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Sydney flight simulator

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Flight Experience fulfils the dreams of those who have always wanted to have a go at flying a plane. All you need to do to be pilot in command is visit Flight Experience in Sydney's Darling Harbour and see what your potential is without any previous flying experience.

You will be in a full-size replica cockpit of a Boeing 737-800 with your own flight instructor. The fixed base simulator has 180° graphics and is responsive to movement — similar to a video game.

This is the first time the Australian general public has had access to a full-size commercial jet simulator which has CAA certification. It is used by airlines for pilot evaluation and training.

A number of simulators operate in New Zealand and others will be open in Melbourne and Brisbane later this year. The owners want to take Flight Experience globally and to have one in every city!

When you arrive at check-in, your flight is listed on a departure board and you enter the simulator with your instructor.

You choose from a menu of domestic or international sectors, depending on the duration of your flight voucher — 30 minutes or one hour. The maps and charts used are the same as those used by commercial airlines, so it's all authentic.

The simulator operates in real time, so 30 minutes would be a scenic flight over Sydney. A one-hour flight would take you from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane, or from Auckland to Christchurch.

Hong Kong's old airport, Kai Tak, is rather spectacular as landing aircraft go perilously close to tall buildings before making a sharp 90° turn to land.

Once you've settled in, you do pre-flight checks. That involves switching on overhead panels, engines and injecting fuel into the engines. LCD screens show what's going on. You then learn how to use the steering wheel so you know how to manoeuvre the aircraft once in the air.

As you taxi you pass other aircraft, and it's all heart-thumpingly realistic. You're in touch with Air Traffic Control for clearance, pushback, taxi and take-off. Use the throttle, take the landing gear up and you're away.

Once in the sky you can switch to auto-pilot or stay with manual. You can pass on flight details and weather to cabin crew and then get ready for landing with the help of Air Traffic Control.


Flight Experience costs $235 for one hour or $145 for a 30-minute flight. A DVD recording of your flight is $15.

Virgin Blue has flights to Sydney.

One-way fares from;
  • Brisbane, $95
  • Melbourne, $110
  • Adelaide, $129
  • Darwin, $225
  • Perth, $229

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at June 28, 2007 and are subject to change.


Sydney's Darling Harbour.

For further information

Flight Experience
Level 3, Harbourside Shopping Centre
Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: 1800 737 800

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

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