I flew the Redbird FMX

Posted by on Oct 16, 2010 in "Hangar Flying" | 0 comments

My name is Todd Lohenry and in the spirit of full disclosure, I built this website for Tailwind Flight Center and I consult with them on social media issues. Yesterday, I traveled to their new facility at Outagamie County Airport in Appleton, WI to cover the John and Martha King visit. While we were waiting, owner Pat Heil asked if I’d like to take the Redbird FMX for a spin — as if he had to ask!

Now while I’m not a pilot, I’m no stranger to general aviation either. I’ve taken the yoke for short flights from Antigo to Oshkosh and West Bend to Oshkosh, but I’ve also flown from West Bend to Vero Beach, FL with LoPresti CEO RJ Siegel back in the day when I worked with LoPresti. At the time, I was also one of less than a dozen people who had flown the LoPresti Fury. I’ve also flown about a million hours in Microsoft Flight Simulator and other aviation simluations back in the day when I had time for computer games. Finally, I actually took 1.5 hours of instruction from Curt Drumm at Lakeshore Aviation a couple of years ago but never had the time or the $$$ to get my ticket…

All this to say I’m a serious ‘wannabe’ — maybe much like you. I have enough experience with flight simulators to know what they’re missing and enough experience in a piston aircraft to know what the real thing feels like and believe me, the Redbird FMX is the real deal!

While we were waiting for John and Martha to arrive, Pat and I boarded the simulator. I took off twice for comparison purposes; once with no motion, once with the ‘full motion’ experience the FMX provides. First off, let me tell you the cockpit is beautiful and a fully functional experience that quickly makes you forget you’re in a simulator. There are 7 displays arranged in such a way to give you a 180+ degree view of your environment. The instructor sits at your right side with a computer that controls every aspect of your environment, relieving you of the burden of having to set up the simulator and allowing you to focus on the experience.

From King Day @ ATW

I ‘took off’ from Outagamie County Airport twice on my way to Oshkosh — once with motion off, the other with the full FMX experience. By the second takeoff, I had forgotten I was using a simulator. Instructor Pat was there right beside me, coaching me all the way, just like real flight training — for me the best part about it was getting a realistic experience with no fear of damaging an expensive aircraft or injuring myself or an instructor at a fraction of the cost of training in a real aircraft.

Unfortunately, just as I was lining up for approach at Oshkosh, we received word that John and Martha had arrived and we had to pause the simulation. So for now, I’m still hanging 2,800 feet in the air somewhere north of Wittman Field. Tailwind Flight Center has the only Redbird FMX in northern Wisconsin and it’s available at the cost of $80 per hour. If you’re interested in flying the Redbird, contact Tailwind Flight Center and set up a ‘flight’ — like me, you don’t believe how realistic a simulator can be…

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