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The first thing that usually collapses during disaster response is communications. A new development has been designed specifically for aerial firefighting and is the first in the world of its kind.
Inspired by the US air force and its military training simulators, Conair has developed a Mission Training System (MTS) that will revolutionize aerial firefighting training.
The MTS is a Distributed Simulation System which allows individual flight training devices (FTDs) the ability to see the same terrain, weather conditions, and each other in flight. Each simulator has the ability to see the other’s water/retardant drops and communicate throughout the process.
The system includes six integrated high fidelity simulators: two Bird Dogs (Cessna 208 or TC690); two air tankers (reconfigurable between RJ85, Dash 8-400); and two Air Tractors. The system’s simulated wildfire reacts to wind shift, humidity, terrain slope, and fuel type (grass, trees, etc.). In addition, the fire reacts to drops of water and retardant, so pilots and the air attack officer can practice as close to a real-life scenario as possible.
The project has been in development since 2016 and is planned to be fully operational by March 2022. This quantum shift in training will increase the number of hours that pilots spend in training and will support pilots as they learn valuable experiences in a controlled environment, as reported by skiesmag.com.