Redbird, AOPA Officially Launch Jay Simulator
At Sun ‘n Fun AOPA and Redbird, along with numerous partners including Flying, launched a new kind of simulator. The AOPA Jay by Redbird is an all-in-one solution for pilots and other flying enthusiasts who want to get up and flying using a desktop sim without having to engineer a system themselves. The Jay, which was designed and is manufactured by Redbird, maker of a lineup of FAA-approved flight simulation devices, is marketed and supported by AOPA. The unit, which goes for $2,495 complete, arrives in a box and can be set up in a matter of minutes. We’ve done it. It couldn’t be easier.
Once you get it set up and plugged into the internet — with a standard ethernet cable or optional Wi-Fi dongle — the fun begins.
Unlike any competing product we know of, the Jay is designed to allow pilots to easily and reliably fly scenarios that push their limits. That way they can gain valuable experience that would be prohibitively expensive or too risky to get in the real airplane.
The quality of the machine is excellent. It’s heavy, with a steel case, solid built-in yoke, throttle and mixture, and optional high-quality rudder pedals. All flight and navigation instruments show up on the panel, so there’s no dedicated knobs or buttons as there are on Redbird’s FAA-approved devices.
The killer app, or in this case “apps,” are scenarios. AOPA, Flying and others are contributing flight scenarios based on articles in the magazines that Jay users can download directly to the sim. The scenarios are remarkably comprehensive, with the appropriate charts, mission descriptions, frequencies tuned and weather. As you fly, there are events that are triggered — engine trouble, adverse weather, terrain conflicts, you name it, complete with ATC communications and more. It’s a deeply immersive experience.
It’s also one that is sure to grow as developers come up with new and interesting ways to make use not only of the scenario scheme but of emerging multi-player capabilities.