Academy receives donation for radar simulator training

Published 10:10 am Friday, July 3, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Inland Waterways Academy at MCTC has received a donation from American Electric Power River Transportation Division. The donation is earmarked to purchase an enhanced radar simulator training system now required by the U.S. Coast Guard. American Electric Power’s donation has been matched by a grant from the state of West Virginia.

“This is an exciting and necessary opportunity for our students in the Radar Observer and Radar Observer Recertification program,” said Captain John Whiteley, director of the Inland Waterways Academy at MCTC. “The technology is the newest and most realistic. Instructors can vary conditions, such as weather and traffic, and have students interact with each other, resulting in a greater understanding of and reliance on the radar equipment,” Whiteley added.

The radar training system consists of four student seats and one instructor station. Each student station includes two 20″ computer screens, one showing a real world view (looking out the window of the pilot house) and the other showing the same view on a radar screen.

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The instructor has the ability to change the outside visibility (snow, rain, fog, etc.) and force the student to rely more and more on the radar, while learning at his or her pace.

The instructor also can add target vessels to teach collision avoidance skills and even have students interact with each other to hone communication skills and avoid collisions.

MCTC’s Inland Waterways Academy received another perk to its program from Transus USA, one of the nation’s largest marine simulation companies. Transus USA is lending the academy its demonstration wheelhouse simulator.

The simulator presents an accurate simulation of a ship’s console, with a maneuvering station, radar, and an electronic chart system. Students learn to read radar while viewing the outside world displayed on three large flat screens, with instructors having the ability to change weather and visibility, as well as to simulate emergency situations.

“We are proud to partner with American Electric Power and Transus USA to further strengthen our Inland Waterways programs,” said Keith J. Cotroneo, MCTC President. “This new technology allows us to prepare our students to deal with real-life situations and enter the workforce with the most modern and advanced skill base,” Cotroneo added.

For more information on the Radar Observer program or the Inland Waterways Academy, contact John Whiteley by phone 304-696-5616 or email