Possibly the most technologically advanced aviation fire fighting simulator in Europe, representing an investment of Â£2.6 million, was officially opened on the 15th November 2006. Over 140 high level fire officers, UK Civil Aviation officials and guests from eleven countries attended the prestigious opening of Manchester Airport's new state-of-the-art Aircraft Fire Training Ground.
The aviation simulator will provide a technologically challenging and realistic training environment for Manchester Airport's 120-strong team of fire fighters. Located at Manchester's Category 10 International Airport, the simulator has been designed, built and installed by UK-based Simulation TER ltd.
Accurately replicating today's widebodied triple-deck civil aircraft which use Manchester International airport, the simulator provides a realistic look and feel of big aircraft, such as 747/767 and MD11's It is a wide bodied, triple-deck aircraft simulator that has the ability to burn both LPG and aviation fuel, allowing it to replicate all external fires on the aircraft. Furthermore, flame intensity of all fire scenarios, internally and externally, is variable, irrespective of fuel type use.
The huge 280 ton structure is 13.0 metre high, 44m long and features a 25.7 m wing span. The widebodied aircraft simulator comprises three deck levels, three engine types and has 14 dual fuel external fire points and 12 LPG internal fires points.
The simulator embodies a technologically complex set of control and monitoring systems providing a multiplicity of options for fire fighting scenarios, including a synthetic smoke, gas detection, temperature monitoring and internal and emergency lighting systems. The design provides the airport's fire fighters with more realistic and repeatable fire scenarios whilst taking due recognition of the environment by burning the cleaner, more environmentally friendly fuel, LPG, when appropriate.
Explaining the advanced technological features of the simulator, Simulation's Technical Director, Howard Perkins said, "The simulator has been designed to maximised the training opportunities of the airport fire and rescue service at the aerodrome. Its construction, from 8mm steel plate, is designed for repeatable use in fire scenarios. Realistically dimensioned, the structure is representative of Boeing 747, 767 and MD11 aircraft types.
The simulator's starboard wing represents a Boeing 747 with General Electric CF6 80C engine with wing flaps extended. The port wing represents a Boeing 767 port wing with collapsed undercarriage and Pratt and Whitney 4062 engine. The No. 3 engine (rear mounted on the fuselage) is representative of that found on a MD11 aircraft."
Design and Build
The wide-bodied aviation simulator was built in sections at Simulation TER's Burton on Trent factory prior to shipment to the site at Manchester Airport.
Over 21 lorries took the fabricated steel sections and associated equipment to the specially prepared site, where they were bolted together to form the fuselage. Steve Fahey, Managing Director of Simulations TERS, explained the company's approach to the project, "The design of this unique duel fuel simulator was completely to customer specification and took 12 months of close collaboration with Manchester Airport Fire Services to optimise every detail.
Internal ceiling rollover fires, with variable lighting conditions, can be simulated in in the realistic passenger seating areas, complete with overhead luggage compartments, galleys, stiarcases and stowage areas.
"Chris Formby, Senior Airport Fire Officer at Manchester picked up on this point, "The attention to detail and the level of accuracy of the interior was a credit to the engineering skills of all those involved in the project from Simulation" Commenting on environmental concerns, Andrew Holland, Operations Director for Manchester Airport, said that a key aspect of the project was the desire not to smoke out the airport's neighbours and that Simulation's dual fuel design minimised its environmental impact.
Explaining Simulation's manufacturing philosophy, Production Director, Dan Buckley, said, "We have the ability to fully trial assemble the simulators prior to despatch thus giving client confidence and minimising "risk" during installation at operational aerodromes. Our experience confirms that clients carefully examine all elements of operations whilst work is carried out airside; therefore we work hard in identifying potential areas of risk and put in place a regime that reduces hazard to the lowest possible level.
Dan Buckley, emphasised the open nature of their business by saying "Our production facility is "open for business" to all of our customers at anytime. We welcome and encourage people to visit us so that they can see the progress being made. This close level of interaction allows customers to be fully engaged in the process and it creates a feel of partnership and to an extent shared ownership of the project.
" This last point is emphasised by Steve Fahey who said that, right from the start, a partnership approach with the Manchester Airport Fire Services has ensured the project's success.
The simulator provides a realistic look and feel of big aircraft, such as 747s/767 and MD11s. The huge 280 ton structure is 13.0 metre high, 44m long and features a 25.7 m wing span.
Howard Perkins continued, "Externally, there are 14 dual fuel scenarios and one running fuel scenario. On the starboard side are the Boeing 747 engine fires; namely, accessory, combustion and exhaust sections. There is an undercarriage brake/wheel fire and an oleo leg scenario.
In addition, we have the starboard wing root fire scenario. On the port side are the Boeing 767 engine fires; namely, accessory, combustion and exhaust sections. There is the undercarriage brake/wheel fire and an oleo leg scenario. In addition, there are the port split wing and wing root fire scenarios.
Continuing on the port side is a wing running fuel fire and, finally, we have the MD11 engine exhaust fire scenario." The design specification included a number of replaceable aluminium alloy panels, strategically located on the 8mm steel plate of the fuselage sections.
These panels simulate real aircraft skin, allowing the fire teamsto exercise using forced entry techniques. At these points, using specialised fire fighting equipment, the teams can practice puncturing through the alloy skin of the fuselage. The simulator has many more elements that reflect all key features of a 747 and 767, particularly with respect to its internal design.
These include realistically dimensioned and configured flight deck and crew rest areas, forward and rear passenger cabins, wc`s, centre and side aisles plus fully operational luggage compartments, galleys and a 767 passenger cabin.
Celebrating the successful handover of the Simulation-TERS aviation simulator are (from left) Steve Fahey, Managing Director of Simulation TERS, Andrew Cornish and Chris Formby from Manchester Airport.
A large cargo deck has been partially seated as per Manchester airport's specification, to allow for additional fire team practice on passenger scenarios. Also as part of the specification, there are fully operational 747 hydraulically operated cargo doors, upper deck hydraulically operated gull wing doors and 767 mechanically operated cargo doors.
A 747 avionics bay features a retractable ladder to ground level. The internal fires consist of a flight deck console, overhead control panel, flight crew rest area, forward passenger cabin seat, wc and overhead luggage compartment fires, rear passenger cabin seat fire, galley and overhead luggage compartment and a cargo deck ULD fire. On the mid deck (economy class) there are two ceiling rollover fires, one in the forward section and one in the rear.
All of these fires can be controlled to three different levels of intensity. Operational and safety control systems are fundamental to the performance of the simulator. Operating a 3-zone, auto select, water cooling system, the simulator has internal gas and temperature monitoring systems, individual area smoke distribution systems with independent control, forced draught extraction systems, internal fire scenario control, individual area lighting control (4 levels), audible and visual alarms, plus safety gates, data logging, electronic pilot ignition and flame detection for all fire scenarios.
The simulator is PLC controlled using touch screen panels, located in an elevated control cabin 30m forward of the aircraft nose. The screens control the external fire scenarios and enable the internal fires.
"This large investment of Â£2.6 million in fire fighting simulation is a demonstration of how seriously Manchester Airport takes its fire fighting responsibilities as a truly international airport." Chris Formby, Senior Airport Fire Officer, Manchester Airport.
Control of internal equipment is via hand held touch screen control units carried by the Fire Service
Instructors. The aviation simulator is now fully operational. Chris Formby, Senior Airport Fire Officer for Manchester International Airport, said of the project, "This large investment of Â£2.6 million in fire fighting simulation is a demonstration of how seriously Manchester Airport takes its fire fighting responsibilities as a truly international airport.
Because Simulation TER's wide-bodied triple-deck aircraft is a duel fuel simulator, burning both aviation fuel and gas. it enables us to simulate all fire conditions our fighters may encounter in one unit. The simulator represents a most challenging training environment and will undoubtedly enhance passenger safety for all those travelling to and from Manchester Airport.