Have you ever wanted to experience aviation like Amelia Earhart, or Howard Hughes? Now you can fulfil your dream of becoming a pilot with Dream Aero, with the unveiling of the Boeing 737-800 flight simulator at Dubai Festival City.
One of the first flight simulators in Dubai, we took the flight to see what this experience entails.
The technology utilised in the contraption is a sight to behold. With mostly functional controls, weather and navigational radars and communication panels, 24,000 airports and cities can be displayed in the 210-degree projection to fulfil the aspect of simulation.
“For someone who hasn’t been in a 737-800 cockpit, this is your chance. It can be helpful for everybody, including aerophobics [those afraid of air travel],” said Mitesh Suru, the flight instructor and co-pilot for Dream Aero.
“We had a customer from Saudi Arabia who had aerophobia, and we demonstrated a rapid descent to treat him. A few weeks later, he took a flight from Saudi Arabia to Oman, and he reported that he now feels more comfortable with flying.”
Not just noteworthy to aerophobics, aviation enthusiasts can indulge in the experience as well, since the device is considered to be as close as it gets to the real deal.
“Our primary aim is to attract young people, especially those who dream of becoming a pilot.”
“One such case was an 18-year-old Russian woman who enrolled herself in a flight school after flying with us. This gives us a positive impact, and that’s what we aim for.”
With all the techspeak out of the way, let’s get right into the review.
What we liked
An arduous task such as flying a plane, even in a simulator, requires the support of a professional, and you get just that with a fleet of highly trained aviators at your service.
In our case, flight instructor Mitesh Suru was vastly equipped with the relevant expertise, which he exuded right from the commencement of the session. The introductory demonstration that lasted for 10 minutes extensively covered all the cogs in the machine, with interesting aviation anecdotes interspersed along the way.
In the session that follows, the instructor also indulges in fun challenges, which are not only entertaining but informative as well; for instance, the conditions an aviator faces when flying in the air, such as ‘spatial disorientation’ (not knowing which way the plane is oriented in the air, due to lack of friction).
A lot of technology is required to facilitate such a contraption, and the comprehensive coverage of a plethora of airports, cities, flight routes, coupled with the myriad of weather and time conditions, offers a multitude of experiences and challenges, all within one sitting, because, get this, these changes are rendered instantaneously, albeit with minor glitches.
Another aspect to consider with such technology is the services rendered by both, the hardware and the software. Since you are allowed to simultaneously play along with both during your experience, the responsiveness of the device is highly critical, and the simulator largely passes such tests.
What we didn’t like
As with all simulations, the complete reliance on various major and minor keys that are entailed in the technology result in a few imperfections that arise along the way.
During the simulator session, we did notice minor glitches in the rendering, particularly with video stitching in the corners of the ultra-wide projection frame. However, the rarity of such imperfections means that they could be regarded as anomalies.
Our entire experience of the simulator was also slightly marred by some delays in getting the process started, due to technical troubles with the entrance ramp while we were in the flight, as a result of the premature launch at the start of the day.
The experience can be fulfilling for aerophobics, and for aspiring aviators, even with prices that start at Dh450 for 15 minutes (Dh750 for 30 minutes), for up to three people.
— Sanjay Shankar is an intern at Gulf News.