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Can A Real World Airline And A Virtual Airline Work Together?


Can A Real World Airline And A Virtual Airline Work Together?

By Ian Miller
13 October 2010







Can a real world airline and a virtual airline work together?

Please read on to learn more...


Hi, flight simmers around the world. My name is Ian Miller, and I'm fortunate enough to be the Public Relations Manager of Buffalo Airways Virtual. I've been a qualified pilot for almost 30 years, and an avid simmer for almost as many years. I believe it was 1983 when I first tried a simulator on a 48k Spectrum. Over these years and with Internet coming and home computers getting faster our hobby has blossomed. We have many people to thank. The payware guys, along with freeware developers who allow us to fly just about any aircraft type, in our chosen airline colors, to just about any airport that we wish to fly to. There's VATSIM along with IVAO who added another dimension to our hobby. And last but not least the great online web sites that host all of the amazing downloads that we can access. They even allow people like me a forum, and that's how you're reading this now.


But one thing has been missing I believe until now...

...a real airline that is prepared to work closely with a V.A. offering advice on routes, aircraft, and the ability to talk to them openly. For at least 12 years I have been in the V.A. field, but I always steered away from virtual airlines that based on a real namesake. I knew that the real would play no part; in fact on occasions even threaten legal action if their name was used. I wanted no part of this. Then I came across two young men who had formed a V.A., Buffalo Airways Virtual, with the blessing of the real Buffalo Airways "Ice Pilot's NWT". They are Thomas Emms and Randy Kearnes. I was keen to find out why they chose Buffalo as their own V.A.?


Thomas tells us more...

Ian, we were interested in creating a virtual airline with a twist, something which would be fun but also include a challenge, after watching Ice Pilots N.W.T, seeing how Buffalo Airways operates, we immediately knew which airline to base it on! It wasn't a hard choice for me, Buffalo Airways is probably one of the most challenging airlines out there, and operating these old beasts in some of the harshest weather on earth takes a lot of time and work! What Buffalo Airways Virtual aims for is to show our respect for Buffalo Airways through our operations, hopefully keeping some of those aircraft in the air for longer too!


Randy, please add your thoughts...

Ian, when Thomas and I first discussed starting a VA together we thought of Buffalo Airways immediately. Both of us love to fly vintage aircraft and we're both fans of Ice Pilots NWT. We had previously flown for VA's based on real world airlines and had never been involved with a VA that was in close communication with their real world namesake. We contacted Mikey McBryan and let him know what we wanted to do. After showing him the web site and sharing some thoughts and ideas with him, we got the stamp of approval. Mikey has been instrumental in assisting us to try and mirror Buffalo's real world operations so that our members can get a taste of what it's like to be an "Ice Pilot"


Well that's it... A. V.A. working with a real world airline. I recently had the opportunity to interview Mikey McBryan, the general manager of Buffalo Airways (he is also a pilot at Buffalo Airways Virtual). Here is what he had to say about the partnership.


Firstly thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Mikey. And on behalf of all at Buffalo Airways Virtual, we welcome you to a V.A. that actually feels a part of your real world airline.


Q1. Mikey you grew up in a family dedicated to aviation, the son of Buffalo Joe McBryan. What are your earliest memories of Buffalo Airways?


A1. My first real memory of Buffalo is as a kid and getting to run up and down the aisle of the DC-3


Q2. The Rampies seem to work really hard. What was your first job at Buffalo?


A2. My first real job at Buffalo (more than a week) was a helper in the automotive shop. I love cars and it took a year or two to move over to the airplanes


Q3. Ice Pilots North West Territories was a huge hit on television. How did the show interfere with your daily operations?


A3. Ha-Ha! To tell you the truth the show is now a big part of the daily operations. But before it became normal, the hardest part was making sure my father didn't try and run the camera crew off.


Q4. Since series 1 was filmed we know that Capt. Arnie Schrader has retired. Can you tell us who his replacement is or do we need to wait for the next series of Ice Pilots N.W.T.?


A4. Spoiler Alert, Arnie is back for Season 3... but not for long.


Q5. You are also a pilot at Buffalo Airways Virtual. When did you become interested in Flight Simulation?


A5. Back in the day I enjoyed learning about aircraft flight through Flight Sim. Plus you don't have to worry about engine tents.


Q6. Of the aircraft at the real and virtual airline, which is your favorite?


A6. The C-46 is by far my fav. It's big, it's loud and can haul a wicked load at half of the cost.


Q7. Many real airlines will have nothing to do with flight simulation and virtual airlines. Just like many real pilots laugh at those that sit behind a computer, and pretend to be the real thing. As a real/virtual pilot I enjoy both sides of the real/virtual experience. There is a difference that only real pilots will know. You guys at Buffalo Airways accepted us at Buffalo Virtual. Why was that?


A7. Buffalo Airways is so much more than PILOTS we are a family. Most airlines are scared to show the real side, they want everyone to believe aviation is perfect. IP-NWT has given us the opportunity to reach a wide scope of people and show a true account of how we work. As you watch the show for an hour or so, you can escape, and allow yourself to become a part of Buffalo. We see BA Virtual has an extension of the family.


Q8. We know that you/we are trying to maintain aviation from its most wonderful era. These old ladies will not fly forever, not because of parts. But the spiraling costs of running big radials. Where do you see the future taking Buffalo Airways in terms of fleet?


A8. First thing, these planes have already out lived the people that designed them and I bet they will be flying long after we are all gone. That's way they call the DC-3 the only true time machine. As for Buffalo we operate on what our customers need. Once the aircraft can't provide an efficient cost/pound they will be parked. Buffalo will at all cost try to find ways to keep the old birds running and shows like IP-NWT and sites like BA Virtual help keep these birds in the air by spearheading awareness and exposing us to possible new customers. So it might sound funny but by watching or clicking on a computer you are also helping keep the birds in the air.


Q9. With the exception of the Cl215 flights to Turkey and the delivery of a new L188 from the U.K, what are the other long haul flights that Buffalo have done?


A9. Most of our long hauls are just from the states so it's new territory for us.


Q10. Mikey you have been kind enough to answer my questions. Is there one that you would like to ask me about Buffalo Airways Virtual?


A10. Q11. Have you guys set a goal for active pilots on the site?


Answer 11. Mikey, Buffalo Airways Virtual is about quality, not quantity. We strive to put your real airline out there to the thousands of fans that Ice Pilots NWT has gained. We'd love to see Buf A Virtual continue to grow, so long as the cargo hold is full and the seats are paid for. What this really means is it doesn't matter whether we have 1 pilot or 1001. Each and every pilot is expected to fly his or her quota. Contribute as much as the next person. And always promote Buffalo.


If you're looking for a V.A. that offers glass cockpits, great looking stewardesses, and luxury travel? I'm sorry but we cannot help you. However if your prepared to start as a ramp hand (a.k.a. rampie), have the get up and go to work your way up on large old radial aircraft... come and visit us at buffalo Virtual.


Ian Miller
Public relations Manager

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