Since 9/11 the flight deck of a commercial aircraft has been a no go area for the public, but Flyajet has opened the cockpit door and allowed the layman not just a glimpse of the aircraft’s controls, but the chance to sit in the driver’s seat and, with the help of an experienced pilot as a co-pilot/instructor, experience just what it is like to fly a large jet aircraft.
The simulator emulates the Boeing 737-800 aircraft and has the “glass cockpit” of flat LCD screens instead of conventional instruments. It is fixed base but has realistic sound and seat vibration, and the outside visuals are projected onto a 180° curved screen surrounding the windscreen and side windows, giving an amazingly realistic visual effect.
On arrival I was greeted by my instructor/co-pilot, Roy, and given a quick overview of aircraft controls and what they do, then it was into the simulator. This is somewhat larger than an actual flight deck and has extra seating with an instructor’s desk and an observer’s seat – four seats in all, but the panels were realistic, with backlit illuminated labelling. With Roy’s help I started up, taxied out to the runway, and took off.
Now the difficult bit – landing. My first attempt missed the runway altogether and ended up on the grass. But not a problem to Roy or the simulator, have another go.
Two more gos and I was able to get down onto the runway.
The session finished with taxi in and shutdown.
All in all a very interesting and worthwhile experience, and I just had to go back for more. This time we went to Hong Kong Kai Tak airport, one of the more challenging airports in the simulator’s database.
For the aviation enthusiast or anyone else interested in aviation and aircraft operation this experience is highly recommended, but needs to be taken seriously. The simulator is no toy – and the fees reflect this. While it perhaps might be fudged a little bit on account of post 9/11 considerations, it has approval from the Civil Aviation Authority for facets of commercial pilot training, and there are specific training modules offered in this respect, including an airline interview preparation session. While it is used for facets of pilot training, sessions for members of the public are designed to inform rather than instruct. A session on this simulator offers one a challenging, interesting, and worthwhile experience with a difference.
For someone with a fear of flying or frightened of aircraft, this is an opportunity to see and experience what is involved with aircraft operation, and perhaps conquer one’s fear, in a safe and non-threatening situation. The simulator is located in a neutral downtown environment well away from any aircraft or airport.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.