At the wheel of her car, Myriam has to go and inspect a runway at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. At her side, Maxime, her instructor, is teaching her to drive and making sure that all the procedures are followed.
A special type of licence is required in order to drive a runway inspection vehicule, a luggage truck or a snowplough on an airport parking lot, on a runway or on a taxiway.
As Maxime Peron, head of Oktal’s aeronautical simulator project, explains, there are very specific traffic rules that need to be mastered on the ground. Aircraft movements need to be anticipated and one has to learn how to use the various radio channels properly.
It’s taken Oktal, a subsidiary of Sogeclair, a year to develop this airside-driving simulator. All scenarios can be simulated; one can change the weather as well as creating all kinds of incidents. This is a good way to safely get the hang of things before actually driving on the ground. It also helps lighten the traffic in the airside zone.
Launched 25 years ago for the car and rail industry, this Toulouse-based company is now taking on the air transport industry. With air traffic on the rise, this is a promising market.Roissy airport have been using this simulator for over a year now to train their staff. Other airports such as Italy, Singapore, China, the Middle East and the United States are also interested in the concept.