377th LRS Ground Transportation at Kirtland AFB receives new driving simulator

  • Published
  • By John Cochran
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Ground Transportation element at Kirtland Air Force Base has received a new driving simulator, paid for by 377th Air Base Wing innovation funds, which will save time, labor and money.

Master Sgt. Kenneth R. Whited, the unit’s NCO in charge of operations, said the $180,000 Doron Precision Systems 550Truckplus simulator allows lifelike driver training and eliminates the additional maintenance workload that would be required on actual vehicles operated by trainees.

“It takes the wear and tear off of our vehicles, when our 33 operators can come in here and do their training. It’s a pretty realistic experience to learn what it’s like to pull a trailer and see how wide you have to take turns, without grinding the gears while you learn how to drive a stick-shift, or risk hitting something while backing up,” he said.

The manufacturer says the system is designed to provide a dynamic training environment for a wide variety of commercial truck applications. Each unit allows the driver to interact with computer-generated vehicles in a realistic environment. Features include a 225-degree field of view using three 55-inch high-resolution video display panels, dynamic, virtual-world graphics, and Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. The company says customers report lower training costs, lower washout rates, reduced collision rates and improved safety.

Whited said that manpower and time savings are possible because students can train on the device without needing an instructor to sit in a vehicle with them.

“A lot of learning to back a trailer is just practice. They’ll be able to come in here and do it alone,” he said.

Instructor/evaluators at the simulator’s control console can make inputs to the pre-loaded training scenarios, changing weather conditions, presenting external obstacles, and creating vehicle malfunctions, so the operator will need to respond safely and appropriately.

Whited said other units on base can also schedule time to use the device for training Airmen on operating their vehicles.

“It’s not just saving wear on our fleet – all vehicle operators on base can train in this simulator,” he said.

Available vehicle profiles range from Humvees to dump trucks, tankers to firefighting ladder trucks, buses to police cars, and many others.