Lakeland Aero Club announced that they have added a Redbird FMX full motion flight simulator to their fleet. While Redbird Flight Simulations typically prides itself on a “white glove” delivery and installation service for its advanced simulators, they took a different approach with the Lakeland Aero Club when members asked to perform the installation themselves. Two of the club’s student leaders, Katie Esker (a sophomore) and Sean Stoltz (a freshman) visited Redbird Headquarters in Austin, TX last month for installation training. They spent two and half days learning how to assembly and maintain the Aero Club’s new simulator under the tutelage of installation manager, Kenyon Odell. After the simulator was completely built at Redbird, it was then dismantled and put in a crate for shipping. The deconstructed FMX has arrived to Lakeland, ready for the students to build in its permanent home at the club’s new facilities at Lakeland Linder Airport.
During the first part of Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and Expo this week, now intimately familiar with the simulator, Esker and Stotlz will oversee its construction and guide fellow club members along the way. They anticipate three days to build the device and plan unveil it during a pancake breakfast on Thursday. Once the simulator is up and running, the students will draft operating guidelines and begin to use it for flight training. The simulator can be configured to operate as a Piper Warrior, Piper Seminole, or a Cessna 172.
The Lakeland Aero Club was founded with the mission to introduce young people to all aspects of aviation. The club not only provides an accessible platform for to learning to fly, but its members are empowered to make the decisions on how it is operated and run. Members are also offered experience in aircraft restoration and maintenance.
“Lakeland Aero Club provides its members a variety of amazing opportunities through active participation and practical experience. So, it was only natural that the club ask to build the simulator themselves. We were happy to accommodate and had lots of fun training the students. They are smart, talented, and professional and have been some of the best customers to work with,” said Redbird’s President, Charlie Gregoire.
Those interested in watching the progress of the simulator build can visit the Lakeland Aero Club hangar located near the main entrance of Sun ‘n Fun.