A well established and professional venue, with the unique ability to offer a choice of three high quality and very realistic simulators to fly.
Deeside have a unique position in the flight simulator market – that is they’re able to offer both a fixed and rotary wing experience. During our visit we were able to look at all three simulators, but with it being such a busy venue we were unable to have an opportunity to put the machines through their paces – perhaps during another visit!
The Boeing 737-800 simulator started life as a real B737-300 flying for airlines including British Airways. With some ingenious modification and some clever know how, this now operates as a fully functional next generation B737 fixed base simulator. There are some minor differences between the simulator and the actual aircraft, but it would be a tough challenge for the untrained eye to spot these. The Airbus A320 simulator had a previous life flying the skies for Alitalia as an Airbus A321. What this means is both simulators are incredibly realistic and accurate in terms of their functionality and layout, with a considerable amount of real aircraft parts – although we did spot some Airbus A300 seats! Both simulators have a cabin section, which we really like to see attached to a fixed base simulator, further adding to the experience and realism of flying a jet airliner. We’d like to have tried the simulators and feel how they fly, but as we’ve indicated, time was short and the venue busy – the sign of a good product!
Both simulator visual displays were a wrap around style and produced high quality scenery and weather effects. We would like to have seen both simulators with collimated* visual displays (*filtered display system to align the view out of the window with the eyeline of each pilot/seat.), but this is usually found in multi-million dollar professional flight training simulators and extremely rare in this market. It’s an expensive option, but something we feel would further truly mark the simulators apart from the competition. We didn’t get to test the sounds and visuals as much as we’d have liked, but we shall return and update the review in the future.
System functionality was very good for both aircraft, in particular the fully functioning circuit breaker panels. When asked about this, the business owners indicated that they’re looking to certify the simulators with the CAA (an expensive and time consuming undertaking) in order to provide official flight training on their hardware. This alone is testament enough as to the realism the simulators and venue are keen to provide.
The helicopter simulator features an actual fuselage section of an Agusta 109. The flight deck has been reworked to provide a ‘glass-style’ cockpit environment, plus spectators can enjoy the experience sitting behind the pilots in the relative luxury of a private helicopter cabin. The wrap around visuals were also excellent and we feel this is an excellent and hopefully very popular addition to the Deeside fleet. Again, we weren’t able to try the simulator, but it’s on our to do list and we shall update further.
The venue has good accessibility by being located close to major roads. It was a little tricky to find due to it being sited on an industrial estate and signage was limited. We found parking to be plentiful, despite it being busy, and there were even some disabled spaces available. On the subject of facilities, it was refreshing to see a venue that has dedicated some proper thought into catering for everyone. There is an accessible toilet at the venue, wide doors and ramps to all simulators. Obviously, a degree of mobility is required due to the nature of the activity, but the staff were very willing to discuss anyone’s needs and do their best to adapt and cater – very commendable.
The business has a front reception, briefing rooms, a learning station on the way to the main simulators, toilets, a refreshment area, sofas, wifi, as well as excellent cabin sections which can seat and allow a moderately sized group to participate in the simulation. Visit the homepage of their website for a virtual walk around of their facilities.
Booking functionality is fantastic and can be through the website or over the phone/via email with reception. Purchased ‘flight-time’ is assured to be spent hands-on in the simulator and offers can often be found both on their website or with popular voucher/experience sites. Specialised courses are offered as well as simple hire of the simulators, and extras such as video recording can be purchased.
The overall impression Deeside Flight Simulators gave us, was one of experience and professionalism – from the greeting at reception to the tour and information we received when visiting. The staff were uniformed and very knowledgeable, and there were even some current and ex-airline pilots amongst their group. The minimum age for the experience is 12 due to the complex nature of the activity and it was good to hear they support local charities – a sign we like to see that indicates the character of the business and its owners.
A well established and professional venue, with the unique ability to offer a choice of three high quality and very realistic simulators to fly. You can be sure of a top level simulation experience and even qualified commercial pilots would find the simulators at Deeside very credible.