Tyndall adds a high-tech twist to ground transportation training

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tiffany Price
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Advanced driving simulators are utilized at several military bases across the Department of Defense, but the 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron is the first in the DoD to house two Doron 550 TruckPlus simulators.

Living up to the name Installation of the Future, Tyndall Air Force Base continues to take every opportunity to advance in technology and training so that the mission of projecting unrivaled combat airpower can be readily accomplished.

“This driving simulator is the most advanced, most diverse, and most realistic of any virtual training environment available to professional drivers,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Wiedmer, 325th LRS ground transportation section chief.

Wiedmer explained that the simulators will be used to offset and enhance a traditional 160-hour training platform for buses and tractor trailers. With two simulators, more Airmen can maintain their qualifications. The new drivers will maintain 16-32 training hours at a minimum and can practice on over 100 vehicle types with the simulator.

“This new simulator will definitely prove useful for Airmen like myself because it reduces a big stressor from training,” said Airman 1st Class Marycruz Vera Bedolla, 325th LRS ground transportation apprentice. “Trainees can now get the feel for heavy operating vehicles, such as a tractor trailer, without the risk of damaging government property.”

Vera is the first Airman within the 325th LRS ground transportation flight to begin her training with the simulators.

“This was not my first experience driving a simulator, I had driven one at tech school but nothing like the Doron,” Said Vera Bedolla. “I feel as though it is smoother and has a wider variety of scenarios that I can apply to my job.”

Before Tyndall acquired these simulators, they were only conducting real “stick time” driving, where an Airman would hop into the nearest vehicle with a supervisor and begin their real time qualification hours.

“This created several issues for us,” said Wiedmer. “An 18-19 year old Airman who has never operated anything larger than a standard sedan was being placed behind the wheel of a vehicle that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. It can be overwhelming for a young Airman and new drivers to get behind the wheel, particularly with traffic or pedestrians present.”

Wiedmer explained that the system is designed to allow a trainer to stress the driver by putting them into difficult situations without risking the safety of the operator, or damaging equipment.

The Doron 550 TruckPlus offers over 100 simulated exercise, including driving in different weather conditions like snow or heavy rain. The simulator can also challenge drivers with a wide variety of vehicle training from backing a tractor trailer into a warehouse to commercial driver’s license training.