Worthington resident John Price has opened Take Flight Ohio, a flight-simulator business that gives anyone the opportunity to pilot a passenger airplane using a state-of-the-art computer simulation.
Take Flight Ohio will not provide professional aviation training.
"The way I describe the business is I want to encourage people to get into aviation and for people who are older, like me, to experience the thrill of flight," said the 51-year-old Price, who is not a pilot.
The business is scheduled to open officially at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at 4816 Sawmill Road in northwest Columbus.
Using a cockpit modeled after a Boeing 737 MAX, the two-seat compartment is filled with dials, computer screens, switches and flashing buttons, most of which have a function.
"As far as I know, nobody in the state has anything like this," he said of the business.
The fee schedule is based on how many minutes customers want to travel and ranges from $34.99 for 10 minutes to $269.99 for 150 minutes. The longer the time in the cockpit, the more customers can learn about how to work the controls, Price said.
"It takes a little bit of practice, because you're not used to using this equipment," he said.
The computer screen has a 210-degree field of view, which means participants can see to the sides and somewhat behind.
The map, which can create geographic scenery anywhere in the world, is accurate, with cities, highways, rivers, clouds and airports, he said.
To demonstrate for a reporter, Price flew from Dayton to Columbus, landing at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
The cockpit is filled with theater-quality sound and chairs vibrate when the engines are started. The experience is complete, from taxiing the runway to landing.
Price can create weather conditions, such as clouds, rain and wind, from his computer to make the flight more difficult to navigate.
Two people can share the cockpit, with Price standing behind, helping them to work all the switches, pedals, yoke (control wheel) and other devices, while teaching them how to read instruments. If a pilot loses altitude or makes another serious mistake, the computer emits visual and audio warnings.
Price said he took flight lessons offered by his former employer, but he didn't have enough time in the air to earn a license.
He said his flight simulator, which cost north of $100,000, is not a substitute for those who want to earn professional pilot credentials.
Price said he got the idea for the business after seeing a YouTube video of a man who built one in his house.
He said he showed the video to his wife, Linda, who supported the idea, even though she's not a gamer or aviation buff.
"He showed that to me, I tried it and it's interesting," Linda Price said.
For more information, go to takeflightohio.com or call 614-947-7370.
Go to the ThisWeekNews YouTube channel to watch John Price demonstrate how to use the flight simulator at Take Flight Ohio.