Ben is about to test his flying skills in the littlest and slowest plane of all time!
Moorabbin Flying Services is a flying school based at Morrabbin Airport. In conjunction with Australian Flight Simulation they have launched the country's first affordable and easily accessible flight simulation courses for general aviation training.
AFS is an Australian-owned company with local and American staff. They design custom electronics and software to integrate with real aviation hardware and motion control technologies.
MFS inherited the $4 million flight simulator package from Village Roadshow. The machines had been used for fighter pilot video games but Andrew Johnson from MFS had a vision for developing them into something more practical.
While there are flight simulators in existence Qantas has one which costs around $2000 an hour there was nothing for the general public. It took two-and-a-half years, but MFS's simulator is now certified by CASA to use for flight training.
Five thousand dollars was spent on hardware and computers to get the GS-1 prototype up and running, in what became a labour of love aimed at recreational pilots rather than commercial pilots.
MFS's goal was to make flying accessible to a wider audience through advanced, low-cost simulation and provide a path for simulation enthusiasts to progress to real aviation.
MFS has six simulators. The GS-1's pod has a computer screen, multi-channel 200 watt sound system, hydraulic motion control and motion simulation, including landing/ touchdown impact, runway roll, braking, pitch, roll and heave and turbulence.
Some of the benefits of doing simulated flying before the real thing include lower insurance premiums for pilots and reduced wear-and-tear on aircraft. Less time is used taxiing or flying to destinations to practice manoeuvres and you learn how to cope with emergency situations not possible to replicate in real aircraft. Studies have shown pilots who receive regular training in simulators have far lower accident rates.
For users, first stop is a chat in the briefing room to talk about what will happen during the session and then it's off to the hangar to the simulator.
The simulator is suspended on a hydraulic arm that moves in response to what you are doing in the pod. You spend about an hour there and can control light and weather conditions and even create your own turbulence.