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    7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 25, 2008 9:16 AM by DomainDiva

    Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators

    Jarrod66 Newbie
      I have been contemplating a business with flight simulation for entertainment for some time. What I am currently wanting to do is purchase a setup that has a trailer that holds two cockpit simulators. I intend to use the trailer at air shows, festivals, corporate outings etc... Once this part of the business turns out to be successful, I would consider having a permanent store setup that would consist of briefing rooms, training room, and much higher fidelity simulators. This setup up could be used then for entertainment purposes and corporate team concept type training. The trailer setup would run approx 70k. I could probably only invest about 12k myself and then get a loan for the rest. I am considering a partner and have yet to get to talk to him.

      I guess what my question is...does this sound like I am heading in the right direction? This would be my first time for owning my own business. It would be only part time (at least as long as I am only doing the trailer setup). Any advice on what I should be doing would be great. Again, I am just recently beginning to really study what it takes for a small business so I apoligize for sounding like a "newbie".

      Thanks,
      Jarrod
        • Re: Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators
          LUCKIEST Guide
          Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators, Welcome Jarrod

          The idea of a flight simulator sounds both good and exciting. Tell me more. You said this would be part time
          in the beginning, What else do you do??

          If I wanted to go into my own business I would do two things. One, Develop a Business and Marketing Plan.
          Two, Contact SCORE. SCORE is FREE. They will talk to you and advise you.

          Good luck, LUCKIEST
          • Re: Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators
            DomainDiva Ranger
            Real cockpit simulators are hugely expensive. Are you contemplating new or used equipment? Are you looking for the latest simulators say for B757, 767, 777, A320, A340 or would you be happy with some old DC10 or 727 simulators? Entertainment is entertainment....

            As far as the second plan to have 'training and briefing rooms' you may need to think twice as you could be entering into FAA regulated areas (such as flight training). Without an FAA flight training certificate (then you would be a flight school) you cannot conduct simulator sessions for pilot training purposes. Even the APPEARANCE of flight training could land you in super hot water.

            When you mention 'higher fidelity simulators' are you talking about the latest and greatest? Simulators cost upwards of several million dollars.

            Being a newbie is OK....however you really need to get some real 'aircraft world' advice. It seems like you want to do a lot of things...some of which you are not certificated (yes it's a word in my world) to do.

            If it was me....I would look into purchasing one DC10 and one 727 simulator. These aircraft each have three engines and the DC10 has an odd gear configuration. Skip the 'briefing rooms', training rooms, and high fidelity simulators. I am not even sure that you can purchase these at this time. The object is for people to have fun...not you getting caught in a regulatory nightmare...which is where you are headed.

            In case you are wondering...I used to work at a little airline called Braniff in Aircraft Maintenance Planning and Records.
              • Re: Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators
                Jarrod66 Newbie
                Hi DD,

                I am actually looking more at fighter jet and WWII cockpit simulators. I have been building sims for several years now. I recently sold my F-16 pit that I had for personal use. I have done much research on cockpit simulators.

                Also, my business would be purely and clearly for entertainment. You can see what I have in mind as an end product if you check out aircombatzone.com

                And I was referring to higher fidelity pits...not neccessarily "High" fidelity pits as I know where you can go with the costs on those.

                I've actually gotten all my research done on that side of the wall. I am really looking for advice for the business side of things.

                Please understand that I do appreciate your comments..but I don't want to come across on the board as someone who hasn't a clue about the type of business I want and that I haven't researched the products available to me to accomplish it. I already have a supplier that can supply everything that I really need in a turnkey product.

                Again though, I really appreciate you taking the time to give me the information you did.

                J.
              • Re: Wanting to start a small business with Flight Simulators
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                Additional connections/considerations for your early planning might be museums and schools. For instance, if you have an air museum or hands-on science center in your area, either one might be a good place to contact -- you could help draw visitors (because you'd be something new to experience), so they could help promote you and get the word out. It sounds like there could be an educational "middle ground" that lies between regulated flight training and carnival ride amusement -- in which case local school districts may be interested. Texas (and especially your area where so much rebuilding is in progress), may not be the best place to find public funding or support for something like that right now -- but if you know of a local company that sponsors things like math and science fairs, Discovery channel and PBS broadcasts, magnet school programs, etc. you might approach that firm with a proposal seeking private sponsorship (which would also give you a corporate connection for your second stage expansion). Hope that helps. Best wishes.