Monday, April 21, 2014
A man who was forced to give up his dreams of becoming a pilot has spent 15 years building a replica Boeing 747 cockpit in his bedroom
Monday, Apr 21st 2014
Boeing in my bedroom: Man who was forced to give up his dream of becoming a pilot spent 15 years and £20,000 building a replica cockpit in his home
John Davis, 54, constructed the Boeing cockpit at £92,000 Coventry home
Former graphic designer spent 15 years and £20,000 on amazing simulator
He now makes up to £3,000 a month hiring out the simulator
Available to plane enthusiasts, nervous flyers and even pilots to practise in
Replica features light deck panels, passenger chairs and auto-pilot system
Also includes six-foot screen with two monitors, creating panoramic view
By SOPHIE JANE EVANS
PUBLISHED: 10:45 EST, 21 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:06 EST, 21 April 2014
A man who was forced to give up his dreams of becoming a pilot has spent 15 years building a replica cockpit in his bedroom.
John Davis, 54, forked out a staggering £20,000 constructing the life-sized Boeing 747-400 simulator at his £92,000 terraced home in Coventry.
But the amazing replica is not only for display as it is available to other plane enthusiasts, nervous flyers and even professional pilots to practice in.
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Amazing: John Davis has spent 15 years building a life-sized Boeing 747-400 replica cockpit in his bedroom
Detailed: He forked out a staggering £20,000 constructing the simulator, which features a six-foot screen
Terraced home: He built the incredible replica at his terraced home (centre) in Coventry. But it is not only for display as it is available to other plane enthusiasts, nervous flyers and even professional pilots to practice in
Inside the cockpit: Luckily, Miss Mabey (right) does not have a problem with the lack of space in the bedroom
Mr Davis, who developed his aviation obsession as a child, said was forced to give up his wish to become a pilot as he was not good enough at mathematics.
Instead, he spent his time and money building the precise replica cockpit by hand - crafting it into the space he had in his spare bedroom at his two-bedroom home.
The Boeing 747-400 has now 'flown' at least 47,000 miles around the world - with Mr Davis earning up to £3,000 a month.
The former graphic designer, who mans the simulator full-time, said: 'I always longed to be a pilot but now I have the next best thing.
Take a tour around the replica Boeing in John's bedroom
Realistic: Mr Davis, who developed his aviation obsession as a child, said was forced to give up his wish to become a pilot as he was not good enough at mathematics. Above, the replica cockpit in his bedroom
Ready to fly: Instead he spent his time and money building the replica cockpit by hand. Above, the controls
Complex: The Boeing has 'flown' at least 47,000 miles around the world. Above, different parts of the cockpit
'The simulator is so life-like that I have lots of commercial airline pilots coming for a flight. I get to rub shoulders with professional pilots and it’s great that they are so impressed by my simulator.'
Mr Davis, who actually owns only a gliders licence, charges £75 for an hour-long flight, or £125 for two hours.
Couple: Mr Davis , pictured with his partner, Allyson Mabey, charges £75 for an hour-long flight
He said customers visited his house up to seven days a week - saying: 'The simulator is very popular and we often have couples come for the experience.
'It’s amazing how the ladies respond to it. Many women come with their partners and bring a book, but by the end of the flight they want to have a go themselves.'
Luckily, Mr Davis's partner, Allyson Mabey, does not have a problem with the constant stream of visitors,, nor the lack of space in the bedroom.
'I will admit I was surprised when John first told me about the simulator,' said the 53-year-old nurse.
'It is very unusual and it’s not every day you meet someone who has a plane in their back bedroom.
'I was astounded when I first saw the simulator in real life. To look at John’s house you would never guess there was a plane in the back room.'
She added: 'I haven’t flown it myself as there are a lot of things to learn - I leave that to John as he is so passionate.
'But I have sat in it a few times and every time I am just fascinated by the simulator, because it’s so technical and intricate.'
In order to build his pride and joy, Mr Davis studied photographs of Boeing 747-400 cockpits online - and he managed to order most of the parts for the aircraft off the internet.
The light deck panels are made out of MDF wood, while the pilot and two passenger chairs are made out of old leather car seats.
He spent a large amount of his budget for the simulator on the electronics and high-tech equipment.
Popular: Mr Davis said customers visited his house up to seven days a week - saying: 'The simulator is very popular and we often have couples come for the experience.' He added: 'It's amazing how ladies respond to it'
There is an auto-pilot system and a six-foot screen with two 19inch monitors - creating the all-important panoramic view of the simulated landscape.
'For me it is important to make the flight feel as lifelike as possible so I have invested in a great sound system with a subwoofer which vibrates so my passengers can get the experience of take-off and landing,' he said.
At work: Mr Davis even uses his simulator to help people with a fear of flying, by letting them sit through a realistic flight experience
Mr Davis, who always wears his full pilot uniform when taking a flight, even carries out in-flight announcements telling passengers to 'fasten their seatbelts'.
'My passengers can fly from Birmingham International or London Gatwick to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to on their first flight and then progress further afield to the Canary Islands if they fancy,' he said.
'It does take a while to learn your way around the cockpit as there are 90 different switches and three sound systems.
'It has taken me thousands of hours in man power to create this craft and even more in money, but I am pleased to now be earning a living from it. It’s the best job in the world - after being a real pilot.'
Mr Davis even uses his simulator to help people with a fear of flying, by letting them sit through a realistic flight experience on his £125 two-hour flying awareness course.
'The aim is to help people who are nervous about flying by letting them get used to the feel and sounds of a real plane,' he said.
'Many customers want to browse my simulated airport database to find their holiday destination, and fly there on their own.'
The cockpit's software uses includes different landscapes from around the world, including the Alps and the New York skyline - and Mr Davis has a list of international airports that customers can fly to.
'Because I’m not a trained pilot I can’t actually teach people how to fly, but I can help flight enthusiasts feel like a pilot in control of their own jumbo jet and I get to be a captain every day, all from the comfort of my home,' he said.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2609512/Man-forced-dream-pilot-spent-15-years-20-000-building-replica-cockpit-home.html#ixzz2za9dxtWj
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Posted by Pete Moss at 4/21/2014 11:31:00 PM