Conair acquires Level 5 flight training device for AT-802 air tankers

It has been installed at their Training & Tactics Center in Abbotsford, British Columbia

Conair AT-802 Flight Training Device. Conair photo.

The Conair Group has installed a Level 5 Flight Training Device (FTD) for AT-802 air tankers at their Training & Tactics Center in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The FTD is convertible, designed to mimic the performance of both the amphibious Fire Boss and wheeled Air Tractor AT-802 single engine air tankers. It can provide pilots with a virtual training platform that offers true-to-life flight scenarios, including firefighting missions.

It has been certified approved by Transport Canada, which specifies that a Level 5 FTD represents a specific cockpit. In the United States an FTC certified by the FAA at Level 5 may represent a family of aircraft rather than only one specific model.

Equipped with real avionics, a KAWAK throttle quadrant, and Retardant Delivery System, the simulator has displays identical to the cockpit of the actual aircraft. Flight control feedback and all instrumentation react to changing environments, with wind speed, visibility, temperature, clouds, and turbulence being controlled on the master Instructor Operating Station. The training device allows the pilot to practice tactics within a variety of situations, while managing the added pressure of simulated radio communications from multiple aircraft on the same mission.

Conair AT-802 Flight Training Device. Conair photo.

The FTD also features a 180-degree high-definition visual display, vibration system, and programable firefighting scenarios which enables pilots to practice a range of fire suppression techniques within immersive and dynamic circumstances. A key advantage of the FTD includes the pilot’s ability to practice drops and scoops in complex, and often unpredictable conditions. In addition, pilots have the opportunity to exercise emergency procedures within a safe setting that significantly reduces the risk to both the pilot and the aircraft. The FTC does not have three-axis motion but does have an Entrol limited motion base plus the ability to produce vibration.

The AT-802 FTD at Conair’s training facility is available to qualifying Air Tractor operators. Conair acquired an FTD for the Avro RJ85 in  2017.

Conair acquire five flight training devices
Conair to acquire five flight training devices from Quantu

In December, 2019 the company awarded a contract to install five fully networked FTDs with reconfigurable cockpits to simulate flight dynamics for eight aircraft platforms performing different roles during aerial firefighting missions. Each of these reconfigurable three-axis motion platforms will be able to perform individual or joint training encompassing different aircraft platforms and scenarios. The goal is to not only simulate the ground fire and effects of the aerial retardant being applied by the trainees but will also simulate the dynamic and dangerous environmental changes created by the fire that pilots may encounter. Shannon De Wit told Fire Aviation, “The project is underway but has been delayed due to COVID and the inability of development teams located around the world to travel to Canada to install the units.”

In addition to Air Tractor 802 SEATs, Conair operates other firefighting aircraft including, air attack aircraft, CL-215T, RJ85, Q400MR, and Convair CV580.

Conair AT-802 Flight Training Device. Conair photo.

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20 thoughts on “Conair acquires Level 5 flight training device for AT-802 air tankers”

    1. Brian apparently you’ve never witnessed seats in action!! I’ve been working with seats for 15 years and they have saved houses,saved property,saved structures, slow down fires enough to where the ground guys could get on them saved personnel on the ground!! they can get in places where the big tankers cannot get! their primary purpose is initial attack and structure protection and they do it very well!! ( plus and cost-savings well below what a large tanker would cost)! You can’t imagine the number of small fires less than 5 Acres or so that they would not have sent a large tanker on it would have grown to a large fire had not the seats gotten in there and put it out!!!

      1. I have lived in a wildland interface area… That’s modern speak for brush fire capital of the world since 1969.
        Was part of the fire service for 23 years. While in the USAF, I was stationed at a Base with C-5, C-141, KC-135, T-38 and C-17 Aircraft.
        The 747 SuperTanker puts out more fire, uses fewer people, is less costly per gallon of agent delivered, is safer to use than your favorite squirt gun.
        It can fly in much worse conditions, requires less time to fight more fire. And the aircraft will last much longer.
        The first day at my first duty station I parked at the Fire Station in amazement at a fully open C-5A.
        I thought to myself, they need this back home!!!
        Sadly Lockheed produced an inferior product in the wing attachment… C-130s are somewhat better, but even they require being disassembled and re-riveted/re-assembled… Several older one’s have fallen apart.
        But the 747 SuperTanker is a more wise investment but too many of you little big smasher drivers have too much political power.
        The Ultra Heavies also would also require a shift in monies in the overall Fire Service in the USA.
        It’s ok… You are not the first Good Ole Boy Bug Smasher Driver I have had a discussion with, their face book group hates the Big Boy Jets!

        1. Well, Brian, I’m one of those “bug smasher drivers,” you’re talking about, apparently the kind that you think hate big jets. Except I’m a former 747 captain, presently a widebody captain, with large air tanker experience in three types, and nearly 20 seasons experience in SEATs, too. So unlike someone that sat at a USAF base and looked at large airplanes, I do know what I’m talking about. Yours is not an uncommon attitude, and also a gross misunderstanding of wildfire tactics, resource use and application, and what it is that we do. Have you ever actually fought a wildfire or worked alongside, or in tanker aircraft? You’re absolutely dead wrong about SEAT aircraft. The 802 in particular is a very well designed, very capable airplane, and unlike most other resources on the fire, was purpose built for aerial delivery. Moreover, the 802 is the most numerous tanker type in the world, and is found in use all over the planet. You do understand that the purpose of tanker aircraft is not to douse a fire and put it out, correct?

          1. Your last point is just what I am talking about…
            Conflagrations do not get extinguished by humans fighting the Conflagrations,
            They burn till they burn out all the fuel. BackFires and FireRetardant don’t extinguish the fire, they put up a wall around it.
            And as of late, Structural Protection is a PipeDream in too many areas.
            Yes I believe we need a complete paradigm shift that uses the Ultra Heavy Tankers to directly EXTINGUISH Wildland Fires in the First Alarm/First Day stage AS A RULE.
            I propose a fleet of at least 100 SuperTankers Nation wide with one Bird on 30 minute alert steady-by status on a regional basis.
            Using these resources in
            THIS MANNER will most likely cost more that what the status quo has cost. But I propose that the mindset that cost 19 Arizona Hot Shot team members should have changed long before that disaster occurred!
            Those men died because of an old school tradition. Their Chief assumed they were safe.
            Firefighter safety in these drought season conditions is not possible as much as it is when using adequate type and size AirCraft. Using the Ultra Heavies could put out much more fire and more safely than Hand Crews, Structural Protection Crews and even dozer crews.
            Off hand I venture to says yes the Heavies should largely do Retardant Drops, but a Contingent of First Attack Planes should have EXTINGUISHMENT
            as their Primary Mission.
            I also would like to see larger engines and night-time terrain avoiding radar/avionics studied to enable 24 hour operations.
            I believe CalFire’s move to use DC-9s as foolish when compared to the 747 capabilities!
            There is an underlying reason that the current leadership of Fire Service is stuck on the 3,000 capacity…
            But then there are also still Flat Earth Believers out there also…

        2. Well first off nobody in the seat world that I know of hates the big jet drivers if anything it’s the other way around we appreciate them and their capabilities! Another tool in the toolbox secondly if you look at the study done it started in I believe it was 2012 Effectiveness and the probability of success in firedrops , seats are higher than any other category including the very large air tankers which were the lowest in the effectiveness and probability of success category!! And retardant no matter who drops it does not put out fires!it does not matter if you drop 800 gallons or if you drop 300,000 gallons retardant cuz you don’t drop it directly on the fire! now if everybody’s carrying water that might be different ? that you put directly on a fire , all retardant does is slow it down so the guys on the ground can get to it and put it out!! Like I said you’re not going to send a 747 supertanker on a 1-acre fire but you sent a seat out there and that fires going to be slow down or put out long before it becomes a hundred thousand acre fire that’s the whole point of seats there are another two on the toolbox and very valuable and a whole lot cheaper than sending the giant 747 out there dimensions are loading return time is like 5 minutes to load receipt as opposed to what 45 minutes for a supertanker not to mention the travel time because you can only put those things in so many airports across the country where she can literally operate out of the dirt road if necessary which is the whole point get a seat out there on a 1-acre fire and put it out before it blows up 200,000 Acres!! Trap to those brave men that perished Granite Mountain HotShots few years ago? we were on that fire and there was nothing that could have been done! it was a wind shift storm shift they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time they did everything right !! a supertanker would not have saved them?

        3. This is like saying the foot soldier is redundant and we just need more nuclear missiles … anyone that makes a statement that one is superior and the latter
          is inferior is unfortunately misinformed and not worthy of a debate but I would be happy to enlighten you.

      2. All of those big configurations in Calif last last few years… Had The SuperTanker been on call, regionally-based ready to go… None of those fires would have gotten as big as they did – one SuperTanker on one 15 acre fire is much cheaper than thousands of homes, businesses, vehicles, whole towns being consumed, but sadly using such a resource required a new updated mindset that calls for a Tanker on the first alarm before the small brusher becomes a ”lake of fire” conflagration.

        1. Brian,

          You’re making assumptions not in evidence, far outside your depth. No one can say with any certainty what the outcome of a historical fire might have been if a given resource had been “on call.”

          I was on a fire several years ago in which significant life loss among fire crews, and property damage occurred. During the period leading up to the blowup, the airspace over Yarnell was saturated with every type of fixed wing tanker, and every type of rotor wing asset. It would have been nearly impossible to put more resources in that airspace, from SEATs to VLATS. Despite constant drops and extremely heavy, and wide retardant, the fire jumped the line when it reversed course in the presence of a microburst from a large thundercell, overtaking hotshot crew.

          You have never been on a wildfire, and certainly have never fought fire from the air or piloted an aircraft on a fire, so you wouldn’t know about retardant lines that burn through. Even heavy coverage levels provided by very large air tankers (which frequently do excellent work). Anyone with any wildfire experience, and all of us who are responding to you, have seen fire burn through good, solid retardant lines hundreds of times. Thousands. Sometimes burning under the retardant, sometimes through it, sometimes spotting over it.

          The assumption that a big airplane will solve the problems you perceive, is a fallacy. Again, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Fire is dynamic. It’s in constant flux as conditions change, fuels change. Resources get stretched thin. There is a valid use for every tool put on the fireline. Not every tool is the most appropriate at any given time, but in nearly all cases, when the need is there, any available resource is a plus. We drop retardant, water, and foam. Aircraft that scoop or dip are valuable resources when a ready water source is nearby. They have advantages and disadvantages (such as using multiple water sources and cross-contamination). SEATS, LATS, and VLATS have limitations and advantages, and each have their appropriate uses.

          Conair is a Canadian company (there’s more to the world than California). The Canadians have been using single engine air tankers for a long time, as has the US, Australia, and numerous other countries, despite your unqualified lack of approval. Conair operates in the US, too, and supplies aircraft around the world, and has done for fifty one fire seasons. It’s unfortunate that they lack your insight and experience to set them straight. Conair has seen fit to look to technology and the advantages of enhanced safety in the pursuit of their mission, and should be congratulated and commended for their choice.

    2. The 802 represents the bulk of the fixed wing aerial firefighting fleet, being greater in numbers than all other tanker types combined. The 802 frequently delivers retardant at a lower cost per gallon, with a faster response time, faster turn time, lower drop height, and more precise delivery, and can work from nearly any airport, and has frequently worked from roads, near a fire, effectively putting a tanker base anywhere need be. Like helicopters, the SEATs come with their own fuel trucks, but also their own mobile retardant mix rigs, contracted with each aircraft. SEAT see regular use on everything from large, complex fires to single tree and small fires, and as a Type IV tanker have proven an effective resource.

    3. To make comment on a forum that is HEAVILY viewed by people who do the very job day in and day out and are the textbook definition of subject matter experts is ballsy in any instance. Doing so when you so very clearly have zero clue about the subject is outright laughable and exposing yourself as an idiot in continuing to defend your position just takes it to next level. Admit your ignorance and beg forgiveness then remove your remarks and comments while there is some measure of dignity remaining and move on.

      23 seasons SEATS,LAT etc. Kinda expert.

      1. There is some validity to Brian’s comments. The lack of a sufficient number of SEATs, located a reasonable distance from most fires, and the growing use of multiple SEATs (6-8) in a daisy chain of drops by incident commanders, supports his views. The DOI and states that use them should consider a transition to a twin engine airtanker, such as the Q400…I think they’d be more effective.

        1. The use of multiple seats in chain series drop isn’t evidence of a need for a larger tanker. It’s a technique used to make accurate drops with less time spent on the lead in. It’s particularly useful when the approach is difficult or time consuming, or when the line changes direction repeatedly. Multiple SEATs in trail enables on lead pass with the SEATs behind, and each SEAT to tag and extend with less possibility of a gap, to observe the preceding aircraft’s drift, and to make adjustments to the drop line in cases where contouring the fire line is desired. It’s shown to be popular with Leads. It’s also frequently used as a traffic management strategy. SEATs will be put in a hold on arrival, dropped together, and egressed together. Turn time is faster for SEATs, with faster reloads; the flexibility can be used at both ends. Moreover, leads of often drop large tankers on longer stretches of line, leaving a gap or a section that’s more appropriately addressed with the SEAT, when they know the SEAT is coming back, or standing by.

          The use of multiple SEATS does not mean that a large airtanker should have been used instead, and even when four SEATs drop to carry the same retardant load, they do it at a lower cost and faster turn time, especially when reloading nearby. This does not make them better or worse than another asset; a tool in the toolbox as often stated, and one that some understand, and of which some continue to be quite dismissive.

          As for a lack of sufficient number of SEATs; there are more SEATS than any other fixed wing. How many would one prefer?

  1. First of all I specifically said 15 acres not one acre. My point is still valid, any Air Support is not called for until a Chief on the ground can’t handle the incident. My whole point is the Big Burners get out of control because AirCraft are only looked at when the fire is not going to be contained on Day One — should be a First Alarm dispatch.
    Second, small WATER drops put out fire all the time;
    around home/structures in which Structural Protection Crews are over whelmed!
    Ultra Heavies do not have the accuracy smaller AirCraft, Especially Seats… because they do not have the experience nor do they have additional technology on-board to facilitate even better performance.
    I made the point that we need to HAVE Ultra’s that do have water drop missions and no there are not too few places to resupply at. You can use all kinds of fallacious arguments but they are incorrect statements if not flat out lies.
    You don’t want them to work,
    so you have a negative mind set.
    If you cared about doing the best job possible, you will do what it takes to make it work!!!
    The reason Ultra’s have been held back is YOUR ItCan’tWorkAttitude.
    And my idea to have 100 or more total and several spaced out regionally allows rapid deployment and prepared Base Sites could have systems which could allow refilling in 15 minutes.
    Seat drivers and the owners of such aircraft don’t want to see it work, it would cut down on their business.
    That’s how the Fire Service is Circle the Wagons and resist change.
    Open your mind,
    Serve the public at the highest possible level tech allows!!!

    1. Not so this year particula dude is the Coronavirus?? seats were called out even before the ground support guys got there or got called out there was no requirement that a chief be on the ground?? And I don’t have a negative mindset I love the Heavies I like watching them work I’ve worked around them I’ve been around them had nothing but good things to say about him like I said there another tool in the toolbox and you can convince the government spend the money yeah a hundred of them station around the country be great what you’re talking millions and millions of dollars just to have them set there?? And yes they are limited in where they can land and take-off they need about 10,000 feet of Runway to be able to take off or land especially loaded perhaps even more than that they are limited to the larger airports you can’t always have a heavy sitting 10 miles from a fire most the time it’s several hundred miles and they have to fly that distance to get there and then fly back that all takes time and no I don’t believe you can load one in 15 minutes I could be wrong I’ll do some more research?? If anybody’s got a negative mindset it’s you about seats ?? using all available tools is what’s about putting the fires out and seats were proven very effective in test and in studies more so than the big heavies ! they have their place seats have their place Ground Pounders have their place bulldozers have their place we’re all on the same team here quit being so negative about everything!!

    2. Your comments are entirely untrue. You state that no “air support” is called until a “chief” on the ground makes the call. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Tankers are frequently initial attack resources with no one on the ground, and I’ve lost track of the number of small fires that we’ve boxed in before ground resources arrived, and before an incident commander was assigned or on scene. In fact, in many cases, we’ve remained on scene to help direct ground troops to the fire. Your assertions that aircraft are only requested after a fire is out of control is very misinformed and untrue. You do not know what you’re talking about. You have no experience with this subject and yet are accusing those who do, of lying? You’re out of line.

      1. Yes sir you are exactly right! I don’t know how many times we were called to a fire and got it out before any ground pounders showed up!

  2. Wow Brian, you sure woke up the SEAT guys. Look at the Beachie Fire article and ask yourself what if there was a couple of SEATs dropping foam enhanced water (I like foam) for a few hours on this fire? A few years ago while with CDF, a person of wealth contacted me with the Santa Anna fire solution. 100 super cubs dropping 100 gallons of water simultaneously in a World War II B17 formation. I didn’t take his proposal to management. As I have mentioned numerous times when Mother Nature is mad initially she will always win. Or if you allow Mother Nature to “cook” she will burn you eventually.

    1. Beachie Creek fire? Drops from Type I helicopters were mostly ineffective…SEATs would have had no impact.

  3. Silly discussion not relevant to what the article was about.

    Training is a good thing no matter what you’re flying. Good job by Conair!

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