In keeping with its vision to provide state-of-the-art and industry-leading training, RITA's Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) is turning heads in the world of aircraft investigation training with the construction of a new aviation safety training facility that will offer unprecedented access to hands-on training materials for students learning the precision art of crash investigation. Construction of the new hangar facility is planned in multiple phases, with Phase I delivering a 5,000 square foot steel building that has already allowed TSI to acquire and protect new training aids used in both classroom and field exercises.
TSI is internationally recognized for its training and remains on the cutting-edge of global aviation safety through best practices, new technologies, and up-to-date teaching techniques. The Aviation Safety program at TSI trains nearly 2,000 aviation safety professionals from Federal, state, local, and international governments; private industry; and the military each year. Still, said TSI Aviation Safety division manager Chris Lawrence, "you just can't get an F-100 engine up an elevator and through a classroom door. The new facility opens up the opportunity for more interaction with training aids, especially the really large ones, that will ultimately support instruction that's less theoretical and more meaningful preparation for the field."
The project is a partnership between TSI and the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Office of Accident Investigation, a major TSI sponsor. The concept was first presented to the FAA in 2003. Taking the project from concept to reality, however, proved to be a challenge. Success meant obtaining concurrence and coordination of efforts of multiple federal agencies and private industry. After months of calculations, fact gathering, and intense research, TSI was able to refine the concept and convince stakeholders of the enormous potential and added benefits the new facility would provide to the aviation community. A building site was selected on the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK. Initial construction bids for the overall project came in at an alarming $2.2 million, with a $500,000 estimate for initial phase alone. After expanding the field of potential contractors and employing a phased approach for construction, phase one construction for the facility was reduced to a much more manageable $170,000.
|Transportation Safety Institute|
The new training facility will benefit students of about 10 TSI Aviation Safety courses in the neat term. For example, TSI's Basic Aircraft Accident training course, as well as a similar one in Basic Helicopter Accident investigation, is a detailed 8-day course of study that has until now been held primarily in a classroom building with two excursions to the TSI accident investigation training laboratory. The new facility promises to transform that teaching format. Students can now look forward to a more hands-on training experience, with the ability to incorporate more diagramming skills, to make more immediate connections between course content and tangible examples.
The next phase will see the construction of an outdoor awning to link the hangar to the TSI lab, and to display and protect large training aids, such as airplanes, helicopters and their respective engines. The final phase will provide an on-site state-of-the-art classroom. Completion of all phases will result in a premier hands-on aircraft accident investigation training laboratory, commonly referred to as the "boneyard," for a realistic training experience. TSI anticipates completion of the entire project by October 2009, but Lawrence said that TSI has already received calls from universities seeking to use this facility as a model for their own boneyards.
Based in Oklahoma City, OK, TSI was established in 1971 to help DOT modal administrations accomplish their mission-essential training requirements. TSI is committed to developing and providing premier, worldwide safety, security and environmental training, products, and/or services for both the public and private sectors in the areas of aviation, highway safety, hazardous material transport, motor carrier, transit, and risk management.
TSI takes pride in its ability to customize its training to meet any customer's needs. The arrangement between the FAA and TSI is just one example of the unique and flexible approach TSI offers every day as a cost recovery organization within RITA.
To learn more about TSI, visit www.tsi.dot.gov or call TSI at 405-954-3153.