The third-generation dunkers, used in Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), were entirely funded by community donations through the LifeFlight Foundation, which raised A$250,000.
The donor contributions further ensure helicopter crew members undergo training in the most realistic scenarios and conditions.
"It's been a long haul to get the funding and secure two of these latest generation dunkers for LTA. It's great to have them here. It's a real accomplishment to be able to offer training in generation three machines," said LifeFlight HUET Manager Mick Dowling.
Adding extra challenges
The previous generation HUET simulators remain a valuable training tool, but the latest version adds extra challenges and an enhanced training experience. They were designed to meet LifeFlight's operational requirements and replicate more closely the interior features and most importantly the exit systems of an AW139 aircraft.
There are two exit systems in the AW139 cockpit, the main doors and emergency exit pull in windows. Both systems have been closely replicated in the Gen 3 HUET dunkers.
"It's relevant to the real world in which many crews are operating. We just had a pilot tell us the new dunker is ideal. He was really impressed," said Dowling.
LTA has four dunkers in operation in Australia and now one of them bears Mick Dowling's name, in recognition of the 13 years he has spent at the academy, guiding an estimated 10,000 students through the rigors of HUET.