Training 'heats up' on Ramstein thanks to new simulator
By Senior Airman Scott Saldukas , 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 10, 2010
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Construction team members and fire trainers came together Sept. 9 here to view a new aircraft fire training simulator that will enhance future firefighter training for not only Air Force, but also host nation responders.
The aircraft simulator is already scheduled for use by the 886th Civil Engineer Squadron, 435th Construction and Training Squadron and local mutual aid departments at the end of October.
The training site cost approximately $3.4 million and is the only one of its kind in Germany. The site will offer new scenarios including cockpit, battery, passenger seat, cargo, above wing engine, below wing engine, high tail engine, wheel well and full-spill fires.
"It will allow fire fighters to practice with hot-fire situations and will give them the opportunity to practice truck set up and water application methods," said Peter Stuhlmueller, 886th CES deputy fire chief. "The major benefits are that we can train firefighters on material and situations that are required to fill the daily operational needs."
Offering the advanced training to the different agencies will better prepare firefighters for their real-world mission while in a safe learning environment.
"This will be a great but safe training site," said Stefan Kuntz, 886th CES training officer. "It will offer training opportunities some firefighters may not encounter until the real thing."
The sophisticated scenarios are designed to give the most realistic type atmosphere that was not offered before.
"It's good that we get this because it is our primary mission here - to save people and the aircraft," Mr. Kuntz said. "It's not possible to have a fire in an aircraft and train. Here they can go inside the darkness and feel the heat and extinguish a fire."
In addition to the training being unlike any other in Germany, the design of the project is also unique.
The simulator is equipped with a water cooling system to help extinguish a fire and drop structural temperatures at a faster rate. The new design prevents any fire situation to begin until the water system is functioning properly, preventing any hazards. Also, inside the aircraft, two ventilation systems are in place to help clear out smoke within seconds in case of an emergency.
"In addition, the trainer uses a first in the Air Force water recycling system," said Bernhard Ochsenreither, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers project manager.
It utilizes a drainage system in place to collect all water used during training and then recycle it for further use, saving money and resources.
"It took a long time, since 1996, for us to have this training area started on and it will add to the quality of fire fighting once it is completed," Mr. Stuhlmueller said.
The fire simulation site is scheduled to be open for training at the end of October.