Conair Expands Pilot Training Capability

Simulator Platform Grows with Three Additional Flight Training Devices

ABBOTSFORD, CANADA (March 17, 2023) – Conair Group Inc. is pleased to announce the integration of three additional Flight Training Devices (FTDs) into its Mission Training System (MTS) platform, used to train aerial firefighting pilots in a simulated environment. The addition completes the network of six devices which allow pilots the ability to train over the same wildfire at the same time, practicing in coordination to produce more effective, and safer, missions.

“The addition includes two AT802 FTDs, both wheeled and amphibious float versions, plus one C208 bird dog or lead plane,” shares Mike Benson, Director of Business Development with Conair. “We can now offer our pilots training for the majority of our aircraft types. Each FTD is an exact replica of our fleet cockpits.”

“The aerial response to wildfires is complex. Often there are multiple aircraft over a fire, challenged by smoke, turbulence, terrain, and heat. Training together in an environment that mimics that real life, including complex radio communications, is beneficial for our crews, not just new pilots, but those with years of experience” says Mark Baird, Simulator Program Manager. “It means when they step into the field on deployment day, they are ready to execute, and not still getting their legs under them. We can offer hours of additional training to our pilots, plus we can practice maneuvers and emergency exercises in a safe environment, something you can’t practice during on-wing training. We can use the simulators to train more pilots faster, keeping up with the rising demand for aerial firefighting aircraft.”

“Another benefit to the MTS is our ability to partner with our government agency customers, helping to train Air Attack Officers who strategize the aerial response and coordinate tactics over the fire” continues Mike. “The ability to train and practice before a fire season starts offers incredible benefits. Ground school is put into practice before the first challenging wildfire of the season emerges. Such highly realistic training helps ensure aerial firefighters are current and ready to respond effectively the moment there is a need.”

First envisioned in 2017, the MTS is the only one in the world of its kind and made possible using Conair’s experience in aerial firefighting along with Presagis’ simulation knowledge, technology and expertise. In 2021 Conair completed the MTS as proof of concept, linking three FTDs locally. Conair leveraged lessons learned from the platform and launched an expanded MTS program in 2022, incorporating two large airtankers (Dash 8-400AT and RJ85) with a TC690 bird dog. Building off that success, these final three FTDs were installed earlier this spring and are in full operation prior to deployment for the 2023 fire season.

The platform features sophisticated software designed by Presagis, offering extremely high-resolution graphics with a 200 degree by 45 degree field of view. Pilots are able to see and hear each other during the simulation, with fire behavior reacting to drops, taking into account humidity, weather, fuel type, and terrain, producing visually accurate representations, including smoke.

“We are extremely proud of what Presagis has been able to contribute and accomplished in this project. The MTS built for Conair showcases the latest technology in modelling and simulation and provides Conair with a state-of-the art and leading-edge simulation environment to train aerial firefighting pilots” said Jean-Michel Briere, Presagis’ President. “The immersive experience the simulators provide is powered by Presagis software which brings the most realistic feel to the mission for effective training,” Briere added.

“The military uses the term ‘Train like you fight, fight like you train’. We live this. Our crew’s safety is paramount” concludes Mark.

The Mission Training System within Conair’s Training + Tactic Centre is currently available for pilots at Conair and Aero-Flite, in addition to partner government wildfire management staff. There are plans to expand the program globally in the future.

About Conair Group Inc.

Conair is a world leader in specialty aircraft operations, delivering a comprehensive range of purpose- engineered, aerial firefighting, multi-role aircraft and services globally. With over 70 aircraft, Conair operates the largest, privately owned, dedicated fleet of fixed wing firefighting aircraft in the world. Founded in Canada 54 years ago, Conair’s operations are global, supporting missions in North America, Europe, Australia and beyond. Conair has modified more than 180 individual aircraft across 15 aircraft types for conversion to aerial firefighting. Conair’s engineering team has developed a number of proprietary aerial firefighting products and the company holds hundreds of Supplemental Type Certificates. Conair can provide aircraft for purchase, lease or under contract and offers specialized services including aeronautical engineering design, flight operations and aircraft maintenance related to emergency response missions. Learn more at

About Presagis

Presagis is a global leader providing commercial modeling, simulation and embedded software solutions to the aerospace, defense, security, and critical infrastructure markets. Presagis combines an open simulation

development framework with expert professional services to help customers build vast dynamic virtual environments, deliver game-quality immersive simulations – all the while streamlining workflows and reducing risks. Presagis is also at the forefront of avionics software design for certifiable cockpit displays, and, together with its modeling and simulation offerings, serves hundreds of customers worldwide, including many of the world’s most respected organizations such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, BAE

Systems, and CAE. Learn more at

AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Staff
AerialFire Magazine strives to provide you with breaking aerial firefighting industry news and information.

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