Tabletop flight training devices have come a long way in the last decade, and Redbird Flight Simulations, in partnership with AOPA, EAA, King Schools, The Pilot Workshops, Sennheiser and more has come onto the scene with a device called the Jay that could be disruptive in the industry.
The hardware for the new includes a 27-inch screen integrated into a dedicated PC computer; yoke, switches and power quadrant, which costs $2,490. Rudder pedals and a Cygnus connector (for using iPad flight mapping software during flights) are available as options.
“We designed it to be simple to set up,” said Jeff Van West, CEO of Redbird Media. “Five minutes is about what it takes most people to be booted up and operating the unit,” he added. The Lockheed Prepare3D engine behind the software is the same as that in the company’s motion simulators.
What does the Jay do that other flight simulation devices based on a single PC don’t do? “It’s the total experience that grabs people,” said Craig Fuller, president, AOPA, who tested a beta-version of the sim at AOPA.
The Jay is not certified as a basic flight training device, according to Van West, and there is no timeline right now to apply for FAA certification that would qualify it as such. It cannot be used to log instrument approaches for flight currency or ratings; however, what it does have is simple-to-use software that can provide pilots with structured, real-world lessons that are designed to reduce the risk of flying, with practice. The possibilities for scenarios are endless, and can be downloaded from the AOPA store online.