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FT BA Flight Simulator Outing to Heathrow [UK] – 7 October 2016

FT BA Flight Simulator Outing to Heathrow [UK] – 7 October 2016

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Old Aug 21, 16, 4:24 am   -   Wikipost
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I am looking to organise a session at the BAFT simulators at Heathrow. We have previously used the 747-400 simulators and they have the latest virtual systems on them apparently.

There may be some scope this year to try a different simulator. If some want to try a different aircraft we could potentially do a 767 or 777 simulator for those who want to try something else, and a 747 simulator. There is also the possibility of an airbus (not the A380 though) although this is a very different flying experience to the Boeings. This is just a suggestion, and it would be great to hear opinions. No one will be forced to fly on something they don’t want though, and I would imagine the 747 is the one most want to try.

Previous Trip Reports for the 747-400 Simulators
Cost
Each simulator holds 4 people and one instructor. The total cost of a 4 hour session in one simulator would be £1,700, and this would give around 55-60 minutes of time per person on the controls – although we would rotate during the session so this would be split in to a number of smaller time chunks. Please note that the prices on the BAFT website are quoted as £1,700 excluding VAT per simulator, but we have been offered them for a price of £1,700, including VAT.

As we are charged per simulator generally a group in multiples of 4 would be ideal, with cost per person being £425. If we only had three people for example we would still have to pay £1,700 so the cost per person increases to £567 per person, although we would each get a bit more time at the controls.

Last year we had a group of seven so had two simulators split in to a group of three (who paid a little more each) and a group of four.

Basically once we confirm numbers we can make a choice if we don't have a multiple of 4, although a multiple of 4 would be ideal.

Payment
Once the date is confirmed and booked each person would pay their share directly to BAFT, this is likely to be around August when payment is due. It would be non-refundable so if you don't show you would unfortunately not get your money back, but this stops those that do show all of a sudden having to cover any no-show's share. If you do commit and pay and find in a few months you can't make it one option may be to see if a friend, work colleague, or other FT'er can come and take your place and they can pay you directly for your share which you have already paid to BAFT.

I will ensure that we are absolutely not going to be in a situation on the day where I am asking those that have come along to dip in to their pockets to cover any additional cost. Sorry this seems a bit harsh, but I don't think anyone wants to turn up finding instead of £3,400 divided by 8 it is suddenly only divided by 6.

Dates & Times
Unfortunately weekends are not possible for a group booking, so the options are weekdays and the time slots available would be 0700-1100, 1100-1500, 1500-1900, or 1900-2300. My own preference would be a Friday and probably 1900-2300 as (coming from the regions) I would only need to take half a day off work and wouldn't have to worry about getting back for working the next day. For those in London or around the South East you could come in the evening and there would be no need for any holiday being used.

If we booked for a date within 3 months it would be difficult so choose what we wanted due to availability. However, beyond 3 months is much better and we should be able to book our choice of date & time. In order to do this we need to book by the end of May at the latest.

The possible dates are (updated to post #60):
  • Friday 23 September 1900-2300 - 12939, Airprox, AAtticus, csutter, Fitch, flatlander, fransknorge, GDOCP, Greenpen, KARFA, Kungpo, matthandy, NewBlue, PrimaVista - 14
  • Friday 30 September 1900-2300 - Airprox, AAtticus, BoeBus, Fitch, flatlander, GDOCP, Greenpen, headinclouds, KARFA, Kungpo, matthandy, NewBlue, PrimaVista - 13
  • Friday 7 October 1900-2300 - 12939, Airprox, AAtticus, BoeBus, csutter, FastTrak2Elite, danielbk, danielbk+1, flatlander, FlyboyStu, fransknorge, Greenpen, headinclouds, KARFA, Kungpo, matthandy, NewBlue, Toonfan - 17

See here for the groups for the five simulators.

Standby list - Soddon

Location
The simulators are all now at the new Engineering Base at Heathrow near Hatton Cross tube station - they used to be at Cranebank which is where we went in 2014, but they were moved last year and our 2015 visit was at the new facility. More details here.

As this is part of a secure area you would need a passport or other photo ID to enter.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 5:43 am
  #1  
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FT BA Flight Simulator Outing to Heathrow [UK] – 7 October 2016

I want to organise an FT outing to the flight simulators some time later this year. This will be a repeat of the outings I have previously organised in 2014 and 2015.

2015 visit - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...er-2015-a.html
2014 visit - http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...r-2014-uk.html

A bit of background on my own experience so far. I am very enthusiastic/geeky about flying, and I know a few others on here enjoy what happens in the cockpit as well as just being sat in the back enjoying the champagne.

I have one hour in a Cessna 172 which I did in 2013, and which you can read about here, and since then a few hours in various PA28 aircraft. I do plan to go for a PPL at some stage, but money and time needed mean it won’t be for at least a year or two yet.

I have also been for a couple of Emirates sim sessions at their Aviation Experience near the O2 arena in London. This is very much at the more fun end of simulators. The only things that work on the cockpit are the throttle (inc. reversers), yoke/side stick, rudders, foot brakes, and gear. The primary and navigation displays work but you can't adjust anything on them. They have recently upgraded them so the speedbrake lever and a flaps lever work as well. All the buttons shown are just graphics, there are no working buttons. So basically it does feel like a very sophisticated home simulator, kind of FSX but sat in a simplified cockpit. It is not equivalent to a full simulator, and there is no motion. However, if you accept these limitations it is actually very enjoyable.

I also went to Virtual Aerospace near Northampton in February 2014 on their 737 simulator. This is basically a fully workable fixed base cockpit with fsx graphics projected in front. More absorbing and real than the Emirates experience, but still not a full motion or fully wrap-around graphics.

I have also previously gone to the 737 iPILOT simulator near Edgware Road in London.

Finally over the 18 months I have been going fairly regularly to a fixed base 737-800 simulator near Rochdale. The simulator is this one Flightdeck Experience. As well as the cockpit the guy who owns it has built a cabin as well with 12 seats. You can see photos on the website. You actually get a simulated view from the windows as well. It makes it good for group outings and you can sit in the cabin for the time you are not flying in the cockpit.

I realise we have a wide spectrum of experience on these things, but hopefully it would work out.

Could everyone please post which of the three dates in the wiki they can and can't do please?

Rather than doing this as a poll, please just post any date preferences in the thread. Please only express an interest if you can make at least one of the dates listed in the wiki, and are prepared to meet your share of the cost. I realise this is not a cheap activity, but having done it twice now I can say that it is very much worth it. I expect we will settle on a specific date in the next month or so.

Last edited by KARFA; Apr 11, 16 at 9:00 am
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Old Apr 11, 16, 6:02 am
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If the finally chosen date is suitable, I'm definitely in. I wanted to go to the last one but wasn't really able to plan much at the time.

With enough notice I can try and make myself available on a variety of dates, but the best looking ones for me are: (in order of ease)

Sept: 24/25, or 17/18
Oct: 8, 1, 29/30
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Old Apr 11, 16, 6:29 am
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Originally Posted by Airprox View Post
If the finally chosen date is suitable, I'm definitely in. I wanted to go to the last one but wasn't really able to plan much at the time.

With enough notice I can try and make myself available on a variety of dates, but the best looking ones for me are: (in order of ease)

Sept: 24/25, or 17/18
Oct: 8, 1, 29/30
Hi Airprox. I am afraid the only dates & times on offer are the three Friday evenings listed towards the end of the wiki. BAFT isn't open for public bookings at weekend, and also there is a little bit of organiser's prerogative in the three dates offered as well.

I do realise that having to commit 3/4 months out is a real problem for some. Unfortunately because of the costs involved and the fact we need to confirm the booking three months out to guarantee our chosen date it is essential that folks can commit early. Sorry about that, it is not something I can change unfortunately.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 7:16 am
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I can do any of these dates, Friday 23 September, Friday 30 September, Friday 7 October.

I'm also willing to be part of a group of 3 in one simulator as last time, if a multiple of 4 is not possible.

Thanks for starting this off again, KARFA!
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Old Apr 11, 16, 8:08 am
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Can I pay you £425 to never go near one again

I hope you all enjoy the experience.^
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Old Apr 11, 16, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
Can I pay you £425 to never go near one again

I hope you all enjoy the experience.^
Absolutely. I will provide you with my bank details so you can do the transfer. I am more than willing to take money off anyone to pay for the privilege of not doing it
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Old Apr 11, 16, 8:33 am
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Would love the 747, but intrigued by the A32x sim too - would that be a special arrangement as I didn't think you could actually book those from BAFT?

Either way, I could actually make it this year for a change! Could do the 23rd or the 7th, and would be happy to split across either 3 or 4.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
Hi Airprox. I am afraid the only dates & times on offer are the three Friday evenings listed towards the end of the wiki. BAFT isn't open for public bookings at weekend, and also there is a little bit of organiser's prerogative in the three dates offered as well.
Ah, I didn't read the Wiki, I read your post which says:

"Rather than doing this as a poll, please just post any date preferences in the thread"

All 3 dates are good for me.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by csutter View Post
Would love the 747, but intrigued by the A32x sim too - would that be a special arrangement as I didn't think you could actually book those from BAFT?

Either way, I could actually make it this year for a change! Could do the 23rd or the 7th, and would be happy to split across either 3 or 4.
BA have 4 A32x sims but due to the shortage of S/H pilots they are being used around the clock from what I hear. Shame as it's the only sim I enjoy being in and it's been a year now...
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:24 am
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For hotel, I shall probably stay in the Hilton Garden Inn as it is a convenient walk from the sim building (if you didn't come last year and did previously, remember the sims have moved and are now inside the BAEC engineering area of the airport, not at the administrative/training centre Cranebank).

One gotcha with the hotel last year is that it dropped rates nearer the event, so people like me who booked a non-refundable rate well ahead could not take advantage of that. Unless a very good non-refundable rate comes up ahead of time, I'm going to book refundable this time and cross my fingers

Now, to research some interesting airport approaches to ask for.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:32 am
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Originally Posted by flatlander View Post
Now, to research some interesting airport approaches to ask for.
TFFJ, VA for RWY10 in an A320
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by Calum View Post
TFFJ, VA for RWY10 in an A320
I might prefer something you could land a 744 at. EGSC would be amusing

BA do fly there for maintenance occasionally so it's probably in the FMS.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by Airprox View Post
Ah, I didn't read the Wiki, I read your post which says:

"Rather than doing this as a poll, please just post any date preferences in the thread"

All 3 dates are good for me.
Thanks. Yes after you posted I had a look at the wording and I can see why it was a bit ambiguous. Have revised it now.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 10:07 am
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HGI near Hatton Cross is definitely the best placed hotel to stay at. It is a few minutes walk from the tube station, about 10 minutes walk to Vanguard House, and has parking for those driving. I have checked and for all three dates the rates are good, so £50-70 range which is what I would usually pay for that hotel.

On the aircraft, I mentioned something other than the 747 as for those who have been before it might be that they want to try something different and smaller. From what I have been told by others who have flown an Airbus I get the impression it can be a little boring to fly - I think Airbus do not encourage manual flying and as the vast majority of the evening will be off the autopilot the Boeings are usually much more enjoyable from that point of view. The A320 series simulators are not bookable for the public, but I have checked already and we may be able to get one.

I think if you have never done it before then I would certainly recommend the 747. Perhaps if you want something different we can go for a 767/777, or even an A320. The 757 simulators will be gone by the time we do this so that isn't an option.

In terms of approaches, anything we would like should be in the FMC. For smaller aircraft like the A320 ones like FNC, GIB, and INN are good. Further afield Toncontín (TGU) in Honduras is interesting.

Last edited by KARFA; Apr 11, 16 at 10:14 am
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Old Apr 11, 16, 10:41 am
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GIB might, in theory, be long enough for a 747. That could be interesting if it's in the sim database!

I would also be interested in a 777, though probably not in preference to the 747. Perhaps we can see what the general interest is for either?
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