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Sydney's Flight Experience Flight Simulator at Darling Harbour

The Flight Experience flight simulator is on Level 3 of the Harbourside Centre shopping arcade at Darling Harbour

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It is one of the ultimate boys' toys , a full-sized flight simulator of a 737-800 jet aircraft, where you can try your skills piloting the airliner to or from any of more than 2,000 of the world's best-known airports. And you even receive a DVD video recording of your adventure, with full bragging rights So you can take it home and play it back to impress your friends and family.

It's all the brainchild of Flight Experience Flight Simulator , who have these fantastic flight sims set up in Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Kuwait, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in Australia, and at Tauranga in New Zealand. And since we're based in Sydney, we went to check out the Flight Experience flight simulator at Darling Harbour, on the 3rd floor of the Harbourside Centre shopping mall.

I went there at the urging of my good friend Mike Parer, who is a qualified commercial pilot. We we're met and greeted by the manager, Justyn Griffin, who explained that while the flight sim is extremely realistic to fly in, but should only be considered entertainment. If you're a qualified pilot, you cannot record their simulated flying hours in your pilot's log book. But that doesn't stop it being a popular attraction for all kinds of people who are interested in aviation and would like to have some idea what it is like to sit in the Captain's seat on a commercial jet airliner.

Mike Parer receives a pre-flight briefing from Flight Experience manager, Justyn Griffin.

Mike was to "fly" the Simulator, while I sat at the back and took the photos. I did my best to stay clear of the video camera that was recording everything in the cockpit, but I did have to move around to get some of my shots as you will notice in the video! Anyway, Mike was led into the flight sim by one of the experienced pilots, Allyson Porter, who sat in the co-pilot's seat (on the right) and called him "Captain" as he sat into the captain's seat on the left. Flight Experience sits you down with one of their pilots, (they have several), since these people know the controls perfectly and can help guide you all the way, whether you've flown a real plane or used a flight sim before or not. It was good to have her guidance, because being in a full-sized mock-up flight simulator like this is totally different from using even the best-available flight sim software at home, even with a home joystick, pedal set and some flaps and throttle levers.

Since Mike had been familiar with the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, the one with the runway that extends out into the harbour, he said he'd like to try an landing on that. So Allyson had the computer set to start him off with a takeoff from the new Chep Lap Kok airport that is built on reclaimed land in the sea off Lantau Island, near Hong Kong. He took off from there, and flew to the old airport in Kowloon first for a touch and go , and then flew around and in again, over the rooftops of Kowloon City, for the famous checkerboard approach and a perfect landing (thanks to co-pilot Alyson's help) at Kai Tak airport.

Was it worth the money? You bet. Michael went home afterwards feeling like a dog with two tails to wag. He was quite ecstatic. And I was impressed as well, since I have flown in and out of both airports in times past. It looked very real to me.

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Posted in Traveling Post Date 12/23/2016