• Feature: iPilot Dubai

    iPilot Dubai

    By Rohan Nair

    Most of modern day flight simulation revolves around desktop simulation platforms. An operating environment that is always three dimensional in reality is represented in a two dimensional perspective in the world of flight simulation. With the evolution of hardware and software, virtual reality has stepped closer to reality in terms of eye candy. Hundreds of third party products, high definition textures and top notch hardware designed to recreate what may be found in a real cockpit is what constitutes a modern flight simulation setup. No matter as to how realistic the gear employed may be, the feel of sitting in a real cockpit, the feel of holding the yoke, is something that not even the best hardware and software companies can recreate for flight simulation. Enthusiasts with a strong desire for eye candy will wholeheartedly invest in flight simulation hardware such as yokes, mode control panels, radio stacks and the like. Yet what's lacking is the closed shell like environment of the cockpit. Those earning in six figures might very well take the bold step to construct a home cockpit. The full size home cockpit is the closest that home flight simulation can get to reality. Yet not everyone has the time and resources to stand up for the daunting task of constructing a home cockpit.

    Thankfully, there are a few companies who know that not all flight simulation enthusiasts have full size home cockpits or at least, friends who have such home cockpits. These companies have created entertainment of a different kind. A full size flight simulator, open to the public, is what these companies have set up for us. For a monetary fee that is nowhere near the cost of building a simulator of your own, even a layman in the realm of aviation can get a feel of what it is like to fly a passenger airliner. The opportunity to get access to such a niche, a heavenly niche, is not easy. These companies are, as expected, few in number and found only in selected parts of the globe. You'll need more luck than research in order to stumble upon one of these opportunities. Luck did shine upon my visit to Singapore three years back during which I scored 30 minutes of time on a full size 737-800 simulator at Flight Experience. I thought that it would be the first and the last time I would have such an experience. I'm glad that I was wrong. When I learned of the existence of iPilot Dubai, an outfit offering a similar service, my desire to visit Dubai was only strengthened. And as for the realization of this opportunity, I owe a hearty thanks to my parents who were the first to inform me about iPilot.

    And then, from that great day of discovery, began the endless wait. Although I was sure that I'd land in Dubai, there was no assurance that I would be able to visit iPilot Dubai. Official matters dominated the schedule. The schedule was going to be tight and as the task-list was to unfold then and there, there was no way to make a sure booking with iPilot. This meant that I would have to get the deal sorted out on the spot subject to the availability of a slot within whatever time frame I had. Taking commuting time into account, the schedule was going to be even tighter. My sixth grade English teacher had once said, "Do your best and leave the rest to God!", when we were concerned about the lack of time to complete our portions before the final exams. That little saying has been immortalized in my mind for the meaning it has held in so many daunting moments of this dynamic life. Practically speaking, it would be best for me to take the shot on a weekday. Other priorities and commitments kept my mind from succumbing to the whims of anxiety until I boarded the Boeing 777-300 that took me across the Arabian Sea to the Sandpit, the slang term loosely used by pilots to refer to The United Arab Emirates. Generally speaking, it refers to the Arabian peninsula. The ideal day to test my luck, taking into consideration all relevant factors, would be Monday. Upon touchdown, I glanced at my wristwatch and acknowledged the fact I would or would not in another 259,200 seconds.

    Monday finally arrived. After I quickly gobbled down a scrumptious buffet breakfast, I quickly make a telephone call to iPilot Dubai to find out how busy they were going to be on that day. They were booked until the afternoon. And as of that time, they weren't any bookings for any time later than 2 PM. But there was no guarantee that it was going to be that way. "Do your best and leave the rest!", I said to myself as I headed out for official business. Late afternoon, I found much needed precious time and I seized the opportunity to take a ride on the metro which guaranteed the avoidance of any delays due to road traffic. The origin station was just a stone's throw away. Within the famous Dubai Mall was my destination. Luck was in my favor because there exists a station which is itself called Dubai Mall. Apart from its proximity to the mall itself, it is connected to it by the means of an air conditioned bridge. On the way, I had a good view of the Burj Khalifa. Being the tallest tower in the world, the tip of the tower stands at an incredible 2,722 feet off the ground! At about five o' clock, the train pulls into the Dubai Mall station. With little regard for the fantastic view of the Burj Khalifa, I briskly walked down the bridge towards the mall. I overheard a tourist in front of me say, "Ah, no worries, we have all the time in the world!" I wanted to grab him and send him for a flight off the bridge. His luck was good that day since I had other priorities. After consulting the information kiosk, I ended up at the doorstep of iPilot Dubai. I sent up a silent prayer and walked in. The receptionist greeted me and explains that if I want to fly, I will have to purchase a voucher.

    She had barely completed the sentence when I frantically interrupted her by saying, "When can I redeem the voucher!?"

    "Right now, sir. We are free now so you can fly immediately.", she replied.

    Success! The receptionist handed me an iPad into which I had to fill a few details about myself. I opted for the half an hour package and handed her my credit card. While she worked out the transaction, I smiled to myself as I reveled in the delight of a fulfilled wish.


    3 Comments
    1. byron1976's Avatar
      byron1976 -
      Lucky guy!
    1. captensmoochh's Avatar
      captensmoochh -
      I wonder how this lad would fare if he gets to fly on a real simulator.I can not imagine that sim @i-pilot to be that accurate for what they charge.I know of simulator panels and displays built to mimmick real simulators quite accurately but he fidelity and feel can not be an exact match...then again when you compare the real aircraft versus sim...you will wonder what got you so excited about the sim which lacks the dynamics of real world..but I suppose it is a start!
    1. Rohan_Nair's Avatar
      Rohan_Nair -
      Any flight simmer will find the sim to be quite accurate unless he happens to be a RW TRI/SFI. And of course, this sim they provide for us is for entertainment purposes. You pay for the fun you have. If you ask any real pilot, they will say what you said about the flight dynamics of their million dollar airline sims. The sim is not meant to understand how the aircraft flys or how to fly it but what to do in it. It's about practicing procedures. Even for a real TR, after the sim you have some base training on a real acft to get to grips with business. A full size sim of any kind will pretty much get any flight simmer excited. Anything and everything related to aviation will have our senses tingling. This website is for flight sim enthusiasts. As far as home flight simulation goes, every one is a enthusiast but some are more die hard than others. You can be a professional only in the full motion sim.
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