News>Simulator keeps Andersen ATC at top of their game
Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson, 36th Operations Support Squadron tower watch supervisor, watches over a virtual layout of the flightline at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 20, 2012. The virtual layout is within a virtual air traffic control tower simulation that allows controllers to hone in on the skills required to control a busy flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie/Released)
Two air traffic controllers from the 36th Operations Support Squadron train on the air traffic control tower simulator at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 20, 2012. The simulator allows controllers to perfect their skills of controlling aircraft before performing the actual task. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs
7/30/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- What once was a static board made up of a map, little stands and toy airplanes, is now an electronic panel with six large LCD screens that provide a 270 degree realistic view of Andersen's airfield.
The simulator is a training tool that is comparable to a video game.
Air Traffic Control Airmen use the simulator to practice responding to real-life scenarios. There are currently 41 scenarios programmed to the simulator replicating various lighting, weather, airframes, and flightline emergencies.
Compared to the static board that they would use when the simulator needs repair or updating, the simulator helps the trainees have a better perspective on how operations are run up in the tower.
Staff Sgt. Marc Passarino, also a 36 OSS tower watch supervisor, said that being able to recreate real-world events is what makes the simulator very valuable to ATC training.
"Our ability to conduct ATC training will be more efficient, and ATC trainees will progress through the training program more smoothly," said Sergeant Passarino.
New controllers and technical school graduates use the simulator to become accustomed to Andersen's tower and airfield.
"We can set it up from a single aircraft scenario to a scenario with really busy flightlines," said Sergeant Thompson. "Thanks to Sergeant Passarino, Sergeant Maye and Airman Richey we can modify the simulated flightline to our training needs. We can set up scenarios with gear failures and fires in order to practice diverting aircraft and calling in emergency control vehicles onto the flightline. Thanks to Airman Richey we can now simulate weather and night related scenarios."
With the number of aircraft coming in to Andersen constantly fluctuating, the simulator helps ATC Airmen adapt and respond to whatever happens on the flightline.
"The simulator is extremely valuable, especially in times when we don't have a lot of aircraft here," said Sergeant Thompson. "One day we would have a lull in traffic, and the next day we have a busy flightline. Practicing on the simulator helps our controllers handle whatever's thrown at them."
The success of Andersen Tower, which is Pacific Air Force's Air Traffic Control facility of the year for both 2010 and 2011, can be attributed to the great Airmen assigned to Andersen tower and the simulator will keep them at the peak of their game.