Work begins on $11.5 million fire training ground at Melbourne Airport

24 Feb 2012

Airservices today marked the start of construction for a new aviation fire fighting training ground at Melbourne Airport.

The $11.5 million ‘hot fire’ training facility will be the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

It will provide state-of-the-art training for aviation fire fighters nationally with more than 250 fire fighters expected to pass through the facility each year.

The centrepiece of the 15,000m2 training ground will be a full sized mock-up aircraft fuselage, replicating sections from Airbus A380, Boeing 767 and DC10 aircraft. The 56m long, 10m high and 29m wide mock-up will be used to simulate real-world aviation fire fighting and rescue scenarios.

Airservices General Manager Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting, Andrew Rushbrook, said that the new facility would allow the organisation to centralise the delivery of high-quality, realistic training to recruits and experienced fire fighters undertaking required ongoing and advanced training.

“The new facility also allows us to meet our environmental commitments while undertaking this critical training.  We will capture and treat all foam and water used in training,” Mr Rushbrook said.

Badge Constructions will complete civil works on the site while the aircraft simulator and associated fire control and safety systems will be installed by Dräger Safety Pacific. The facility will be built over the next 12 months and is expected to be in service by early 2013.

“This project demonstrates the strong co-operation between Airservices and Melbourne Airport, and reflects our ongoing commitment to investing in infrastructure around the airport,” Mr Rushbrook said.

The facility will be constructed next to the compound housing Airservices existing air traffic services centre, a new technical services centre under construction, and a $17 million air traffic control tower which will be completed by the end of the year.

Airservices has one of the largest, most highly trained, professional aviation fire and rescue services in the world with 700 operational fire fighters and around 35 recruit trainees each year.