Paris Air Show

Air traffic school provides a room with a view

 - December 12, 2006, 1:21 PM

Air traffic control students have had access to a broad range of simulators at the French national civil aviation school Enac for a year now. Based in Toulouse, Enac’s new ATC simulation facility operates two simulators that can each re-create a control tower with a 360-degree field of vision. Other sims on the property include en route (32 positions), approach (18 positions) and generic (10 positions). The investment totaled €20 million ($24.6 million).

Instructors can also divide the two rotundas into 120- or 240-degree sectors. The simulators feature both existing and hypothetical airports. “We have designed some imaginary airports to answer specific teaching needs,” noted Marie-Claire Dissler, head of Enac’s air traffic department.

Images appear quite realistic without overburdening students with too many details. The simulators can train for adverse weather and other situations, such as snowfall, fire aboard an aircraft, birds and runway incursions.

ATC students are not the only ones to use the new building. The French air navigation authority uses it to role-play its experiments. For example, the authority will test a change in the organization of the country’s airways before validation.