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39 tonnes from Berlin to Zurich

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What does it take to move a flight simulator half way across Europe? Such an undertaking is a logistical challenge as this piece of aviation equipment weighs some 39 tonnes and measures seven metres long, six metres wide and five meters high. A Swiss Aviation Training team shows how it’s done.

Swiss Aviation Training (SAT), a wholly-owned SWISS subsidiary company, went the proverbial extra mile to transport the BAe 146 / AVRO RJ simulator from Berlin to Zurich. Ralf Kempa, simulator engineer at SAT and project head for this relocation, deployed a team of seven experts for the dismantling phase in Berlin, which took approximately two weeks to complete.

The 39-tonne simulator – consisting of 15 tonnes of AVRO simulator cockpit, 6 tonnes of “motion” undercarriage, about 1 tonne of visual systems and 17 tonnes of offboard aggregate (HPU, computer cabinets) – was dismantled, loaded on to five heavy-goods trucks and delivered to Zurich, a task that involved obtaining a special permit and accompaniment by police escort. Having arrived in Zurich, the simulator was then reassembled over a 21-day period. In the process, all hoses, seals and filters of the hydraulic system were replaced and its visual systems fitted with a new projectors and a Mylar foil, onto which the images are projected. In total, the move took almost four months.

“It’s a huge challenge in its own right to move a system that has been stripped right down to its individual component parts, reassemble it somewhere new and then resume training activities on it just two months later. But only the people actively involved in the transfer, or those who have worked on similar projects, really know just what this mission entails“, said Kempa.

Relocating the simulator to Zurich means that we can now offer simulator training for its entire fleet at its home base (previously, AVRO pilots had to travel to Berlin to do their training) and also market available capacity to outside customers.

SAT photographed the entire project and compiled a brief video that shows the impressive move in a matter of minutes. Enjoy!