The training of Forward Air Controllers nowadays heaviliy depends on live training with real aircraft. But this is expensive and bad for the environment, as well as dependent on a number of variable factors, such as the limited availability of aircraft and weather conditions. At the same time Forward Air Controller trainees experience a gap when stepping from classroom training to live training.
TNO developed a solution for these problems: FACSIM, the Forward Air Controller Training Simulator. FACSIM has been used since 1997. So far, hundreds of trainees from the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States have used it to practice their skills. In 2001 FACSIM was installed at the Netherlands Air Ground Operations School (AGOS). FACSIM is an integral task trainer, so not a simple procedure trainer. The system is based on a simulated environment that enables the future Forward Air Controller to acquire and train skills. So that he will always be optimally prepared for his task, will show better results during his first testing in practice and will - when the push comes to the shove - perform effectively and full of self-confidence.
FACSIM's open architecture allows the adaptation of the system to the demands of the future. But actually FACSIM - featuring i.a. an unlimited view for the trainee (head-mounted display), almost unlimited simulation and scenario possibilities, replay of the training during debriefing, as well as the capability for coupling with other systems - already offers a vision of what the future of Forward Air Controller training is going to look like.