It might be an odd thing to find on an outdoors loving girl’s bucket list, you’ll find a lot of strange things on my list if you take a look, but taking a proper flight simulator for a spin is one of those things I’ve always wanted to do. And lucky for me, there’s just the thing just down the road from me in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Inside the Boeing 737-800 Flight Simulator at Flight Deck Reality.
I went with three other members of my family for a three hour taster session in which we would each be able to take control of the Boeing 737 simulator at Flight Deck Reality.
I knew it was going to be a good looking and “proper” simulator because I’d been told about it by someone who had seen it, but it still made me gasp when Ian showed us into the cockpit ready for our experience. This isn’t a low-budget room with a computer and a few screens, oh no, this is a full replica of the inside of a Boeing 737 cockpit. Ian, the owner, has done an amazing job of making the experience look and feel real, including the latest high-tech real-life systems, controls and layout so that when you sit in pilot’s seat (that’s the one on the left…), it feels as real as possible.
Me at the helm, preparing to take off from Las Vegas.
We took it in turns to play pilot, trying our hand at take-off, some in-air manoeuvres, and landing. We didn’t have to worry about all the controls, thankfully, but were able to dial in the numbers, use the throttle, control the pitch, roll and yaw of the 737, and very much feel like we were flying. Those of us in our group who picked it up a little quicker were given additional duties in flight, and so you could eventually learn all of it, but to be honest I was more than happy with the limited responsibility I had!
Landing in Las Vegas at dusk.
Flying towards Lake Mead.
We were able to choose our flight locations for Ian to tap into the simulator, and so it was pretty cool to “visit” places we’ve been before and spot things we recognised.
During the course of the afternoon we flew from Innsbruck to Salzburg, which is a beautiful route over the Alps that most pilots never get to fly due to the additional qualifications required, Gibraltar to Malaga, around Las Vegas including down The Strip and over to Lake Mead, over our own home in Lincolnshire and landing at our most local airport, into St Martin, you know, that low over-the-beach landing you see all over social media, between old Hong Kong and new Hong Kong airports, considered one of the most dangerous airports in the world (now closed), and over New York. The New York flight was all about the Miracle on the Hudson, during which we listened to a recording of the pilot’s conversation with air traffic control, which was super interesting, if not a little bit scary!
LincsGeek flying over Manhattan, New York.
We learnt heaps about the plane itself too, our instructor Ian was absolutely full of information not only about piloting the plane and all the buttons and switches we had around us, but also more generally about aviation and related topics. It was an absolute joy to sit with him and learn from him, our three hours went very quickly as a result.
Flying over Hong Kong.
Ian and Flight Deck Reality come highly recommended after my experience there, it was a superb afternoon with exactly the right balance between serious flying instruction (albeit with a lot of assistance!) and informal but slightly geeky conversation about all things flying and travel.
For more information about the simulator and the experience packages available (including an interesting sounding “fear of flying” programme), check out the Flight Deck Reality website > http://flightdeck-reality.co.uk/
Coming into land at our most local airport.