Categories
Flight Simulator

PM Flight

PM Flight

Based in the south of England near Gatwick Airport, PM flight offers A320 and B737 fixed base simulators concentrating mainly on airline simulator assessment preparation and pilot training. The B737 simulator can also replicate B747/B757 and B767 aircraft.

The Simulators

Four simulators: an Airbus A320, Boeing 757/767, Boeing 747 and a Boeing 737; all fixed based.

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 PM Flight

Location
Redhill Aerodrome, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 5YP, UK
Contact them on

Website : www.pmflight.co.uk

Categories
Reviewed by simulatorreview.com

Simfest

Simfest

This simulator represents the gold standard of flight simulation. Its functionality and realism is second-to-none – we even feel that motion wouldn’t actually make any difference to the amazing experience.

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Simfest is a private fixed base B747-400 simulator with a heavy focus on charitable fundraising and connected worldwide flying. It is quite possibly the most realistic fixed base simulator ever made, due to the incredible system functionality, extremely high quality and collimated visual displays, rumble motion and use of real aircraft parts.

What is good

What's not so good

The Simulators

The simulator is a fixed base Boeing 747-400, with the systems and operation heavily modelled on British Airways’ aircraft of the same type. It features a ‘whole’ B747 flightdeck, with an amazing level of accuracy and authenticity – largely due to the owner making maximum use of real aircraft parts. The flight dynamics are close to the actual aircraft (we’ve previously flown the B747-400 full motion simulator at British Airways Flight Training) and the control loading and feel of the controls are pretty good. It’s hard to replicate control feel without huge financial means and I would say the tiller for taxying and control column feel are accurate, but limited in realism due to the nature of the simulator. It is clear there has been real airline pilot input/feedback.

Shortly after the visit, the visuals underwent a huge modification and are now collimated. This means that they are aligned with each pilot’s viewpoint and eliminates the feeling the aircraft is skidding when taxying on the ground or the need for a screen aiming point when landing. Scenery is very realistic and the frame rates are very smooth. There is a lot of worldwide special scenery and terrain mesh – it’s clear this simulator is built for worldwide flying.

The systems are accurately simulated and their controls are more often than not actual panels from a B747 and instruments that have been painstakingly reverse engineered for use with the simulator. This is from the MCP (autopilot controls) right through to the actual aircraft seats and flightdeck doors. As previously mentioned, there is a heavy British Airways bias (no bad thing!) and many of the specific company functions are impressively simulated. The simulator is fully connected to the internet and makes the most of video, sound, weather, flight schedules and virtual ATC environments.

The Venue​

The simulator is housed in an outbuilding at a private residence. As you walk into the building, you are greeted by a Boeing 707 galley, banks of awesome computing power and aircraft parts, with a small relaxation area upstairs for those longer simulated flights. As you step through the flightdeck door, you are fully immersed in the B747-400 flightdeck and you quickly forget where you actually are. You can view a livestream from Simfest’s website.

The Staff and Business

I was warmly welcomed by the owner, who is surprisingly young and clearly extremely talented, having built this incredible simulator himself with a little help from his friends. He’s an obvious enthusiast, who is well researched and knowledgeable – he taught me (a current airline pilot) how to fly and operate a B747. The simulator is private, but very much in the public arena with its charitable work. It is the centre piece in many public virtual world events on the internet and raised £32,000 for charity in just 7 days during ‘Worldflight’ in 2019.

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Summary

This simulator represents the gold standard of flight simulation. Its functionality and realism is second-to-none – we even feel that motion wouldn’t actually make any difference to the amazing experience. It’s a shame the venue is private – you’ll just have to watch along on Twitch TV – give generously!

Review by Elliott, February 2018.

Get in touch with Simfest

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Reviewed by simulatorreview.com

737 Pro

737 Pro

737pro

A warm and friendly greeting will be had from staff who will ensure you have a great experience. While we acknowledge the simulator is in the early stages of development, the commitment of the venue to improve the hardware and realism is highly commendable.

737Pro are a relative newcomer to the flight simulation scene, and they join a number of similar B737 simulator operators in the North West UK. We received a warm and friendly welcome by enthusiastic staff as we arrived at their Blackpool Airport venue and we enjoyed listening to how the simulator came to fruition and their plans for the future.

What is good

What's not so good

Venue Update

On October 21, 2020 Elliott and Alexis visited 737 Pro again to see what changes they have been working on and to gather some video footage. Please see the update-section below by clicking here.

The Simulators

The simulator is an accurate B737 flight deck, with only a few clues as to it purpose as a flight experience machine. The visual display consists of 220 degree wrap around projection which is nicely done, but as with most fixed base simulators, the visuals are not collimated and as such the centre of vision is aligned with the centre of the flightdeck. Collimation is extremely expensive and is only really found on only the most expensive and usually professional flight training simulators. They have special terrain mesh and scenery for most of the UK and airports worth a special mention include Innsbrück, Manchester and London Heathrow.

Pre-recorded ATC background chatter is played in the simulation room and further adding to the realism is the prosim set up that most simulator venues choose to use. This provides a useful simulation interface that controls weather, traffic and simulator functionality. When flying the 737Pro simulator, we felt the control loading was poor (from an airline pilot’s point of view having flown thousands of hours in a B737) and we flew with continual aft pressure at the back of the elevator dead-band to achieve the correct feel. The intercom between pilots is not broadcast to the spectator area at the rear of the simulator, but being a quiet room, we felt this wasn’t too much of an issue.

When talking about and testing the simulated systems, it was great to hear the development plans the business has for the hardware. Coming soon are oxygen masks, circuit breaker panels and further off-the-shelf parts from popular manufacturers such as Flightdeck Solutions, who have recently delivered a very authentic overhead panel. A certain amount of functionality that we would expect as a basic standard wasn’t working at the time, such as control column elevator trim from the co-pilot seat and the autopilot disconnect buttons, but they’re high on the priority list when the simulator finally gets some downtime.

The Venue

The simulator is located within a popular flying school (Westair) at Blackpool Airport, which has a very busy general aviation scene. We like airport locations as it adds to the excitement and realism of the whole experience, and immerses the customer in the wider world of aviation. We feel the signage could be more prominent for simulator customers, as it wasn’t apparent at first that the simulator venue was housed within Westair. There are also a couple of large Westair hangars along the main road that could lead you to the wrong location. Parking is easy and plentiful.

Once inside there is a large lounge/kitchen area just past reception and a few classrooms for the all important pre-flight briefing to be delivered (custom video also shown as part of the experience). There is plenty of room for spectators, both at the venue and within the simulator, which has an area of airline seats behind the simulator, ensuring everyone is part of the experience. When considering customers with special needs or reduced mobility, the company states they’re happy to talk in advance or even host a pre-visit should it be required to assess any requirements and will try their best to accommodate everyone. However, the size and raised setting of the simulator, plus the amount of steps required to ascend to the upper floor where the simulator is located would be a significant challenge for someone with reduced mobility.

Booking is via the website, email, telephone or even facebook and the staff attempt to keep wait/reply times to a minimum. Flight time equals voucher time meaning you get the full time you paid for, plus it’s been known for the sessions to overrun a little should there be a free session directly afterwards – the emphasis is definitely on maximising the enjoyment of the experience. They have a loyalty scheme in the form of a logbook, which leads to the simulator being hired to the user at a dry (no-instructor) rate once a certain level of competence is achieved and observed. ‘Flights’ are filmed free of charge and customers are encouraged to bring a memory stick (or one can be bought at a very reasonable price) to receive the videos and take them away at the end of the session.

Another point worthy of mention is their Future Pilot scheme aimed at young learners between the ages of twelve and seventeen during school holidays. The course improves teamwork, develops confidence, raises aspirations and teaches other relevant aviation skills/knowledge. It culminates in a full un-aided sector flown by the future pilots while family and friends are invited to spectate. It’s worth mentioning this is heavily subsidised by the venue as part of an investment in the local community youth.

The Staff and Business

Undoubtedly 737Pro’s strongest area is their staff. We were hosted by the manager, Tom, who could not have been more welcoming and candid about the simulator and the business. He was extremely customer focussed and we have absolutely no doubt that he would ensure a customer has an incredible simulation experience. Amongst the staff are three current airline pilots, which adds not only credibility to the event and simulator, but also ensures realism, which is what most people seek. The business is happy to accommodate requests, receptive to feedback and is constantly striving to improve and develop the simulator and what they offer. We often find a key indicator as to the character of a business is their charitable work. Visits from local <a style="color: #1e73be;Air Cadet, clubs, schools and the Future Pilot scheme show the positive effect the company tries to maintain with the surrounding communities.

Media Gallery

Summary

A warm and friendly greeting will be had from staff who will ensure you have a great experience. While we acknowledge their Boeing 737 is a relatively new simulator, the commitment of the venue to improve the hardware and realism is highly commendable. We are confident the simulator will be up to speed in no time at all, with some interesting and different functionality to set it apart from the competition. We have no hesitation in recommending the simulator for that incredible flying experience.

Review by Elliott and Alexis, November 2019.

Follow-up Visit and Updates

Updates from our visit back in November 2019 include:
  • as part of your booking there is an impressive briefing video. There is a lot of material there that perhaps might be a bit much for a novice to all take-in. But don’t worry about this, your instructor will highlight the main points to focus on. Particular topics covered include an overview of principles of flight (how planes fly), airframe development and history and a look at each key aircraft system;
  • the yoke control has been linked to directional control of the aircraft on the ground. So instead of steering the 737 with a tiller and rudder pedals, the yoke is turned in the appropriate direction. This of course isn’t how the real aircraft works, but we can see for the beginner this will probably make taxing and control on the runway easier. However, for the more experienced flight simulator user this may cause some confusion; and
  • there is a new overhead panel, providing additional realism for the simulator with improved switch feel and operation.
December 2020: we see from 737 Pro’s website they now have a new VR simulator, the Air Combat Pro. They write “We are proud to introduce the UK’s first and only twin, full-motion, Virtual Reality Fighter Jet Simulator that is open to the public”.
 

Get in touch with 737 Pro

Location
737 Pro
Westair Hangar 8
Blackpool Airport
Lancashire, FY4 2QY
Contact them on

Email : info@737pro.com

Website : www.737pro.com

Categories
Reviewed by simulatorreview.com

Simulator Adventures

Simulator Adventures

A hugely impressive simulator with a full six-axis motion in operation. We can be confident you’ll have an unrivalled simulator experience.

What is good

What's not so good

Venue Update

On October 21, 2020 Elliott and Alexis visited Simulator Adventures again to see what changes they have been working on and to gather some video footage. Please see the update-section below by clicking here.

The Simulators

Simulator Adventures are one of the few A320 simulator operators in the country, but unlike the others, they have dedicated themselves to the Airbus. As a result, this full motion, highly accurate and extremely functional simulator ranks among the best we’ve visited. The components all felt ‘real’ and this was helped by the use of real Airbus A320 sidesticks. The flight dynamics were also very good and were thoroughly tested during a short flight from Manchester to Birmingham. The simulator sits on a 6-axis, full motion, VRXsim platform, which is extremely rare for this category. The motion wasn’t functioning during our visit – we’d like to return once its up and running to update our review.

The visual display was of a high quality, with realistic (often moving) scenery, weather and terrain all projected on to a 220 degree wrap around screen. Operational noises were accurate and the ambient sound was very credible. There is no ATC facility, but this is something the owners were keen to adapt later as the simulator matures – they’re currently limited by lack of fibre internet provision at their location. It’s worth noting that this is a very young simulator and the future potential on top of what is already extremely good is massive. The visual display is not currently collimated. This function, which aligns the pilot viewpoint with each particular seat, is extremely expensive and therefore rare to find installed on these types of simulators. Again, the owners are very talented and have a ‘fix’ on the way – more about the owners later.

Five computers run the many simulator systems. Nearly everything in the flight deck operates fully and correctly, including the real Airbus sidesticks. The FMGS (flight management and guidance system) was used as extensively as it would be in the real world and performed well, with all the functions usually found on the aeroplane working as they should. The circuit breaker panels are present, but currently not operational. This is a future development along with official CAA certification. The simulator has three camera points which can live stream around the building and record the sessions.

The Venue

The venue is centrally located in Manchester’s Salford Quays, with all the transport links expected in a major city. Finding the venue was quite easy and there was plenty of parking right outside. You enter into a clean and tidy reception area with aircraft seats and a briefing room. What impressed us, was walking out from the seating area and into the simulator hall, which gave our reviewing airline pilot the chills as it is just like one of the old simulator halls at his airline! As you step out of the reception, you see the simulator in all its glory mounted on its full motion platform and there is certainly excitement in the air at this point. Spectators are catered for with refreshments in the lounge area, where there is a live video feed from inside the simulator shown on a large TV. They are also welcome to join in the experience by occupying one of two ‘jumpseats’ in the simulator itself – just like on the real aeroplane! This does limit participation, but simulator size constrains the number and it’s actually more accurate having just two as this is what is present on the real aircraft.

The business owners are developing a cabin section and have a number of airline seats dotted about waiting to be fitted. This will be a great addition, and promises realistic features for its occupants. Obviously, due to the limitations of the simulator being mounted on a motion platform, the cabin section will be located separately from the simulator, but sound and video link-ups are promised as well as virtual aircraft windows – an incredible feature that we’ve only seen once before. Again, due to the limitations of a motion platform, catering for reduced mobility is challenging, but not something the owners shied away from solving and they’d encourage any prospective customers to give them a call and see what can be done.

Simulator Adventures’ website can be considered basic, but functional. It has some great pictures and video of the venue and simulator, some frequently asked questions and the ability to purchase an experience – keep an eye for special offers! However, to book the flight, a phone call or email is necessary. They promise to respond within the hour in most instances if the call or email isn’t instantly dealt with. The business is active on social media and a frequent customer/loyalty scheme is under development.

The Staff and Business

We received a warm welcome from Simulator Adventures, who were keen to show us their A320 simulator. The business is very professional and run by experts in their field, having been simulator engineers in the Royal Air Force and previously an A320/A321 pilot for a major UK airline. This level of qualification is testament to the venue and is the reason the simulator is of such a high standard. They prefer to keep sessions casual and a uniform isn’t typically worn, aiming to put the pilot at ease during their experience. Instruction is from an ex-airline pilot and as a result very accurate, realistic and informative. They actively participate in charity events and raising awareness, especially with the Stroke Association, which is of particular importance to them.

Summary

A hugely impressive simulator, and although we didn’t see the full 6-axis motion in operation, we can be confident you’ll have an unrivalled simulator experience. Combine this with the fantastic staff, incredible realism and professional premises, then a recipe for one of the best UK flight simulators is right on Manchester’s doorstep.

Review by Elliott and Alexis, November 2019.

Follow-up Visit

Since their visit in November 2019 Simulator Adventures have been busy with a lot changes, like many of our featured venue sites. These changes include:
  • a new six-axis motion platform, which can take greater weight, has a better range of motion and improved reliability. In addition, there are new moveable steps onto the platform;
  • with this upgrade Simulator Adventures is looking at seeking official certification so they will be able to move into the commercial pilot training market;
  • fantastic new genuine aeroplane seats from an A330 – love the colour; and
  • there are plans being developed to offer a 10 hour virtual type rating. Stay tuned for further information for this, as we find out more will will update our review.

Get in touch with Simulator Adventures

Location
Simulator Adventures
North Stage, Broadway
Salford Quays
Manchester
M50 2UW
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Reviewed by simulatorreview.com

Jet Sim School

Jet Sim School

jetsimschool

One of the most realistic fixed base B737 flight simulators in the UK, if not the world.

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Jet Sim School have purposely positioned themselves in the gap between entertainment flight simulation and multimillion-dollar professional full flight simulators, and as a result, have one of the most accurately modelled and operational Boeing 737-800 simulators on the market. Of particular note is their ultra-realistic cabin section, which will leave you and any spectators struggling to believe you’re still firmly planted on the ground.

What is good

What's not so good

The Simulators

The fixed base B737-800 simulator is one of the most comprehensively equipped machines we’ve had the privilege of visiting. The simulator has almost total functionality, full internet connectivity and an impressive cabin section. The 220 degree wrap around visuals (not collimated at the time of our visit) are of a very high quality, with realistic airports and scenery mesh. As mentioned above, we believe the gold standard is achieved by having the visual displays aligned with the eye line of each pilot, but we realise this is an extremely costly option – especially considering the investment to date in the rest of the product.

The simulator is fully connected to the internet, allowing real-world weather to be imported to the experience, as well as full online Air Traffic Control via the VATSIM network, allowing for ultra-realistic, real-time airline flights to be conducted.

System functionality is top level, with almost every switched modelled – something many other companies struggle to achieve. This allows full airline procedures and emergency functions to be simulated, further increasing the simulator’s appeal from experience flights right though to practising airline pilots. Flight dynamics were very good and we can honestly say, having flown the real aeroplane for many thousands of hours, it flies like the real thing. Much of the operation was based on Jet2 procedures.

We’ve mentioned quite a few times about the cabin section that Jet Sim School have produced. This is exceptional and is a credit to the owners. Upon entering, you really get the sense you have boarded a Boeing 737 and their attention to detail didn’t stop at the flightdeck door! There are 8 airline seats, and the cabin is complete with overhead lockers, working air conditioning packs and operational windows, where you can actually look out at realistic moving scenery wherever the simulator is currently flying.

The Venue

Centrally located in the UK and amongst a good road network, Jet Sim School’s venue is easily accessible – that is if you use apps such as Waze and google maps! As we found when visiting, using a car sat nav and the company postcode will lead you on a 4×4 adventure around Peterborough’s East Of England Show Ground. This is stated on their website, but has the potential to catch out the unwary!

The venue is situated on an industrial estate and was reasonably well signposted. Parking was plentiful right outside the door, which leads into the reception and lounge area. This has a manned reception desk and refreshment/relaxing area. First impressions were good – clean, tidy and welcoming, with room for friends/family /spectators to join the experience with you. However, it is disappointing that only 1 spectator is free – anymore are chargeable by the venue. We’d also like to have seen a classroom area which is commonly used for briefings by comparable simulator venues, but it would be more than acceptable for these to be carried out in the lounge area or cabin section. Jet Sim School moves to a newer and bigger location in 2020 – we’re told this will have full briefing facilities. We shall visit again after the move and update the review.

Jet Sim School has a modern and comprehensive website with some great photos and videos. All their courses and experiences are listed along with an ability to book online. A virtual type rating was a compelling course described to us, which whilst being quite expensive, would be the ultimate course for any airline or flight simulation enthusiast. It was recommended to look out for periodic offers and promotions on gift experience sites. They also run corporate days and fear of flying courses. The cabin section (previously mentioned many times over) really does lend itself to this sort of activity and provide an excellent setting.

The Staff and Business

Our first impression of Jet Sim School was one of professionalism and we felt we were entering a well run establishment. We had a warm and enthusiastic welcome from both the owner and Chief Instructor who spent a considerable amount of time showing us round the venue and the capabilities of the B737 simulator. They were all uniformed and the Chief Instructor was incredibly knowledgeable and proficient, despite not being an airline pilot.

The business is set up as a school, similar to that of a flying school, and appeals to both novices seeing a flight experience to professional airline pilots looking for refresher, currency and assessment training. While the experience flights are priced very competitively, some of the prices for the professional level use are quite steep. The Jet Sim School simulator does justify a premium, but it is a point we feel worth noting.

Summary

One of the most realistic fixed base B737 flight simulators in the UK, if not the world. The accurate simulation and sound/feel of the aircraft systems is commendable, and the ultra-realistic aircraft cabin will have you fully immersed in the experience. Review by Elliott and Andrew, March 2019.

Get in touch with Jet Sim School

Location
Unit 114, Culley Court
Orton Southgate
Peterborough
​PE2 6WA
 
Contact them on
Phone:
01733 602015