Hampshire’s latest attraction ready for take-off

Ever wondered what it’s like to fly a commercial airliner?

Visitors to Hampshire can now find out by taking the controls of the world’s best-selling aircraft and flying to any of 23,000 worldwide airports – without even leaving the ground.

A new cutting-edge flight simulator featuring a fully replicated Airbus A320 cockpit has just opened next to the National Flight Air Traffic training centre in Whiteley, near Fareham.

Billed as a one-of-a-kind attraction in the area – a county rich in aviation history – it gives budding pilots a chance to take-off and land at a host of airports worldwide, as well as choose from various routes, weather conditions or in-flight emergencies.

Run by 3Twenty Aviation, which was set up by two qualified pilots, it features high-definition 200-degree wrap around visuals and an immersive sound system that transports users into the cockpit of an Airbus A320.

Flying solo or with friends, the state-of-the-art simulator is meticulously designed to replicate the look, feel, and functionality of the real aircraft with accurate cockpit controls and displays.

Experiences range from a one-hour session that includes up to four take-offs and landings costing £140, through to a four-hour flight simulation for £510. For the ultimate flight package for any aviation enthusiast or wannabe commercial airline pilot, there is the chance to be a ‘Pilot for a Day’, spread across an entire eight hour ‘shift’, for £995.

The simulator is open seven days a week, subject to availability, and prices are per person.

Meanwhile, Hampshire itself is home to a host of aviation heritage attractions.

The story of the history of aviation is told at Farnborough Air Sciences Trust, housed in a building that dates from 1908 and built as the headquarters of the Royal Balloon School. Along with historic aircraft on display, the Museum – staffed by volunteers – features Sir Frank Whittle’s earliest jet engines and research models of Concorde.

Tucked away in Northwest Hampshire, the Army Flying Museum holds an extensive collection charting over 100 years of the British Army in the air, with more than 35 fixed wing and rotary aircraft on display. And the Solent Sky Museum reveals more about the development of aviation and aircraft manufacturing in the Solent area over the past century.

Southampton, itself, is also integral to the story of Britain’s most famous fighter aircraft, the Spitfire. The prototype flew from Southampton Airport and production of the earliest models was based at the Supermarine factory in Woolston before it was bombed. But production continued in and around the city, dispersed in locations as varied as bus garages and launderettes, until the end of the war ().

For more details about the new simulator, and to book sessions visit www.3twentyaviation.co.uk

All tourist information for Hampshire can be found at www.visit-hampshire.co.uk

Photos: 3Twenty Aviation