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Fire School acquires new trainer
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Alex Cumming, Kidde Fire Trainers project manager, demonstrates how to use the controls of the new large frame aircraft trainer at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy, Dec. 17, 2009. The new trainer replaces the 11 year old trainer that had become unsafe due to extensive use. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Laura R. McFarlane)
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Fire School acquires new trainer

Posted 1/20/2010   Updated 1/20/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Anne Gathua
17th Training Wing Public Affairs

1/20/2010 - GOODFELLOW AFB, Texas -- Goodfellow AFB hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly acquired trainer at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy, Tuesday.

A trainer simulates in appearance an actual large frame aircraft. It's used to teach students how to fight ground fires, fight auxiliary power unit fires, wheel fires and engine fires. The students can also go into the trainer where they learn how to fight fires in the passenger and cargo areas and how to perform flight deck shutdown and evacuation procedures.

The new trainer was designed to cover a number of National Fire Protection Association required training line items. In addition to both exterior and interior live fires the trainer also affords training in aircraft engine, auxiliary power unit , wheel/brake and 3-D fires. The new design will lend itself to combining objectives and allow a final scenario in which an entire class can take part in a single operation. This may include a mix of several situations in single aircraft emergency.

The old trainer was replaced because the previous model had deteriorated to the point that it had become unsafe to operate due to extensive use. Live fire training on most training days, heating and cooling over and over and vast quantities of water applied took a toll on the metal. It was utilized three out of every four days of training - 15 to 36 fires per day. It had been in place for 11 years having been modified and re-skinned 5 years ago and was used approximately 10,000 times for both interior and exterior fires, training approximately 13,000 students.

The contract was awarded in Sept. 2008 and then requirement meetings were held, the blue-prints were drawn-up and fabrication began. The actual on-site installation of the new trainer took four months to complete - beginning Aug. 17, 2009.

The new trainer is state-of-the-art incorporating innovative technology in relationship to a number of new safety measures. These new features include thermal couplers, combustible gas sensor, interior emergency stops and a positive pilot light indicator resulting in temperature control, emergency shut-down of all systems and operation of emergency fans designed to extract heat and gases from the training area. Other features include the installation of vaporizers allowing the trainer to burn propane vapors verses liquid propane estimated to result in a 25 percent cost saving. The old unit was void of any safety features and burnt 100 percent liquid propane.

"The new trainer will be a great addition to the training we provide at the fire school," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey McBride, 312th Training Squadron commander. "It provides greater capability and flexibility while improving safety for students and instructors. It will also lower operating costs."

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