this endeavor, the company turned to Microsoft, which provided the Italian Training Academy with 250 Lenovo ThinkPad tablets with Windows 8.1. Working with Microsoft, the Academy digitized all course materials and created 12 exclusive apps for the training courses ahead of the deployment.

The transformation

The deployment has completely overhauled the learning experience for all students. At the start of each course, students receive a Lenovo tablet with Windows 8.1 and a USB stick containing all reference material. As a result, they now have access to rich and engaging multimedia materials that encourage greater interaction during training courses. They can also take notes directly on digital manuals and then review the content and watch demos at home, allowing them to quickly master the subject matter. What’s more, students are able to consult various electronic documents, texts and books anytime, anywhere, without needing to carry heavy textbooks.

Alexander Stewart, Vice President ICT, AgustaWestland said: “We believe technology is a great way to make teaching innovative and engaging, which is why we decided to digitize the training process and provide students with mobile devices. We chose tablets based on the Windows 8 OS to enhance our training courses, placing emphasis on ensuring high quality services for our clients. We evaluated other IT solutions, but we chose Microsoft because it guarantees security and can be used with existing IT investments. Moreover, Microsoft technologies are easy to use and popular amongst our clients.“

Further savings

Furthermore, the solution has allowed AgustaWestland to reduce printing costs by 50 percent and the company will continue to save several thousands of euros in the coming years.

Claudia Bonatti, Windows Division Director, Microsoft Italia said: “The solution offered in partnership with Lenovo has brought significant advantages to the company in terms of security, ease of management and integration with the desktop applications already in use at the Training Academy. We are extremely proud of this project. Our solutions have helped Agusta to reduce costs involved in running the courses and improve the user and customer experience.“

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