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