Last week we shared a couple of photos on Twitter that caused a bit of a stir.

They showed a new aerodrome training set-up that we’ve been trialing using our simulator and a 360 degree display mechanism from a company called Igloo. It generated so much interest I thought it would be worthwhile going into a little more detail on the technology and what we’re doing with it.

The concept aims to combine our own NATS Ace simulator technology with an easy to construct, pop-up dome that could in theory be used anywhere in the world. It uses a number of projectors and Igloo’s image capture system to then warp and blend the image onto the screens.

The simulator technology is what we already use today to train Air Traffic Controllers at our training college in Fareham, but in theory it could be used to simulate any airport anywhere in the world in any conditions, which is the really exciting part. It gives us an immersive, but safe environment to put a controller through their paces in all kinds of weather conditions and gives them a chance to experience emergency situations too.

Training controllers is an expensive business. It often requires them to travel to a specific location and the technology is costly. In theory this offers a more flexible, lower cost alternative that could be taken anywhere and then remotely supported with data and expertise by the NATS simulation team.

At the moment this is just a trial, but one day it could help support our training and development activities anywhere in the world.


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