Alberta air ambulance paramedics are now able to perfect their trade without leaving the ground.

On Thursday, Alberta Health Services unveiled a Canadian first — a mobile air ambulance simulator that will be used for training medics.

The 12-metre simulation trailer, developed in-house by Alberta Health Services and partners, allows hands-on medical simulations to be run in the fuselage of a King Air 200 aircraft. Because the fuselage, donated by Lakeland College, is on hydraulics, takeoffs and landings are simulated for medics. Before, they could only experience arrivals and departures in the air.

Brent Thorkelson said the biggest challenge for AHS was that it was unchartered territory.

“I’ve designed and built three ground simulators,” said the Emergency Medical Services staff development officer and project lead. “I’ve done nothing like this.”

The $739,000 mobile simulator went from conception to reality in approximately 13 months and was funded by a Government of Alberta grant. Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said the government is proud to support the innovative new approach to training.

“This new EMS flight simulator will give air ambulance paramedics critical hands-on experience in providing emergency patient care in an aircraft,” she said. “Because this simulator is designed to travel, this true-to-life training experience will be available to paramedics right across the province.”

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