By Abbie Major
A team of 16 pilots and crew from WorldFlight Perth will fly a Boeing 747-400 and 737-800 cockpit simulator “around the world” to raise thousands of dollars for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Both volunteer crews will “take off” from “Sydney” and hover over 49 destinations including London, Orlando in the US and Cancun, Mexico, before landing back in Sydney a week later.
Their week-long mission will include frequent roster changes and a tag-team effort from the support crews and pilots on-site.
One of the two Perth crews, of seven pilots, will use the full-motion cockpit simulator built and owned by engineer Greg Hateley which is a replica of a commercial Boeing 747-400 aircraft.Mr Hateley built the simulator into the living room of his Belmont home, where the pilots will embark on their mission, and engineered the system to replicate views of any geographic location.
The simulator also identifies changes in density, turbulence, wind, cloud coverage and rain levels.
“Last year I wasn’t ready for WorldFlight because the simulator wasn’t up to scratch and had multiple technical issues but now it meets the aviation regulatory standards for the event,” Mr Hateley said.
The second Perth team, of eight pilots, will operate their flight from Malaga and will follow the same flight path as their fellow colleagues.
Over the seven days, the pilots and crew will land in 49 airports, cover an estimated 45,000 nautical miles and operate in real hours to mirror commercial airline times.
The WorldFlight event, established in Perth in 2013 by pilot co-trainer Darren Bathurst, has grown considerably in the past four years.
“This year we are planning on using a lot more local air controllers, we have to learn different accents, different terminologies and different rules and regulations for each airspace – it’s going to be chaos,” Mr Bathurst said.
“Last year we raised $22,000 for the RFDS.’’
The RFDS relies on donations to help deliver a 24/7 emergency evacuation service to individuals living in rural and remote Australia.
The Bounce contacted the RFDS of Western Australia, but a spokesperson for the organisations was unable to comment on the fundraiser.
You can donate to the WorldFlight Perth event by visiting their Facebook page.