Airservices builds fire training ground at Melbourne airport

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Airservices has started to build a new aviation fire-fighting training ground at Melbourne airport.

The 'hot fire' training facility, which will cost Australian dollars (A$) 11.5 million ($12.3 million), will be the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, said Airservices.

It will provide training for aviation fire fighters nationally, with more than 250 fire fighters expected to pass through the facility each year.

The centrepiece of the 15,000sq m (161,000sq ft) training ground will be a full-sized mock-up aircraft fuselage, replicating sections from Airbus A380, Boeing 767 and McDonnell Douglas DC10 aircraft. The mock-up, which will be 56m (184ft) long, 10m high and 29m wide, will be used to simulate real-world aviation fire-fighting and rescue scenarios.

Civil works on the site will be completed by Badge Constructions, while Drager Safety Pacific will install the aircraft simulator as well as associated fire control and safety systems.

The facility will be built over the next 12 months and is expected to be in service by early 2013.

It will be located next to the compound housing Airservices's existing air traffic service centre, a new technical services centre under construction and a A$17 million air traffic control tower that will be completed by the end of the year.