Improved simulator to train airport workers to deal with emergencies like air crashes

The Singapore Aviation Academy, a training arm of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), will be commissioning a new generation of the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator on May 23, 2016.
The Singapore Aviation Academy, a training arm of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), will be commissioning a new generation of the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator on May 23, 2016.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Mohd Yazid, an Airport Emergency Services Officer, is showing a demonstration on the simulator.
Mr Mohd Yazid, an Airport Emergency Services Officer, is showing a demonstration on the simulator.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Mr Mohd Yazid, an Airport Emergency Services Officer, is showing a demonstration on the simulator.
Mr Mohd Yazid, an Airport Emergency Services Officer, is showing a demonstration on the simulator.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
An exterior view of the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator (AFTDS) on May 23, 2016.
An exterior view of the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator (AFTDS) on May 23, 2016.PHOTO: DANIEL NEO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - An improved computer system that can simulate more realistic emergency scenarios was launched on Monday (May 23) to train airport workers.

The system, called the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator, is designed to train workers who drive special vehicles called foam tenders, which use foam and water to put out fires at the airport.

For example, the simulator can generate scenarios such as aircraft crashes, in which passengers have to be evacuated from a burning aircraft. It has also been updated to reflect the latest Changi Airport layout, including the upcoming Terminal 4.

"As air traffic continues to grow, so too must our capabilities in ensuring a safe and secure airport environment for the travelling public," said Mr Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group. "The next-generation simulator will help our AES (Airport Emergency Service) officers sharpen their operational readiness when responding to aircraft emergencies."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) first commissioned the $2.2 million simulator in 2008, and has spent about $1 million to upgrade it with the latest features. Such similators are used for training as the airfield at Changi operates round the clock, and practical training sessions using actual vehicles are not feasible. Training with a computer simulator also eliminates fuel, water and foam wastage.

Besides providing more realistic emergency scenarios, the system's hardware has been updated to match the new generation of foam tenders used at Changi Airport, called the Oshkosh Striker. For instance, the dashboard of the enhanced simulator is identical to that of the actual vehicle.

The new simulator is also able to connect interactively with three other static fire truck simulator consoles to improve teamwork and increase training capacity. Previously, the system was only able to simulate a single vehicle interacting with the virtual environment.

Local tech firm Chartered Asia Technology Enterprise built the original simulator and also helped to upgrade it. The virtual environment was modelled in 3D Studio Max and runs on a proprietary 3D engine.