I simply love travelling and anything to do with augmented or virtual reality, and lucky me got to try out the closest thing to having both of them rolled into one: A flight simulator by Flight Experience Singapore.
Situated at the Singapore Flyer, this immersive experience takes place in a replica cockpit of a Boeing 737NG, realistic down to the last tiny switch on the dashboard.
In case you were wondering, Flight Experience’s high-tech simulators are also used by actual pilots-in-training, so you can count on this being as close to the real thing as it gets.
Your flight starts with a quick briefing video which includes explanations on some of the most basic and important controls you’ll need to handle once you’re in the pilot’s seat. After that, you’ll enter the cockpit with screens overlooking a virtual runway.
After settling down into the left seat, you’ll get to put on the headphones which pilots use to communicate via radio and, if you’re up for it, you can even don one of the swell peak caps available and feel like an official aircraft captain.
Flight Experiences’s $1,000,000 simulator is programmed with more than 20,000 airports from around the world to choose from.
Depending on the flight package that you choose, you can takeoff and land at a few places, including the now closed Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong, infamous for its dangerous takeoff and landing conditions.
Looking around, you’ll notice that there’re controls for almost anything in the plane, located even above you! At first glance, it looked like a daunting task to take on and I was quite nervous amidst all the excitement.
Luckily, my instructor, Jonathan, was with me each step of the way from takeoff to landing; you won’t have to worry about a thing as all the trainers here are pilots themselves so you can bet they know the controls like the back of their hands.
A lot of things on the plane are built around safety, safety and more safety, as I found out during my visit. It’ll be reassuring to remember such features exist on flights the next time I go on holiday.
Between manual piloting and auto piloting, I went with the easier option but if you’re up for a fun challenge, you can choose to fly manually, giving you a chance to dabble with more controls of the plane.
The view outside is produced by multiple projectors on a screen, creating one seamless virtual environment which will correspond to how you make the aircraft move. The system can even manipulate the most minute details, from mimicking temperate seasons to altering the amount of clouds in the sky.
At some point during the flight, I had asked what would happen if one of the two engines gave out. It turns out that the plane would still be able to meet its bare minimum survival needs and then I got to try out handling the plane on one engine!
That was way better than a smooth, uneventful journey, if you ask me.
I enjoyed myself a lot and asked questions about lots of stuff, from oxygen masks to procedures in hijacking situations (what can I say, I was curious!), all of which were answered by my friendly instructor.
The best part was, because the controls were all there, I could actually see what a pilot should do in such scenarios instead of just getting a verbal answer that I’d otherwise forget easily.
The flight simulator is a great place for an unusual afternoon, or if you’re interested in joining the aviation industry yourself one day. Prices start from $175 for adults while children aged 15 and below can go for the Junior Jet Club session which includes some additional souvenirs and is priced at $88.
Hurry and sign up for your own journey through the skies today!
Prices: From $175 (adults), from $88 (children)
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