Local aerospace company celebrates milestone

Aircare Solutions celebrates with simulator ride, lunch

rboone@theolympian.comMay 10, 2013 

A jet plane crash-landed in Tumwater Thursday afternoon, but no one was hurt and those aboard later enjoyed a barbecue lunch to reflect on the experience.

On Thursday, a Tumwater division of a longtime Olympia business called Aircare Solutions Group, celebrated the completion of its eighth full-motion aircraft cabin simulator, a 53-foot structure designed to train pilots, flight attendants and flight engineers who work aboard business class planes.

Aircare Facts Training – one of four divisions within Aircare Solutions – has been manufacturing the simulators since the early 1990s, said Martin Hamilton, vice president of marketing and business development for the company.

To commemorate the newest milestone, company executives, staff and other businesses that had a hand in building the simulator were invited to lunch and given a chance to experience a crash landing, rapid decompression and a fire aboard a jet.

The simulator, which cost about $500,000 to build, moves somewhat like an amusement park ride.

“It really gives you a sense of what it would be like,” said Amanda Sheesley, who “escaped” from the simulator after it was filled with smoke.

Sheesley, who works for another division of Aircare Solutions, said it was her first time to try the simulator.

Inside, the simulator is designed to look like the interior of a business class plane, including a cabin with passenger seating, galley, lavatory and cockpit. It also comes with working equipment, such as fire extinguishers that can be used for training purposes, said Brian Hayvaz, director of training for Aircare Facts.

In one scenario, Hayvaz led everyone through a plane crash, complete with oxygen masks dropping from above. Then, once the “plane” came to its halting conclusion, “passengers” were urged to “sit and spin” – sit on a cabinet in front of a window and spin their legs toward it – to get through the removable opening.

In another situation, the cabin was filled with smoke and then those inside were asked to find their way to an emergency exit, then step through the exit opening following the command “leg, body, leg.” Hayvaz also demonstrated how the flight simulator can re-create a lithium battery fire in a laptop computer.

The simulator will now be sent to Long Beach, Calif., one of four training destinations for the company. The others are in Dallas, Morristown, N.J., and in Amsterdam.

In addition to fixed locations for training, the company also can take its training on the road, visiting places like downtown Olympia’s Phoenix Inn, Boeing Field, or at major business aviation hubs, Hamilton said.

Aircare Solutions also has a division that staffs flight attendant and pilot needs for business class planes, as well as a 24/7 call center that handles telemedical calls from business class planes. Three of its four divisions cater to business aviation needs, while a fourth, Majestic Aerotech, largely is known for medical kits it assembles, sells and repairs for commercial airlines.

About 25 people work for Aircare Solutions, Hamilton said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog

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