OLYMPIA, Wash. - It's 53 feet long, is attached to a trailer and is designed to make corporate jet cabin crews better trained to deal with emergencies.
It doesn't sit still. Its pneumatic drive system can toss people around.
Aircare Solutions Group got its start in this city back in the early 1980s. It was launched by a clinical psychologist who was interested in how human beings behaved in emergencies. Originally, the company came up with modern day seat-back escape cards that passengers are always encouraged to read as a plane is preparing for takeoff.
Since then, the company has grown and branched out in multiple directions. One of those directions is training, and its simulators make that training feel very real.
"Our customers are businesses,” said Martin Hamilton, Aircare Solutions Group's Vice President for Marketing and Business Development. "They use business aviation as a tool."
If operators of corporate aircraft want to increase safety, Aircare's Flight Attendant and Cockpit Crew Training Seminars (FACTS) division will provide classroom and simulator training for both pilots and flight attendants. The simulator’s cabin can be filled with simulated and dense smoke from vegetable oil so crews can learn the multi-step process for dealing with a burning lithium-ion battery in a laptop.
Sudden decompression and ground evacuation simulations are all designed to put those crews under stress for the time when they might have to perform those functions for real.
"How do you communicate under high stress? How do you compose yourself? The passengers are going to look to you,” said trainer Brian Hayvaz, a retired airport firefighter and paramedic who's trained thousands of corporate flight crews at Aircare.
Aircare builds its own simulators and has constructed seven others since the mid-1990s, but this one is the biggest and most advanced. Aircare also offers training in water landings, self defense and other techniques.
The company operates training bases in California, Texas and New Jersey, as well as Amsterdam. The simulators can be driven anywhere they're needed.