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Airservices wins award for VR aviation firefighting training

written by Jake Nelson | December 6, 2023

Airservices’ Melbourne ARFF Training Academy training instructor Nathan Smith demonstrates VR firefighting training equipment. (Image: Jake Nelson)

Airservices Australia’s virtual reality Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) training has won an international education award.

Airservices’ Melbourne ARFF Training Academy took out a platinum award for Best in Virtual Reality at the LearnX Awards, for its use of XVR Simulation training software during firefighting training workshops.

The software can be programmed to give trainee firefighters a simulation of various emergency scenarios, including different types of fires on different airframes in different weather conditions. VR-linked replica hoses can even provide the sensation of the water pressure from a real hose by pulling back on the reel.

“Our team’s excellence and innovation in VR has seen us demonstrate our training prowess to the Australian Fire and Emergency Services Council, New Zealand Fire Chiefs Forum and Norfolk Island Fire Service – and overseas with counterparts in the UK and Europe,” said Airservices’ firefighting training lead, James Harington.

The LearnX Awards, held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), celebrate achievements in learning, development and talent management, with entrants spanning the global corporate, public service, and education sectors. Previous LearnX honourees include Qantas, Rio Tinto, and the World Health Organisation.


Marcus Knauer, head of operational training and resourcing at Airservices, commended the ARFF team on a “very exciting and well-deserved” accolade.

“It further demonstrates Airservices’ excellence and innovation in training – and boosts ARFF’s safe and efficient air traffic management services at 27 of Australia’s busiest airports,” he said.

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