Air Operations Simulator Program
One important element of Alberta’s initial attack arsenal is the airtanker. Airtankers are used to keep a wildfire from spreading until ground crews can be brought in to extinguish it. Aerial firefighting is a highly specialized tactic in a very complex environment. Air Attack Officers are highly trained personnel that coordinate airtanker action, as well as manage the airspace over a wildfire to ensure safe and effective aerial firefighting operations.
One of the tools available for our Air Attack Officers is the Air Operations Simulator based at the Hinton Training Centre. Using this training program, we can create wildfire scenarios where a trainee must make real-time decisions and interact with the resources and people they would find on a real wildfire. This allows us to develop and train our Air Attack Officers and personnel without the associated costs and safety risks that would be present with in the air, on the job training.
Using a flight simulator to train our staff provides the opportunity to create rare events and high-risk situations that can be practiced in the safety of the simulated environment.
2017 is the second year the Air Operations Simulator has been in use. This year alone, 69 trainees have logged over 60 hours of simulation time.