It’s the opportunity of a lifetime! ..the chance to fly a Boeing 737.
The best gift ever - for you, or for a friend. You (or your friend) will be sitting up the front of the aircraft, beside an airline pilot (or instructor) and you’ll be ‘in command’ of the aircraft from take-off to landing. Depending on the time you buy (30; 45; 60 or 90mins) you could start the engines, pushback from the gate, taxi, take-off, fly and land.
It might be Wellington, Queenstown or any one of thousands of other airports and sectors. You’ll find out first-hand what actually happens up front of one of the most popular jet airliners, ever to take to the skies.
Flight Experience™ was an idea that started in a warehouse, in Sydenham, Christchurch, back in 2005. Mike Pero, Russell Hubber and Steve Clarke began by ‘reverse engineering’ the Pacific Blue 737-800s cockpits’. These aircraft would fly in to Christchurch, from Australia, often around midnight. The engineering team were granted access to the cockpits and each night, for weeks on end, they’d photograph and measure every square inch of the cockpit.
The next day they’d draw up the components and set about machining parts. At the same time the tech guys would be writing ‘code’ for the computers to replicate the software to drive the hardware and the hardware to drive the software. Add in a little magic from our colleagues around the world and we were able to create a piece of kit that ‘90% replicated’ the ‘look and feel’ of the real aircraft. Since then more than seventy simulators have made their way out of the factory, still based here in Christchurch, to locations around the world. The directors and shareholders have changed over the years but two of the originals are still ‘hands-on” – Russell and Sean.
Today, a number of airlines operate the same simulators as ‘lead-in’ devices to the full flight simulators (FFS). Typically airlines and airline training organisations operate the more expensive devices. When it comes to the Flight Experience simulators, there are a number of different levels of certification as options. A low-level device might start at around $500,000 and at the other extreme you can work up towards USD2.5m.
The FFS are more in the range of USD7m-10m. These FTDs (flight training devices) can be used as a ‘transitional tool’ for new airline pilots to carry out some of the procedural work that would otherwise be carried out in the FFS simulators, with hourly rates up to and beyond USD500!