State-of-the-art ATR pilot training simulator launched at Simtech Aviation at Dublin Airport, the first ATR 72-600 simulator in Ireland or the UK

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Stobart Air pilots first to use new simulator for training as airline calls on Government to implement rapid and affordable Covid-19 testing in Irish airports urgently to facilitate and support Christmas travel

  • The flight simulation artificially replicates an aircraft in flight for the purpose of pilot training
  • New training simulator represents a $10 million investment in Irish aviation
  • Launch comes at a key time when maintaining skills and talent in the aviation industry is a priority as Covid reduces pilot flying hours
  • Due to its unrivalled scenery Carrickfinn Airport in Donegal has been replicated in the simulator

A new state-of-the-art simulator, the first ATR 72-600 simulator in Ireland or the UK for pilot training has launched at Simtech Aviation at Dublin Airport today (Monday).

Regional airline Stobart Air will be the first to use the new simulator for training – the simulator represents a $10 million investment in Irish aviation training.

The flight simulation artificially re-creates and replicates an aircraft in flight for the purpose of pilot training. Today’s announcement means that Irish pilots can train, refresh and develop their skills on an ATR aircraft specifically – the aircraft flown by Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus regional routes. The new simulator is based at Simtech Aviation who will support and facilitate the training close to Dublin Airport.

Previous to this, pilots underwent ATR simulator training in Madrid and other locations across Europe. A new pilot conducting ‘type rated’ training – training on the particular aircraft type – on the ATR would spend 44 hours of training and checking in the simulator.

In addition, each pilot spends 16 hours per year in a simulator on recurrent training while pilots upgrading to Captain spend 36 hours training in the simulator for their new role.

Carrickfinn airport in Donegal, voted the most scenic in the world for the third year in a row, has been replicated in the ATR simulator. This is a first for Carrickfinn and any simulator in the world where pilots will see the Atlantic on one side and Mount Errigal on the other, when viewing the outside world from the visual displays of the simulator.

In planning for over a year, the new simulator has been in the build phase since early 2020 and was manufactured by Axis in Austria. Following the completion of testing, the simulator became operational at the end of October.

This new training facility comes at a key time when pilots are experiencing significantly reduced hours due to Covid travel restrictions and means that pilots can continue to log flying hours to meet flying time requirements.

The launch comes as the airline calls on the Government to implement rapid and affordable Covid-19 testing in Irish airports urgently to facilitate and support Christmas travel. In a letter to the Minister for Transport recently, the airline called for further clarity on the EU’s traffic light system, immediate financial support for regional aviation to include regional carriers and airports, along with a long term recovery strategy as part of the National Economic Plan.

Commenting on the launch, Director of Flight Operations at Stobart Air, Donal Young said:

“We’re delighted that the new ATR simulator in Dublin has launched for our pilots. Providing skills development and training for our team has always been a focus and priority for us which has intensified further as a result of Covid-19. Our team will receive one-of-a-kind training that we can now provide right on our doorstep.

“We look forward to welcoming our pilots on board the simulator to further their training on what is a remarkable replication of Carrickfinn in Donegal. Maintaining skills and talent in the industry is a key consideration now. We cannot risk a situation where we lose talent due to a very prolonged lockdown and an aviation industry that is essentially shut down as many may look to other industries. We must bring certainty and some clarity for Ireland’s aviation sector and we urge the Government to work with the industry to develop a long-term strategy for aviation as a matter of urgency, while prioritising the implementation of rapid and affordable Covid-19 testing in Irish airports to facilitate and support Christmas travel in the short-term.”

Based in Dublin Airport Logistics Park, Simtech Aviation operate a fleet of fixed-base and full-motion flight training devices in a 20,000 square feet purpose-built facility next to Dublin Airport. With a dedicated engineering and training team, the company provide a bespoke and best-in-class learning environment for aviation professionals from Ireland and abroad.

Captain Sé Pardy- Accountable Manager, Simtech Aviation said:

“Our team will support and facilitate the training of pilots who we anticipate will complete hundreds of training hours in the new ATR simulator in Dublin Airport. This is a key part of training and skills development for Irish pilots and having this new ATR simulate in Dublin is a huge opportunity for pilots and the aviation industry in Ireland. Our dedicated engineering and training team look forward to working with the talented and skilled Stobart Air pilots in the period ahead.”

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