An improved simulator that can generate more realistic emergency scenarios was launched yesterday to train airport workers.
Called the Airport Foam Tender Driving Simulator, it is used to train workers who drive special vehicles called foam tenders, which use foam and water to put out fires at the airport.
The enhanced system can generate scenarios such as those involving evacuating passengers 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 first commissioned the $2.2 million simulator in 2008, and has spent about $1 million to upgrade it with the latest features.
Such simulators are used for training as the airfield operates round the clock, and practical training sessions using actual vehicles are not feasible. Training with a 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. For instance, the dashboard of the enhanced simulator is the same as that in the actual vehicle.
The new simulator can also connect interactively with three other fire truck simulators to improve teamwork and increase training capacity. Previously, the system could simulate only a single vehicle interacting with the virtual environment.
This new feature will increase training capacity from 1,100 to 1,800 training sessions a year.
In one training scenario at a media briefing last week, an AES officer "drove" a foam tender to a burning airplane before activating equipment to put out the fire.
Local tech firm Chartered Asia Technology Enterprise built the original simulator and also helped to upgrade it.
Correction note: This story's headline has been updated for clarity.