Mansfield pilot and his ex-collier dad build state of the art fight simulator - in a shed

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A Mansfield Woodhouse pilot is flying high after he built a fully fledged £50,000 flight simulator - in his dad’s shed.

Daniel May, a commercial pilot and his dad Terry a retired blacksmith have created a full scale Boeing 737 flight deck which is so true to life it is actually being used to train other aviators.

Inside the new 737 flgith simulator at Westair Blackpool Airport. The project is the work of commercial pilot Daniel May.

Inside the new 737 flgith simulator at Westair Blackpool Airport. The project is the work of commercial pilot Daniel May.

Former Manor School pupil Daniel said the amazing achievement is a tribute to the craftsmanship of his father.

“Whilst training for my Airline Transport Licence, I used several simulators (Boeing 737 800NG) around the UK.

“Despite their unbelievable complexity, I thought to myself, ‘I could build one of these’. “

As the airline industry is going from strength to strength after the recession, there would be a market for people to use it for gift experiences and for commercial operators to hire it for training.

“So it began, in August 2017. Me and my dad Terry, a 76-year-old retired blacksmith from the coal mines (Sherwood and a few others), set about building a full-scale Boeing 737 flight deck; in my dad’s loft / garden work shop in Mansfield Woodhouse.

“Using a range of seasoned skills that he learned down the mines, and contemporary ones learnt through school / university, we gave it our best shot. He led me through the metal work, fibre glass construction etc and I him through the electronic interfacing.”

Just over a year later, the simulator is finished.

The final result was so accurate that the pair have partnered with Westair, a leading commercial flight training school to facilitate its use.

The simulator has been Moved to Blackpool Airport and opens its doors to the Public in January.

Daniel said to buy a simulator commercially would cost more than £200,000.

“Tthanks to the good nature of local metal suppliers in Mansfield, Sutton and Worksop wedid it all for under £50,000 without compromise.

“The final product simulates 98 per cent of the real thing - everything from engine fires to hydraulic failures.

“We have had type rated pilots who currently fly for the airlines in the cockpit and they have been unanimously blown away by how accurate it is.

“Many have stated that the visuals are better than the simulators they were trained in. All future experiences purchased by the public will be instructed by real world pilots.”

The graphics system, developed by Lockheed Martin, simulates the entire planet and 24,000+ airports.

Daniel added: “There are no plans on the market for how to build something like this.

“It just goes to show what skills former coal miners possess, even at 76 years old!”

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