BA flight simulators worth it?

Old Jan 17, 17, 6:11 am
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BA flight simulators worth it?

I'm curious to hear people's experiences with the BA flight simulators? I bought a voucher on Christmas Eve when there was the 20% discount on offer, but have been toying with the idea of cancelling it (for the 10 fee) as even with the discount I don't know if I can justify spending 320 for a 1-hr activity.

One thing I'm not sure about is how worth it one hour will be or, as everything will be so new to me, will it just fly by (no pun intended!) and feel like I haven't gained much from the experience overall?

Also, just how authentic does it feel? A friend suggested a more worthwhile enterprise, if I want to get a sense of flying, would be to take a real flying lesson in a Cessna, but surely flying a Cessna is a completely different experience to being at the controls of a huge passenger jet (albeit a simulated version of one, but something I would otherwise never get the chance to experience)?

Both positive and negative thoughts/opinions would be really appreciated!
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:20 am
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I think it looks fantastic! Have a look at KARFA's visits

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...er-2015-a.html

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/briti...er-2016-a.html
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:24 am
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Thanks for these links. I've no doubt I would enjoy it, but at 320 (discounted!) it's a bit hard to stomach.

Another question I should have asked is "what is the likelihood of getting a better deal if I wait?" I'm not in a rush... and I saw that at some point in the past BA offered a 50% discount. Have BA been known to offer this sort of discount more recently?
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:32 am
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It is as real as it gets without actually flying a plane. You are right, 320 is a fair amount of money but as noted in the thread, this is a very good price for an hour in a full motion simulator in the UK. You won't get a full motion simulator cheaper anywhere.

You should just concentrate on the flying bit in the hour, so do a few take-offs and landings under different conditions. The time will certainly feel like it goes fast. It can be a bit overwhelming, but really you only need to concentrate on a few instruments and your pilot instructor will take a lot of the workload to make it easier for you.

I have also done the one hour trial flights in a cessna/PA28 and they aren't really comparable. If I were you I would do both. Trial flights can be as little as 120 an hour depending where you are.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:33 am
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
Another question I should have asked is "what is the likelihood of getting a better deal if I wait?" I'm not in a rush... and I saw that at some point in the past BA offered a 50% discount. Have BA been known to offer this sort of discount more recently?
Close to zero. The 20% discount is the only discount I have seen offered in the last 4-5 years. BA do not have a problem filling their simulators and really don't have much incentive to offer them to the public at full price never mind at a discount.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:44 am
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I haven't been in the simulator but I do know people that have and say they enjoyed it.

That said, I had a one to one lesson in a light aircraft as a birthday gift and I'm sure it was a lot less than 320. I had a terrific experience, really learned a lot and would thoroughly recommend. I can't imagine a simulator would be more fun for just the experience of flying. If you are only really interested in the workings of a 747, then maybe...
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
Also, just how authentic does it feel? A friend suggested a more worthwhile enterprise, if I want to get a sense of flying, would be to take a real flying lesson in a Cessna, but surely flying a Cessna is a completely different experience to being at the controls of a huge passenger jet (albeit a simulated version of one, but something I would otherwise never get the chance to experience)?
It is absolutely correct that flying a light aircraft is a very different experience. If you're interested in what it looks and feels like to fly a large airliner, there is no substitute for doing the sim experience (given that it's almost certain that you won't ever get to fly a real large airliner!).

I imagine that unless you actually have some experience of flying a real large airliner, it's very difficult to know quite how authentic the sim is. However, my personal experience has been very satisfactory: doing reasonably normal things in the sim has looked and felt much like my passenger experience would lead me to expect, and I've also had to cope with handling features which I'd hear a little bit about in theory but which are different and quite surprising in reality (eg the strength of the pitch/power coupling on a 747). I don't know how much the BA sims are dumbed down for us, but for realism they have been in a different league from what's on offer at the Emirates Aviation Experience in North Greenwich.

However, don't expect the "outside world" to look like real life. The visuals are good enough for you to get your head into the correct frame of mind for trying to "fly" the aircraft properly, as fits the machines' purpose, but they aren't intended to provide entertainment. I know some people who've been slightly disappointed by this.

Personally, I would highly recommend it. 320 for the hour isn't a steal, but any discount at all is relatively rare.

Context: Over my lifetime so far, I've done something like 7 or 8 hours in these sims, and a little less than that in real light aircraft.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:55 am
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I flew an Boeing 707 (E-3D) Sentry at work last week. First time for me... wow! It was incredible I was in there for over 2 hours and pulled of a very good landing! Although it was free for me, I would pay 320 to do it again, it's an incredible experience.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:07 am
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Have you thought about the Emirates non-moving simulator at the O2?
http://www.aviation-experience.com/flight-simulators/

signol
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:09 am
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Originally Posted by signol View Post
Have you thought about the Emirates non-moving simulator at the O2?
http://www.aviation-experience.com/flight-simulators/

signol
No, I haven't really given this any thought as my gut reaction when looking into simulator options has always been "if it's not full motion, it's not worth it". But for the price difference, maybe I should give this some serious thought? Have you done it? How did it feel?
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
I don't know how much the BA sims are dumbed down for us...
I don't believe they are. I think the way it is set up is exactly the same for the public as it is for the pilots doing training.


Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
...but for realism they have been in a different league from what's on offer at the Emirates Aviation Experience in North Greenwich.
Originally Posted by signol View Post
Have you thought about the Emirates non-moving simulator at the O2?
http://www.aviation-experience.com/flight-simulators/
I have done the Emirates simulators at the O2 a few times. They are completely at the other end of the scale from a full motion simulator - tbh I think they are overpriced for what they are. They are very much at the "fun" end of simulators. The only things that work on the cockpit are the throttle (inc. reverses), 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 bit more 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.

In terms of levels of simulator I would say there are:
.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:15 am
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
No, I haven't really given this any thought as my gut reaction when looking into simulator options has always been "if it's not full motion, it's not worth it". But for the price difference, maybe I should give this some serious thought? Have you done it? How did it feel?
I haven't done it yet, though I certainly would like to!

signol
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
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What's the deal with "Flight Simulators Midlands" (based at Coventry, I believe)? They talk of their simulators being "real motion", but it looks like they have just taken a real cockpit and mounted it on some contraption that allows it to tilt backwards and forwards... ??
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:25 am
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Originally Posted by trf0412 View Post
What's the deal with "Flight Simulators Midlands" (based at Coventry, I believe)? They talk of their simulators being "real motion", but it looks like they have just taken a real cockpit and mounted it on some contraption that allows it to tilt backwards and forwards... ??
Don't go there, that's my advice. They are not true full motion.

Honestly if you want a cheaper option go for VA, or virtual aviation in Cambridge. Get a 2 hour session at a fixed base, should be no more than 200.

ipilot in London are ok, but last time I went I wasn't impressed with the graphics or the simulator. I won't be going back to ipilot again.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 7:27 am
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In a word - YES
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