Giving an engineer a RADAR to train on is akin to giving a real-life Ferrari to a Scalextric fan.  That’s what NATS Training Services did for Liverpool and Doncaster engineers.

When the airports asked if we could provide a representative RADAR for the training course, the answer was a resounding yes.  We aim to use the most representative real-life assets for our own internal training programmes, so why not with the customers that we support?

Our three-week Raytheon Primary Surveillance RADAR (PSR) course made use of the NATS’ owned RADAR system in St Anne’s, in order to provide the same level of expert training given to our own team of highly skilled engineers.

It can be a challenge for airports to free up and release their operational assets from service for essential training; we’re perfectly placed, due to the overall service resilience, to fill this need for them, providing a complete training service including fully representative training equipment, expert trainers, professional training courses, along with coveted and expensive test equipment.

On this course, the airports’ engineers were provided with a theoretical grounding at the state-of-the-art training facility at Liverpool Airport. This part of the course allowed them to work through the theory of how the PSR functions.  The hands-on elements of the course took place at one of our sites, St Anne’s near Blackpool.

Being able to provide engineers with real world experience is great preparation for dealing with live operational issues.

The course culminated in an opportunity for the engineers to put their new knowledge and skills to the test through multiple real-life role-play scenarios.  For me, this is the most exciting part of the course. Being able to provide engineers with this level of experience is excellent preparation for real-world live operational issues where the added level of working under time pressures will become a factor.

Run by specialist trainers with significant experience in the field, this part of the course is where we can offer tips and ‘secrets’ of the trade not possible through stand-alone textbook theory.  Our trainers have the benefit of having access to both expert experience and state of the art equipment – we know it inside out.

Specifically, being able to learn on a real-life RADAR and not just a Test and Development Facility, led by an expert with first-hand operational experience of the equipment provides the best possible training for their future and that of a smooth functioning, robust airport operation.

As an engineer, team leader and a trainer, being able to provide a combination of hands on practical and theoretical training in a real-life context is hugely satisfying.  It is not only effective, but incredibly motivating for both instructor and student.  Add to that being able to complement our training with access to our state-of-the-art equipment – a seamless experience for engineers and airports is the result.

The engineers were extremely talented, focused and hardworking and passed the course with flying colours. They are now well on their way to becoming “Competency Rated” which is an integral part of their Air Traffic Service.  With this valuable expertise now available in house, Liverpool and Doncaster airports have strengthened their ability to respond to any technical issues in a flexible and time sensitive way.

Our RADAR training course was provided in partnership with the Peel Group who manage Liverpool John Lennon and Doncaster Airports engineering services.


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