Flying on a 747 from a Basement Runway
747 Flight Simulator
One flying enthusiast has discovered a way to indulge in his fantasy life without ever leaving his home. Marco Governali of Calgary built a 747 flight simulator, in his basement, that allows him to replicate the a pilot’s moves and decisions. Through the simulator Governali flies in real time and contends with the kind of issues that a real pilot may face.
Marco Governali lives in Calgary and has been an airplane aficionado since childhood. His enthusiasm is simple “I love airplanes.”
Governali says that airplanes have always fascinated him, in particular the Boeing 747. “I don’t know whether it’s because of the hump on the top or because it was the first plane I was on when I came to Canada in 1983” he says.
Beginning in 1995 Governali started looking for ways to take his passion to the next level. He started small – “just a monitor and a little computer” – and then added bigger monitors, multiple monitors, larger computers, one TV screen, multiple TV screen and finally a host of additional tech features that brought him to the question “now what?”
The evolution of his project was partly facilitated by the access that he had to the materials and resources. He explained that “I am fortunate that not only do I own a computer store, so computers are a no-brainer for me, but second, I am pretty good at building things.”
In the end the thousands of hours and roughtly $25,000 that Governali invested turned out to be worth the effort. He had a real flight simulator, one that allows him to live out his dream of piloting a plane in a way that fits his personal circumstances.
“To see your baby, if you want to call it, grow and become better and better and better — that is the fascinating part.”
Governali has connected his simulator, in real time, to the air traffic control systems of major airports. “Let’s say I tune it to Montreal. If it’s raining or snowing right now in Montreal, my simulator will rain and snow, same temperature, same winds.” He says that the process of building the simulator was the high point but now, his simulator can combine with his imagination to take him to new destinations and new challenges.
A flight simulator is a device that artificially re-creates the environment in which an aircraft is flying and the flight itself. Trainee pilots use flight simulators as do airplane designers. A flight simulator replicates the conditions which govern how an aircraft flies, the effects of other air systems on a craft, how the craft reacts to varied applications of flight controls and how the craft might react to dynamics such as turbulence, wind shear, air density, cloud, precipitation and other external factors.
Different people use flight simulation for different reasons. Pilots-in-training use flight simulators as do airplane designers and developers. Individuals who need to research the characteristics of a specific craft will use a flight simulator to examine control, handling and other issues.
Gamers and Simulators
Gamers appreciate the boost that simulators can give to their gambling activities. Since most people can’t build a top-notch simulator in their basement many gaming companies create simulation games that offer a high-quality gameplay that replicates real life.
Simulation video games are designed to copy real life activities. Once the activity has been put in the form of a game a player can enjoy the thrills of driving, hunting, playing sports, engaging in role-playing, conducting business deals, going to war or participating in other real life events from his own home.
There are also specific casino simulation games which include card playing and other interactive gambling pursuits. The possibilities that simulation games offer to players looking for more imaginative gaming action is endless.
The advantage of playing simulation games is that these exercises centre around a variety of skills including strategy, planning and learning. Through simulation exercises the player hones his gaming skills by experiencing “real life” events through his games.
Research, in which simulation games are compared to other relaxation techniques, seems to show that the simulation games are preferable, though more research needs to be conducted to see is this bears out over time.
Governali sees his future in the further development of flight simulators – both the one that he built and ones that he might build. He said that “if you like something, you want to do the best that you can. Eventually I got tired of flying a desk. To make it more interesting and challenging, you have no choice but to go to the next step.”