(Above) Vybhava Srinivasan and Deepak Agarwal -- the brains behind Flight4Fantasy.
By Aaron J Mathew & Athul Menath
This will remain as one experience that we will cherish forever. A Super Sunday and on a special assignment for Tarmak007! Bangalore’s Forum Mall was abuzz with activities when we checked into Flitgh4Fantasy (F4F) – a happening spot for all wannabe flyers.
Most of us dreamt of becoming a pilot while at school and for many that would have remained just a dream. Now, you can put all that beyond and enter a world which is a touch closer to reality. The Flight4Fantasy is probably the right place in Bangalore to add wings to your dreams. ‘Fly’ for fun. ‘Fly’ fearlessly.
Located on the 4th floor of the mall, this flight simulation centre only opened two months back, but already logging in over 1000 visitors. And, on week-ends, your flights could get delayed if you don’t get the slots booked. F4F offers customers a complete flight simulation experience onboard both fighter jets and commercial planes.
The software used for the jet fighters is popular with the Canadian Air Force and NASA while training rookie pilots. “It’s a 3D experience. On the fighter, one can scout and engage targets. True value for money,” says Govi, a 7th grade student, who had the chance to be at the controls of F4F.
But, the main draw is the Boeing 737 simulator. The cockpit built on 1:1 scale of 737 provides weather data in near-real time -- with only a 2-minute difference. You get the option to fly over 20000 airports across the world. You can choose the weather conditions and timings. A co-pilot briefs you about the controls and guides you through the entire flight. The simulation takes you over various places in Europe and Asia, on real flight routes and in real flight time. The buildings visible from the runways are images of the original cities. Every parameter can of course be varied according to your requirement.
The two men behind this venture are Vybhava Srinivasan and Deepak Agarwal -- Chartered Accountants by profession currently the Directors of this enterprise. “The idea of creating a commercial flight simulator, the first of its kind in India, was born six months back. It took four months for us to set up F4F,” says Vybhava, who has been into flight simulation for more than a decade.
F4F has already earned a handful of patrons in this short period, which include professional pilots and trainees. “Well trained pilots have told us that it is a very realistic experience in all aspects. Many customers who have tried flight simulation in foreign countries gave the feedback that this is better than what they’ve done. Our biggest challenge was to provide this service at about 20% of the price that is charged elsewhere,” says Deepak.
The enterprise is insistent about maintaining a ‘non-gaming’ image for itself, as the crowd coming in then would be really different. They have also had to reject many parents requesting them to teach their kids to fly. A smiling Vybhava tells us that most of the dads, who just come to drop their kids, usually end up in the pilot seats. “It is really a stress-busting experience. Definitely different from what we have experienced at aerospace museums and during exhibitions. There’s a bit to learn too, while having fun,” says Preethi, a Junior Research Fellow with Christ University, whom we met at F4F.
Aaron J Mathew is an engineering student in Pune with keen interest in aerospace and artificial intelligence. Athul Menath is a PG student in Defence and Strategic Studies with Madras University, currently on a two-month internship with Tarmak007. Athul is a travel freak and writes occasional reports for newspapers.