Manchester-based training solutions specialist EDM has completed the first two simulators dedicated to training the cabin crews that will operate the world’s most advanced airliner.
Customer for the first two 787 cabin and door training simulators is US airline Continental Airlines, which is taking delivery of up to 25 Dreamliners from 2011, flying a range of long-haul routes to destinations including Manchester. The simulators are due to be delivered to Continental later this month.
Continental has ordered two of the precision replica simulators for use at training centres at two of its three major US hubs – in Houston, Texas and Newark, New Jersey. Here, cabin crews will work up their skills in operational and emergency procedures on a brand new aircraft type.
Kevin Bird, Managing Director of EDM, said: “We were thrilled to win this order from Continental as it represents a major export success for us and, as we won it in the face of fierce global competition from among others US companies, it recognised our world-leading expertise in this growing market for airliner crew training solutions.
“We have an excellent workforce here that collectively demonstrates a wide range of skills – from top-grade machinists, metal and wood-working craftsmen to electrical and software development engineers – and this is backed by an excellent local supply chain that provides us with virtually everything we need to undertake a complex design and manufacturing task from start to finish. It is an honour to work hand-in-glove with industry giants like Boeing and airlines with the history and pedigree of Continental.”
Boeing licensed EDM to use its master 787 electronic design model as training simulators need to replicate the real thing – not just dimensionally but down to detailed features of the cabin including the door, ceiling panels, overhead lockers, attendants’ seats, functional communication handsets and touch-screen panels, and a cabin oxygen system for decompression training.
Currenlty, EDM is one of only two companies worlwide who are licensed by Boeing to use Dreamliner data. EDM software and design engineers generated their own engineering model from which additional elements could be developed such as a motorised software control system simulating the physical opening and closing characteristics of the door and capable of introducing failure features such as door jamming or other door damage that might be encountered during a real aircraft emergency.
From a cubicle within the cabin, an instructor can deploy a computer control panel to activate a range of operational drills and emergency scenarios so that cabin and flight crews can build their knowledge and capabilities in a realistic environment. Audio and visual backdrops – such as fire, smoke and water – can be introduced to add further authenticity.
During the design and manufacture of the 787 trainers, EDM was able to utilise many specialist capabilities within its own Newton Heath factory. These include a casting foundry, 5-axis CNC stations for precision machining operations, its full wood shop for pattern-making, a spray shop, its team of software engineers, and an electronics laboratory building circuit boards.
As well as the Continental order, EDM has also been contracted to supply a 787 door trainer for China Southern Airlines and hopes that these deals mark the beginning of a sizeable market for its high-technology trainers.
By investing in tooling for the main door structure EDM are in a position to provide future B787 customers with a common product baseline within a relatively short delivery timescale.
The Boeing 787, which is scheduled to make its debut flight during the second half of 2009, is a twin-engined airliner capable of flying between 210 and 330 passengers on transocean routes up to 8,500 miles. It embodies numerous technology advances, with around 50 per cent of its structure made of lightweight composites, more integrated electrical power and aircraft health monitoring systems, and advanced engines offering up to eight per cent higher efficiency.
Mick Bonney, Head of Sales and Business Development at EDM said, “To date Boeing has received orders from 50 operators for more than 800 Dreamliners and, with 35 years experience establishing our world-leading position in this specialist market, we are confident that a number of airlines requiring their own 787 cabin training capability will turn to us to satisfy their needs.”