A COUPLE’S passion for flying has taken off in a whole new direction landing them with the UK’s first virtual airport and flight simulator - and it’s all based in a Hoyland warehouse.

Fly Me opened its doors earlier this month, offering heavily discounted prices to furloughed pilots who may be missing the experience.

Based at Shortwood Business Park, the authentic flying experience was founded in 2019 by a group of pilots and aviation enthusiasts who shared the vision of creating a flight simulator experience like no other.

From the second you walk into the ‘airport’ you’re greeted by an air hostess - co-owner Becky Hutchinson - who takes baggage before seating visitors in a realistic departure lounge where people wait to take their flight.

The flight simulator itself, a genuine Boeing 737 aircraft, was previously operated by a major UK airline and since its opening has been used by furloughed pilots in a bid to keep their skill to a high level.

In Text Promo Image

Becky told the Chronicle: “We’re based just off junction 36 of the M1 and we’re the UK’s first combined flight simulator and virtual airport experience.

“We had a soft opening for furloughed pilots last month and we offered them a heavily discounted price on what they would usually pay, and we did this because we understand the importance of them not de-skilling whilst being off work.

“It was a really successful scheme and I know a lot of them enjoyed it.

“I know I’m biased but I’d say that we’re the best virtual airport experience across the whole of Europe, maybe even the world.”

It’s anything but a ‘plane’ experience, with activities also available to make people comfortable with the whole flying journey.

Andy Hyde, chief executive of Fly Me, added: “We’re looking at offering sessions for people that are worried about flying, and we’re even thinking about offering fortnightly activities, led by actual aviation experts, for children who want to learn more about what it takes to become a pilot.”