Friends of Mum and Dadabulous have a gorgeous little boy who is completely obsessed by planes, helicopters and all things that fly. His enthusiasm extends to going to IKEA Tempe (which overlooks Kingsford Smith airport) and watching the planes taxi about from the caffeteria window. His Mum deserves plenty of free coffee for going along with that one. When our budding pilot turned 5 his Mum wanted to give him an aeronautical themed party and turning to the font of all knowledge – Google, she discovered Flight Experience Darling Harbour. A party package for six kids was locked in and Ps 1 & 2 were lucky enough to be invited.
Flight Experience is the real deal. It is a true to life replica of the cockpit from a Boeng 737-800 and hosts are both experienced pilots and qualified instructors. The facility is used for actual pilot training but its mostly a joy ride for wannabe fly boys and girls.
At the party our instructors certainly looked the party dressed in pilot uniforms complete with shiny brimmed caps. They guided each of the children through a short simulated flight and helped them to take off and land the jet themselves. The kids got to push buttons and pull levers giving them a real feel for what it is like at the helm of a commercial flight. Our P1 was unsure about the whole thing believing she wasn’t up to the job but the instructor gentley coaxed her through a near perfect landing at Hong Kong airport. (One of the world’s trickiest we are told). Not a bad effort for a five year old. Dadabulous, an IT guru who is not easily impressed, was full of praise for the graphics and the screen resolution. I was amazed by how authentic the experience felt. I had the sensation of vertigo and that flippy floppy feeling in my stomach as the plane moved up and down. I would have quite enjoyed taking the wheel myself but someone had to chase P2. Sigh.
Afterwards the celebrations continued at nearby Crinitis Restaurant where we feasted on slabs of pizza the size of bath mats and a strawberry mousse cake from the Gods. The kids got caught in the gravitational pull of the restaurant’s foosball table. They played match after match despite only just being able to see over the table top. When the thrill of the world game wore off, they donned pizza stands for helmets and pretended to be alien robots. I doubt the restaurant staff found this quite as amusing as I did.
Mumabulous Verdict – 7/10. The flight simulation its itself was amazing and the birthday boy had a absolute blast. I would give it a higher score but I feel it was better suited to a slightly older age group. The time at the cockpit was short and there was alot of waiting around which frayed the little one’s patience. Keep in mind also that if the website is anything to go by this activity is NOT cheap. Perhaps its best kept for when your aspiring Top Gun hits his or her 10th birthday.