From Uche Usim, Abuja
United Kingdom-based Alpine Metal Technology Company, the manufacturer of Nigeria’s automatic aircraft firefighting simulator has carried out the mandatory factory acceptance, pre-shipment inspection and general tests of the equipment in preparation for its shipment to Nigeria later this month.
The assessments were carried out in the United Kingdom on Monday in the presence of a Nigerian delegation led by the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The simulator, which costs N5 billion, is the first of its kind in Africa and will be installed at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna State.
It is a modern multi-scenario firefighting simulator capable of delivering training for different types of operational incidents involving aircraft in the aerodrome and its vicinity.
The acquisition, according to Sirika, is in fulfillment of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority requirement for training of firefighters in the airports and will, overall, enhance competence and proficiency in achieving the primary objective of saving lives in the event of a fire incident.
The pre-shipment test, Sirika added, showcased the full complements of about 28 possible fire/non fire scenarios carried out including; cabin fire simulation, cabin smoke, lavatory smoke and the likes.
Other simulation tests include; Turbo prop engine, undercarriage, fuselage side as well as corresponding components of single aisle multiple engine jet aircraft, fuel spill burn pit, internal fires among the vast arrays of simulations it can do.
He described the equipment as very vital in the safety architecture of airport operations in Nigeria.
He said: “The focus of the Buhari administration on civil aviation is safety and security.
“This is, therefore, a component of it. We take matters of safety and security very seriously.
“Before now, we train our firefighters in Cameroon and I found myself approving several hundred thousands of dollars for training in Cameroon and I said this is not it.
“I applied and got approval to procure this firefighting simulator and Mr President graciously approved it. It will cost the nation about N5 billion and we started it and now it is completed and it’s ready for testing.
“It has been tested in front of us and you have seen it, it’s in perfect working order and condition and we will install it at the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (NCAT).
“The impact on our nation is it would improve our safety standards by providing proficient fire fighters. fire fighting as an important aspect of airport operations without which we cannot open our airports. The equipment can simulate cabin fire, smoke, cockpit fire, cargo fire, undercarriage fire so this is multi-functional”.
The elated Minister added that once the facility was installed, the country will be a hub for comprehensive fire trainings from ab initio training, recurrency training to full training and so on.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Glovesly Pro-Project Limited, representatives of Messrs Alpine Metal Tech. Company in Africa, Mr. Yasir Tijani Abdullahi explained that the simulator is set to be delivered by the end of the month as everything is almost set for the installation in NCAT, Zaria.
He said: “Unlike other simulators, this is a real-sized aircraft and has everything real. It is automatic and has a soft touch console. We are getting ready as it will be ready for shipping by the end of the month. This, however, is a full aircraft and will have to be disassembled into separate parts for shipping and reassembly when in Nigeria.”
On the benefits to the country, Abdullahi explained that it will improve safety and save Nigeria foreign exchange.
“The country is set to change the status quo with regards training and retraining of fire fighting personnel as it used to regularly train in Cameroon, which has contributed in no small measures to capital flight, which this acquisition will finally nip. We will not only save capital from leaving the country but will generate capital for Nigeria, It will therefore be a money spinner.
On some of the redundancies of the simulator, Yasir said apart from its deadman’s switch, the system checks itself automatically and if there is a challenge, like a gas leak, it shuts itself down and lets you know,” Abdullahi explained.