Anaheim just outside Los Angeles, USA is known as the home of Disneyland. But for those older children or adults that like the thrill of professional flight simulators, Flightdeck is the place to visit.
The only female travel media journalist for a group of nine media to experience the trills it was a day of big surprises and first for me.
My first taste was to get fitted out in my air combat flight suit to fly my assigned F16 aircraft. The Instructor briefed us on the flight controls and the weapon system. All a bit technical but with a little help from the instructor anyone can master it. Then it was into the aircraft cockpit, strapped in by the ground crew, canopy down and radio checks with the tower. “Cleared For Take Off”. I push the throttle forward, afterburners on and I thunder down the runway skyward and bank left over the sea. All simulated but it feels real. After a series of flight manoeuvres under the instruction of the from the tower, the group of novice travel media pilots are ready for combat.
Target acquired missile lock. fire. I only have six missiles before I have to use the guns so have to be sure I don’t waste them. Where is my wingman Top Gun, MAVERICK (Tom Cruise) when you need him, someone on my tail firing at me, release flares, so much to remember. A few strikes and I crash and burn on landing. Not my finest performance but I survived.
Next, at Flightdeck I progress to take the controls of a Boeing 737-800 jet. This fix-base simulator is categorised as high fidelity, an exact replica of a Boeing 737-800 with a 180-degree wrap around screen. Joining my flight simulator in the cockpit I sit the captain’s seat. The cockpit is full of buttons, switches, lights, alarms but calmly my instruct tells me what to do. We are landing the aircraft at Kai Tak International Airport the old Hong Kong airport with a low approach over the city at night.
Banking left Hong Kong comes into view out the cockpit window. My task is to keep us on the right flight track using the flight controls and looking at the instruments in front of me. My instructor is controlling the power, flaps and all those other technical things. We are begin our descent following the light, banking right very low over the city and then down the runway for a perfect touchdown. I have landed a Boeing 737-800 simulator.
Later in the week during my stay in Anaheim I got to meet my Wingman Top Gun MAVERICK (Tom Cruise).
If you are into planes, Flightdeck in Anaheim is a great place. Prices for the F16 Fighter Jet experience start US$59 and US$109 for the Bowing 737. I really enjoyed the Bowing 737 experience and if you would like to see the video of my flight view here: Flightdeck 737