DREAM FULFILLED: 737-800 simulator, Las Vegas

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UAL701 Tim Haibach
Posts: 55
Joined: July 27th, 2019, 3:43 pm

DREAM FULFILLED: 737-800 simulator, Las Vegas

Post by UAL701 Tim Haibach » October 21st, 2019, 2:28 am

I have finally fulfilled a childhood dream of flying in a full motion airline simulator. I found "Airline Captain for a Day" on the web and signed up for a 2hr flight block. An additional hour of classroom "familiarization" is included prior to entering the simulator. I can finally confirm how the real switches and knobs felt and were manipulated compared to desktop sim, and how the real aircraft handled compared to a desktop sim.


1) Nosewheel steering is used up until takeoff roll. There really is no max taxi speed from ATC, but a good rule of thumb is 40kts for shallow angle high speed taxiway turnoffs, below 20kts on straight and below 10kts on a turn which is faster than it seems out the window. You have to have a firm grip on the wheel and feels like the power steering went out in a car. I ended up over-correcting a bit so minor swaying from the taxiway centerline. No big deal.

2)First flight of the day: Pretty much want to get your apu running as soon as possible to heat/cool the aircraft before passengers start boarding. FLIGHTDECK2SIM waits almost until pushback before starting the apu which seems strange turning packs on then right back off again less than 5 min later. My instructor was a retired airline captain who worked for 5 different airlines.

3) The yoke was a lot smoother than I thought in real life and not much pressure is needed to pull back during takeoff. It felt pretty close to the Saitek yoke without the dead band.

4) The metal rudder pedals felt a bit awkward and I felt like my feet were up behind the dash to reach the toe brakes which felt a little weird. Lower end of moderate pressure when applying brakes.

5) 5 Point harness was cool, and the sliding track for the seat is offset from the yoke to allow you to get in and sit down before being centered. The raise/lower seat had a handle that looked and felt like a car center console e-brake lever with top button.

6) Using the actual TOGA buttons on the throttles was cool! This aircraft did not have auto ignition.

7) Climbout felt exactly like X Plane using headshake plug-in.

8) The haze with clear weather almost made it look like fog in the distance.

9) This particular simulator was 11 yrs old, and the graphics looks like FSX out of the box in 2006. Obviously the flight model was priority. The tug in X Plane is WAY better than the actual simulator. The aircraft/airport modeling is way better in XP and P3D.

10)The cockpit really did feel like everything was squished as close to the glare-shield as possible. Most sports cars have more room laterally.

11) Most of the push buttons on the EFIS has lettering almost completely worn off.

12)FMC was just like ZIBO except the real sim didn't have ACARS. FMC wouldn't let me select a waypoint above a discontinuity to clear it. I had to select the next waypoint below the discontinuity to clear it.

13) Modern 737NG aircraft push LNAV & VNAV on the ground prior pushback, but definitely before takeoff. CMD A was engaged above 400+ AGL.

14) I had a very smooth landing on the centerline (winds less than 10kts) with no shaking or jarring like you see in some actual flight in the cockpit videos. I even surprised myself. My instructor was also impressed with my level of knowledge as an armchair pilot, lol.
**************THERE WAS NO FPM INDICATOR ANYWHERE AND DID NOT DISPLAY ON THE GLASS AFTER TOUCHDOWN!!!********************** It's all by feel and smooth steady callouts the last 50 ft.

That's all that comes to mind for now. Questions are welcomed. Yes it was EXPENSIVE!!!! But after doing it once, I am satisfied. I don't make the big bucks to make this an annual trip- yet ;-) I'll post some pics when I download pics from my wife's phone. She is a special woman and allowed me to fly on our anniversary ;-)~

See you back in the virtual skies once I return home to Houston from my stay here in Las Vegas!
Last edited by UAL701 Tim Haibach on October 23rd, 2019, 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UAL008 Kevin Finch
VP Events
Posts: 349
Joined: April 25th, 2016, 11:52 pm
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: DREAM FULFILLED: 737-800 simulator, Las Vegas

Post by UAL008 Kevin Finch » October 23rd, 2019, 6:49 pm

Really great synopsis, Tim; thanks for sharing.

You know that we're all living vicariously through you right now, right? :)

UAL124 Joel Wolk
Posts: 172
Joined: March 4th, 2018, 6:30 pm
Location: Bolingbrook, IL

Re: DREAM FULFILLED: 737-800 simulator, Las Vegas

Post by UAL124 Joel Wolk » October 24th, 2019, 7:43 am


WANT to see those pics!!

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