Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming six statewide agencies representing airport fire and first responder operations, military personnel, and fire departments to the Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Center as the first group of trainees to use this new facility. In partnership with the Appleton International Airport (ATW), the ARFF Center will serve regional, national, and international markets.
Supported by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the training facility sets the stage for rather intense emergency response drills thanks to a number of real-life aircraft settings and props. These include the only Boeing 777 simulated aircraft fire trainer in the United States, as well as a state-of-the-art wet/fire deck with nearly 100 individual fire zones to simulate a variety of aircraft firefighting situations, and more.
In addition to the FAA and ATW, this project required the support and collaboration of several other organizations, including the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics, as well as Oshkosh Corporation and their Oshkosh Airport Products division. All of us are delighted to provide yet another staple attraction in the region as a means to draw visitors from essentially around the world. This latest ARFF facility is in elite company—it’s one of only a handful in the United States.
Given the pandemic conditions, we look forward to celebrating with a more formal grand opening of the ARFF Center sometime soon, perhaps this fall, if possible.