WATCH: Fancy flying over your own home without leaving the ground?
PUBLISHED: 08:38 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:53 30 January 2019
Ever wanted to fly over your home without your feet leaving the ground? You can now with a new flight simulation experience newly launched at a Norfolk airfield.
From the outside, it looks like any ordinary portable building but once inside, behind a black curtain, is a fully equipped ‘cockpit’ with all the controls of a real plane.
You sit in the pilot’s seat and then with a large screen in front of you giving you a view over a virtual airfield, you taxi down the runway and take off for your hour’s flight, all with the calming influence of former BAe training captain John Hoyte talking you through it, beside you.
Sim-fly, based now at Felthorpe Airfield after relocating from Old Buckenham, is the brainchild of Mr Hoyte, who fell in love with flying aged four and who retired in 2005. He started as a crop sprayer soaring over the fields of Norfolk and his love of flying took him to Australia bush fire fighting and freight distribution in Kenya as well as a stint flying passenger planes for Flybe.
But after an illness he says was related to flying, aerotoxic syndrome, he decided to hang up his wings and came up with the idea of setting up Sim-Fly.
“I have people come who actually are nervous about flying and really do get worried, it’s so realistic. But the great thing about flight simulation is that no one gets hurt, it’s really harmless fun,” he said.
Mr Hoyte has invested about £50,000 in getting the business going, sourcing the flying controls purpose built for simulation from Spain.
Innovative software means you can choose different planes to fly which include a Spitfire, a Hurricane and a Hawker Hunter and select whether you want to fly home or abroad. The great thing is you can fly over Norfolk and your own house, picking up local landmarks on the way.
Business writer Caroline Culot gave it a go, flying a Cessna 172. She took off from ‘Norwich Airport’ and headed out towards her home, near Aylsham. She said: “It was so realistic, my heart was beating so fast on take-off. I am a nervous flyer, the kind of person you don’t want to be sitting next to on a flight but on this day, the skies were blue and I really enjoyed flying over the Norfolk fields, spotting churches and buildings I know below.”
An open weekend this Saturday and Sunday is being held from 10am-4pm when you can try it out for free. See www.sim-fly.com