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Mobile simulation in action at Airways

TotalControl simulators have been used to train Airways air traffic controllers since they were first developed more than 15 years ago. Airways is now utilising mobile desktop TotalControl simulators to deliver training to ATCs in regional towers throughout New Zealand, and simulator pilots working remotely to increase sim training efficiency and frequency.

Airways has deployed TotalControl mobile desktop simulators to several regional towers for training ATCs, enabling simultaneous sim training across multiple locations as a safe and effective remote training solution that requires no travel for ATCs.

Dean Urquhart, ATS Manager Planning & Performance for Airways, says mobile simulation enables Airways to take a much more agile approach to training ATCs, providing flexibility and assurance that training can continue even when ATCs are unable to travel.

“We’re really excited to have introduced mobile simulation with remote sim piloting into our training across Airways,” Dean says. “It provides us with many more training opportunities for ATCs needing to refresh their skills – it’s particularly helpful for providing response training for controllers who need to train for particular scenarios.”

Mobile simulation supports Covid-19 recovery

Covid-19 border and travel restrictions meant controllers in New Zealand have had a sustained period of controlling lower than usual traffic levels. Training in the simulator is critical to ensuring they maintain their skills managing busier traffic loads, so they are competent and confident when traffic ramps back up to pre-Covid levels.

“Traditionally our ATCs have needed to travel to our facilities in Christchurch to train in the simulator – this has obvious impacts on roster capacity, and on cost. When Covid-19 hit and our controllers were unable to travel to train, mobile simulation was critical to keeping their skills refreshed and current,” Dean says.

“We’ve been deploying the mobile simulators to regional towers to support their training programmes. While it has taken our ATCs some time to adjust, as they gain more experience they’re starting to think about how mobile simulators can be used for further training.”

Less disruptions, more training with remote sim piloting

Airways International is also providing remote simulator piloting as a tool to help ANSPs reduce training costs, minimise time off roster for ATCs, and enable greater flexibility in sim training with the ability for pilots to work from anywhere.

Controllers from Dunedin, Woodbourne & New Plymouth Towers have recently undertaken training in mobile sims set up at their tower locations, supported by simulator pilots working from home.

“Having the ability to pilot exercises remotely allows us to plan training more efficiently. During these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, this means we can continue training safely with less disruptions,” Dean says

Mobile simulation and remote piloting at Queenstown Tower