Era Helicopters to expand La. training center

Posted: Sunday, September 09, 2007

LAKE CHARLES, La. - Era Helicopters, an international aviation company based in Lake Charles, will use a $2.1 million Louisiana Economic Development Rapid Response Fund grant to expand its local training facility.

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The total cost of the expansion project is $6 million, and Era will pay the remaining costs. The grant was announced late last month at Era's current training facility at the Lake Charles Regional Airport.

The Rapid Response Fund was created following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Money from it funds economic development projects that create jobs and capital investments in the state.

Era's new training center will be in a refurbished 7,694-square-foot facility on airport property in Lake Charles. It will initially feature two high-tech simulators that will be used to train hundreds of pilots each year, company officials said.

"Our existing pilots are required to receive annual training, and all of our new hire education and training programs will be done here," said Era CEO Ed Washecka.

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