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SEMET Aviation

SEMET Aviation

SEMET Aviation Logo

Located on a thriving general aviation airport just to the south west of London, SEMET Aviation offers a friendly yet professional training and experience simulator venue staffed exclusively by airline pilots.

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SEMET Aviation is a new simulation venue having only commenced operations in February 2021.  They are co-located with their sister company, Airline Experience, at Fairoaks Airport in Surrey, which has a busy general aviation scene and hosts the very popular Hangar Café as well as a host of other aviation businesses.  We received a friendly welcome from the SEMET Aviation owners who kindly spent much time explaining their simulator and business plans to us along with some interesting future projects.

What is good

What's not so good

The Simulators

The simulator has a single seat and represents a generic light aircraft with multiple configuration options.  It can simulate a fixed gear, fixed pitch single engine piston aircraft such as a Piper Warrior, a ‘complex single’ with retractable gear and variable pitch propellor and also a complex multi-engine aircraft such as a Beechcraft Baron.  With these aircraft types in mind, we feel the single seat set up is both realistic and appropriate as these aircraft are typically flown by one pilot.  The instructor station is located behind and to the right of the pilot position and allows a good instructional environment with space to share manuals, charts and experience between them.  The pilot seat was comfy and adjustable, but didn’t have a harness as found in other similar simulators.

Out of the cockpit windows is a 180 degree wrap around 1080p HD projected visual system which has ever so slight patches of overlap, but no blank spots or dark areas.  Our instructor for the session pointed out to us that while it is possible to simulate flying visually in any location around the world, 90% of the time the simulator is in IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) using the worldwide database of airways and navigation aids.  The simulator has special scenery installed for Innsbruck in Austria and also the whole of the UK, with particular mention going to their home base (Fairoaks) where even the construction cranes on the horizon have been modelled!  Weather and air/ground traffic is simulated and while the majority of the time the simulation was smooth, we did experience a couple of visual ‘jerks’ as the computers kept up with the complex scenery generation.

The flight controls are off the shelf simulation products and as such have a slightly artificial feel to them.  However, we didn’t feel this detracted from the simulation at all and considering the variety of types simulated it wouldn’t be possible to cater for such a requirement.  The electric yoke mounted trim was realistic as was the appearance and feel of the materials, but we found the rudder pedals a little challenging with directional control on the ground.  The engine sounds were realistic and set at a level that would be appropriate for inside the aircraft.  We didn’t see an intercom facility, but ambient and system noises were present and realistic.

The instrument panel can be configured in a variety of manners to replicate the traditional instrument layout found on both VMC and IMC rated light aircraft.  We were disappointed to see that a glass cockpit option wasn’t available as this represents a growing number of modern GA aircraft, but we understand this is a new simulator and it is on the owners’ development wish list along with partial panel configurations to simulate instrument failure or degradation.  On the subject of failures, when turning onto final approach during our test flight, the cockpit began filling with smoke reducing the pilot’s visibility and further adding to the urgency of landing the simulator.  Far from being a real emergency, this is a neat feature SEMET Aviation have added to their simulator’s list of capabilities and while some may consider it ‘a little gimmicky’, we think a smoke generator adds another element of realism when training in non-normal situations.

Of particular note is the simulator’s connectivity – this is something we like to see in an increasingly ‘linked’ simulation world.  The simulator can be operated with real-time, real-world weather and can also tap into the virtual online air traffic network, VATSIM, incorporating other air traffic piloted in simulators from around the globe.  Our favourite feature of the simulator is the integration with popular GA products such as SkyDemon (popular in Europe) and Foreflight (more prevalent in the USA).  By using a tablet mounted to the right of the pilot, real world flight data can be presented as it would in the actual aircraft giving access to simulator ‘location’, flight measurements/parameters and also instrument procedure charts/manuals.  Particularly impressive is how all of the above can be combined to present the VATSIM traffic on the SkyDemon display as aircraft targets – just as it would in the actual aircraft.  Whilst a realistic and very fancy capability, the training potential this provides is immense, whether it be tactical flying in congested airspace, dealing with traffic avoidance or simply adding a spoiler to increase pilot workload at an inappropriate time!

The Venue

We make no secret of the fact that, at Simulator Review, we are huge fans of airport locations and in our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this – especially for a GA simulation venue. Fairoaks Airport is a busy general aviation airfield with both flying instruction and private/VIP fixed and rotary wing operations.It is located approximately 5 minutes from the M25 to the South West of London in Surrey and the airport is well signposted – as is the venue. It’s worth noting that the west entrance to the airport provides simpler access to SEMET Aviation and this entrance can be found a hundred metres or so on from the main airport entrance.  Parking is plentiful and access to the building is via a few steps.

Inside is well appointed with a couple of desks for briefings, plenty of seating and large leather sofas.  The session will begin here by the large TV displaying pertinent weather and flight information before moving into the simulation room.  Seating is also plentiful in the simulator room, with more than enough room for family/friends to accompany the pilot, or multiple students to benefit from the training sessions.  NB:  This is currently limited due to the social distancing restrictions the venue is obliged to follow.

Complimentary refreshments are offered, but we’d highly recommend the popular Hangar Café just a short walk across the airfield (umbrella required on a rainy day!) where a mean sausage, bacon and egg baguette and a flat white can be purchased and consumed for only a few pounds.  The Hangar café offers great close-up views across the apron and is often busy with pilots, students, families and enthusiasts soaking up the aviation atmosphere.

When considering customers with special needs or reduced mobility, the business owners acknowledge that not having a ramp or lift and being situated up a series of steps does pose a challenge.  They are very happy to chat in advance or even host a pre-visit to assess any requirements.  Once inside, the rest of the venue is mostly accessible, but the simulator has a shallow step up and access to toilet facilities is down a series of steps.  SEMET Aviation was very keen for the situation not to deter any customers, and they would do all they can to assist and arrange any help required to accommodate everyone.

Bookings can be completed on the website or over the phone, and the venue is manned most of the time by one of the owners.  Both experiences and training details can be booked, with experiences requiring booking through sister company Airline Experience.  Offers are often available and this can be found through the Fairoaks Flight Simulators website. The simulator can also be privately hired by pilots and instructors for practise and tuition. Half an hour is planned between sessions to allow the simulator to be fully cleansed and also add a bit of buffer for when sessions over run.  The venue is keen to point out that there is little clock watching and should the opportunity to slightly extend the session arise then they happily/usually do this – getting something from the session and enjoyment are their top priorities.

As we’ve said previously, the majority of SEMET Aviation’s custom is training based and as such they’ve seen an opportunity to offer some bespoke training courses using their simulator.  Worth mentioning are technical courses such as exploring the full SkyDemon/Foreflight range of capabilities or use of the Garmin GPS systems and also more ‘soft skill’ courses such as SRM (single pilot resource management) where the instructors will apply their real-world airline experience to offer tips and advice on decision making, leadership, human factors and general airmanship.

The Staff and Business

Even though the venue was very busy and operating with a full schedule, the owners made us feel very welcome and booked us a considerable amount of time in their simulator.  We met most of their team and we’re hosted by one of their top airline pilot instructors, who also happened to be an examiner and instructor on Airbus A320 airliners for a large UK airline.  The business really wants to be viewed as a friendly and approachable venue and wishes to really foster the aviation community spirit.  They want customers, friends of the business and enthusiasts to drop in, have a coffee and chat and there’s usually an airline pilot or two about – we all know they love nothing more than to chat about aeroplanes!

SEMET also offer a limited number of work experience placements as part of their desire to give back to the local community and a relationship with Aerobility is being established to offer the charity some valuable time in their simulator.  We like to see community and charitable commitments as it is a good indicator as to the nature of the business and its owners.

Summary

Located on a thriving general aviation airport just to the south west of London, SEMET Aviation offers a friendly yet professional training and experience venue staffed exclusively by airline pilots.  Being such a busy venue is a testament to the owners and how the simulator has been pitched and we are confident as to the value it provides our fellow aviators and aspiring pilots.

Review by Elliott and Alexis, May 2021

Get in touch with SEMET Aviation

Location
Unit B1H, Fairoaks Airport, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8HU, UK
Categories
Flight Simulator

Chesimair

Chesimair

Chesimair Logo
This simulator has yet to be visited by our team and reviewed. If you would like to join our team to review this site or would like to request a visit by one of our reviewers please get in touch with us on our Contact Us page.

The Simulators

A fixed base PA28 Warrior III flight simulator.

The Venue

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

The Staff and Business

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Summary

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Get in touch with Chesimair

Location
Sleap Airfield, Harmer Hill, Shrewsbury. SY4 3HE
Contact them on

Website : chesimair.com

Categories
Flight Simulator

TrueFlight Simulation

TrueFlight Simulation

TrueFlight Simulation
This simulator has yet to be visited by our team and reviewed. If you would like to join our team to review this site or would like to request a visit by one of our reviewers please get in touch with us on our Contact Us page.

The Simulators

A Boeing B737NG fixed base flight simulator.

The Venue

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

The Staff and Business

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Summary

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Get in touch with TrueFlight Simulation

Location
The Granary, Water Lane FarmAlbury, GuildfordGU5 9BD
Categories
Flight Simulator

simFlight

simFlight

fly.simflight.de logo
This simulator has yet to be visited by our team and reviewed. If you would like to join our team to review this site or would like to request a visit by one of our reviewers please get in touch with us on our Contact Us page.

The Simulators

A Boeing B737NG fixed base flight simulator.

The Venue

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

The Staff and Business

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Summary

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Get in touch with simFlight

Location

Werner-Von-Siemens-Str. 28, 24568 Kaltenkirchen, Germany

Contact them on

Website : fly.simflight.de

Categories
Flight Simulator

LTV Simuladores

LTV Simuladores

LTV Simuladores
This simulator has yet to be visited by our team and reviewed. If you would like to join our team to review this site or would like to request a visit by one of our reviewers please get in touch with us on our Contact Us page.

The Simulators

A Boeing B737NG fixed base flight simulator.

The Venue

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

The Staff and Business

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Summary

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Get in touch with LTV Simuladores

Location
Área Especial – Sem Número – Lote L4.25 – Parte B – Lago Sul – Brasília Lago Sul Aeroporto JK – Lago Sul, Brasília – DF
Contact them on
Categories
Blog Posts

Now on YouTube

Podcast Pic
Andrew

Andrew

Now on YouTube

Our website continues to grow, with improving visitor numbers and additions to the world wide database. We believe we have the world’s most comprehensive fixed base flight simulators data set. Elliott is regularly searching the web for new venues and as you can see we are adding one or two new sites to the collection each month.

In addition to our social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, where we will be improving how we interactive with our followers, this year we launched our fortnightly podcast series. Alexis tells me we have a slow but steady growing number of listeners, with last month seeing listeners now from six of the world’s seven continents. We have yet to register a download from Antartica. If you do find yourself heading down there or have someone you know, we would much appreciate a shout-out from “down-under”.

In conjunction with our podcast series we have now made it to YouTube. It’s taken almost a year, but we made it. We the great work Alexis does on the podcast we wanted to reach more people and YouTube, being the world’s second largest search-engine, provides a great platform. We hope this will attract a few more people to our site and help them in finding a flight simulator that meets their needs.

In addition, our Featured Venue reviews will soon be including video work – with that too being uploaded to YouTube and those links being provided on their Feature Venue page.

We’ll keep you posted on additions and changes to the website as they come along. If you have any comments or questions please drop a note note below, use our Contact Us page or you can reach us on any of the social media platforms.

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Categories
Flight Simulator

Ness Aviation

Ness Aviation

NessAviation Logo
This simulator has yet to be visited by our team and reviewed. If you would like to join our team to review this site or would like to request a visit by one of our reviewers please get in touch with us on our Contact Us page.

The Simulators

A Boeing B737NG fixed base flight simulator.

The Venue

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

The Staff and Business

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Summary

This simulator provider is yet to be reviewed by our team.

Get in touch with Ness Aviation

Location

Inverness, Ness Castle

Contact them on
Categories
Flight Simulator

Northsea Flight Simulation

Northsea Flight Simulation

We are pleased to welcome our first Green Pin membership addition from Belgium, Northsea Flight Simulation. We hope the additional information provided by Northsea will help you chose the best simulator for your needs. Like all of our Green Pin members we look forward to visiting Northsea Flight Simulation sometime in the future, moving their review to one of our Blue Pin Featured Venues.

The Simulators

Northsea offers a rare experience within the flight sim world with a full motion six degrees of freedom A320 flight simulator. Visuals are presented in full high definition with more than 220 degrees field of view.

Adding to the sense of realism is a tactile vibration system and an electric based loading of the flight controls. Unlike their Boeing rivals there is no need for spring-loaded or hydraulic control systems connecting the controls together.

The simulator has an internet connection, therefore providing you with VATSIM access. And with real-time weather available a more realistic flight experience can be gained. Moving from clear skies and calm winds to more challenging conditions will always help to further develop the virtual pilot’s skills.

The Venue

Northsea is based right next to Ostend–Bruges International Airport (IATA: OST, ICAO: EBOS). We do like these airport based venues as they provide that extra bit of realism for the flight sim enthusiasts. According to google maps it’s about a six minute drive from the airport to Northsea. Or with a little bit of walking and a bus ride, it’s about 15 minutes. However, if you are driving to the venue off-street parking is available.

If you are bringing along others with you then Northsea offers a unique opportunity in that their full-motion simulator can accommodate up to six people. It’s an excellent opportunity for others to see how it’s done (and of course learn from your “slips”).  In particular for the professional pilot, which is a significant part of Northsea’s business, being able to learn from others is a critical part of a pilot’s development.

The Staff and Business

Northsea offers a range of packages, from those wanting to buy a gift voucher for the the budding airline pilot in the family, business team building experiences, or professional pilot training. In particular for the professional pilot, training can be provided for maintaining proficiency, preparing for checks and help with airline assessments.

For those repeat customers Northsea also offers a customer loyalty program, something we are pleased to see increasingly in the sector.

Summary

We look forward to visiting Northsea Flight Simulation in the future, adding them to our Featured Venue Blue Pin membership.

Get in touch with Northsea Flight Simulation

Location
Rietstraat 32, 8430 Middelkerke, Belgium
Contact them on
Website : northsim.eu
Categories
Flight Simulator

Airline Experience

Airline Experience

Airline Experience

As part of our growing worldwide simulator database we are able to offer venues a Green Pin membership, which provides our readers with additional information about the simulators and business. Today we welcome Airline Experience to this membership.

We hope the additional information provided by Airline Experience will help you chose the best simulator for your needs and we hope you will show your support by visiting them next time you are near Fairoaks Airport, UK; we are certainly looking forward to visiting in the future, moving their review to one of our Blue Pin Featured Venues.

The Simulators

Airline Experience provides a single seat B737 simulator, with a flat panel UHD display. Delivering a unique product, the instructor’s station is where the first officer’s seat would be, and so providing a very much hands on personal airline instruction. There is no tactial vibration system connected and the flight controls are spring-loaded (which is the norm in the industry).

A VATSIM live hook-up is available for those customers wanting a more realistic environment to be flying in; added with real-time weather and a good representation of the day in the life of an airline pilot’s work can be delivered.

The Venue

As we cover in our featured reviews and podcast, we do like to see simulator venues at real world airports – we feel this really provides the customer with an extra level of realism. Located at Fairoaks Airports (ICAO: EGTF) , Airline Experience has found a great location for a flight simulator venue.

The Staff and Business

Because of their focus on the airline operating environment, rather than just a flight simulation experience, all of Airline Experience’s pilots are current commercial airline pilots; taking the customer from start to finish in what a day in the life of an airline pilot is like. From pre flight briefing, to flight management and abnormal procedures. Bookings can be tailored to suit individual abilities and interests and a loyalty/membership program is available.

Summary

We are looking  forward to visiting James and the team at Airline Experience sometime in the future and completing a full review, adding them to our Featured Venue Blue Pin listing.

Get in touch with Airline Experience

Location

Unit B1E, Fairoaks Airport,
Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8HU, UK

Contact them on

Phone : coming soon

Categories
Blog Posts

What We Look For In Our Reviews – Part 3

Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels
Andrew

Andrew

What We Look For In Our Reviews – Part 3

The final installment in our three part series looks at the welcome and communication, the instruction and the business set-up in general.

In the third and final article in our look behind the scenes of our reviews we review the areas of the welcome, the instruction and the business offering. In part 1 we looked at the flight simulator itself. And in part 2 we discussed what we look for in the location, venue and function of the experience.

The Welcome

The quality of the flight simulation experience is much more than the flight simulator hardware and software itself. These aspects of course do make a real difference in whether a customer enjoys the experience and believes they are receiving value for money. But we believe the non-tanglible aspects, like most businesses, will often set a venue apart from its competition.

If I can use my personal experience with our friends at Delta 5 as an example this will perhaps best illustrate what we notice and take note of in our reviews. Right from first contact with Delta 5 our experience with them was nothing but positive and their engagement was consistently good. Both in written and in-person their manner was professional and yet friendly and warm. They built a positive atmosphere in our dealings and went beyond what many venues will give us in terms of time and information.

We see this approach continues in their offerings to the customer, the accommodation of guests at their venue, their very reasonable pricing – often referred to as the “soft-sell”.

The Instruction

The next aspect we take note of is the flight instruction side of the experience. Again, not a lot of point having a flight simulator with all the bells and whistles while the instructor doesn’t know how to get the most from a session for the customer.

Things we look out for include the professionalism and knowledge in the simulator; application of standard operating procedures, a health and safety briefing and general confidence in briefing all of this together. We do like to see current or former airline pilots delivering this part of the service, but this isn’t essential.

The Business

The business side of the simulator venue is the last of the factors we are looking at during our featured venue visits. Like most of the sections we have covered in this three part series, there is normally no one particular issue we are looking for, but rather how the many factors come together as an overall package for the customer.

In the case of “the business” we consider how long the venue has been in operation, do they have partnerships with other venues or charities, do they have a good feel of the simulator market, what are the specific aims of the business and is there anything that makes it stand out from the competition.

Of course some of these aspects are not going to be shared with us, but many venues are very open in their own strengths and weaknesses, in particular where they can make improvements to make even a better customer experience.

Conclusion

That concludes our article series looking at what factors we consider in our featured venue visits and reviews. We hope you have found this interesting and always we welcome your feedback and comments. Please drop us note in the comments section below or get in touch through our Contact Us page.

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