Inside CNN’s Flight Simulator…
The Toronto Star’s Oakland Ross writes about CNN’s Flight Simulator…or should I say Simulator Lite?
The U.S. broadcaster began monopolizing the Canadian Boeing 777 simulator shortly after March 8 when the Malaysian plane veered off course on a flight that was supposed to take the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane’s present whereabouts remain a mystery.
Casado describes the machine as “the only open-to-the-public 777 simulator in the world.” That’s him in the pilot’s chair on the left-hand side of your TV screen, while Savidge speaks to the camera from the co-pilot’s spot on the right.
Ross goes on to explain something I had been wanting to know with increasing interest as the days of CNN’s use of the simulator kept on going and going…
The Mississauga machine is owned and operated by a company called uFly Simulator and provides a vivid experience, says Casado, but it is not a full-scale flight simulator — the kind used by airlines such as Air Canada to train pilots for actual flight.
“There’s a major difference,” says Casado. “This is a fixed-base simulator. It doesn’t move.”
In other words, it lacks the elaborate — and expensive — arrangement of hydraulic pistons and other machinery that enable official flight simulators to mimic almost perfectly the actual experience of flight.
“They are extremely expensive, $35 million apiece,” says Casado. “That’s a tenth the cost of a real airplane.”
By contrast, the Mississauga facility being used with such abandon by CNN cost somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 to build and is not certified by Boeing or by any aeronautical authority. It is mainly used as an entertainment device for children’s parties or business outings.
Thus clears the air on how CNN could afford to hog simulator time so much and not blow huge holes in its budget. A full flight simulator would rack up a massive bill for the network after all this time. But this particular simulator…while still racking up a bill in the thousands…is peanuts by comparison.