“It’s more efficient. On the simulator not only do we deice and simulate vehicle movement and positioning … we now can encompass many different aspects of the practical training curriculum on the simulator including communications and proper contamination removal techniques,” he says.
MPRI has continued to improve the technology and is currently working to accurately portray the “physical aspects” of weather, including precipitation and wind that could occur during deicing, according to Kleinsorge.
A larger trend
Another company has taken note of the benefits of simulated training for deicing. KaTron Inc., based in Turkey, is currently developing software for deicing. The simulation company has been in the business of developing technology for the defense aerospace industry, and looked to deicing as another opportunity.
“In our region what we learned was most of the airlines don’t have much opportunity for deicing, but to continue certifications, they have to do training every year ... the best solution is to get the training on the simulators,” says Tarcan Kiper, CEO of KaTron.
“We have a different design approach for deicing,” he says. “It’s not a desktop system, like a computer game. We build the replica of the actual equipment, but this replica equipment doesn’t sprout any chemicals; it’s on the virtual screen.”
KaTron has also developed a reconfigurable pushback simulator both for conventional and towbarless operations, and is expanding into other types of ground support equipment, says Kiper.
Simulation technology seems here to stay. Paul van Dinther of Dinther Product Design points out that the caliber of technology and the cost aspect make sense for an airline or ground handling company looking for training options. “Technology has advanced so much and so fast that these days a computer capable to run a full-blown visual system for big displays doesn’t cost the world anymore,” he says. “So the cost of equipment has come down a lot.”