As a young boy Edward Jackson dreamt of becoming an airline pilot. Fast-forward 23 years and he is running his own training school for other aspiring pilots through a flight simulation business.
Icarus Simulation, based in Langley Park, County Durham is the brainchild of Edward Jackson who saw a gap in the market for aspiring pilots who wanted more training, at a fraction of the cost of being in a plane.
His business has also found a niche market in other related areas including providing corporate team building, challenges for schoolchildren and even an annual, sell-out Santa Sleigh Flight Training lesson on behalf of Santa Claus in the run-up to Christmas for ages 4 to 12.
He said: “Our training facility is fully equipped to enable an aspiring pilot to experience scenarios that cannot be replicated in the real world for safety reasons; such as smoke in the cockpit, electrical failure or an engine fire. Our fully immersive light aircraft set-up allows students to fly ‘solo’, making all the relevant calls via a headset to our Air Traffic Control Instructor Station. Our high definition, wrap-around visuals provide exception clarity and create a very real environment. Our aim is to increase student confidence, competence and promote safety in a challenging environment at a very cost effective way.”
The cockpit was built by sourcing the best pedals, yokes, throttle quadrant and an instrument panel from across Europe and installing them all into a customised ‘fuselage’ with the help of Willow Triumph, Darlington to provide a training environment that is as close to the real thing as physically possible. A series of upgrades are also planned for the coming months in the run up to what is promising to be an incredibly busy 3rd year of operations.
The business caters for all levels and ages, not just trainee pilots, with sessions available for children from 8 years old and the oldest client, a 78-year-old man. Recent initiatives include working with the local Cubs, Scouts and Guides to facilitate their Aviation Badges, providing hours towards the Bronze Skills Award section for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and also Age Concern, who are looking to provide social gatherings based around learning to fly as a unique way to maintain and improve older people’s coordination skills and mental dexterity.
Edward Jackson said: “I joined the Chamber to open up networks of businesses who may want to use our simulator as part of a staff incentive scheme, client days or a corporate staff training exercise, to help promote a range of skills including forward planning, leadership, communication, resourcefulness and even crisis management; ideal for select groups of four.”
Susan Anderson, relationship manager, the Chamber said: “Icarus is a really unique company and it is great that the North East has this type of facility on our door step. It has made having a flying experience within the reach of so many people who might otherwise not be able to afford it.”
In his career Edward has flown all over the world and accrued thousands of hours of flight instruction and experienced many of the problems his business simulates including bird strikes, engine failures and undercarriage problems – all of which have fortunately ended in safe landings.
His business is a joint venture with his wife Amelia, a trained teacher who has been instrumental in helping to produce the teaching and training materials and classroom environment used to provide the educational course content for the tuition.
Edward added, “We are constantly evolving and improving our services and facilities and are thrilled with the customer response to date with an unparalleled level of positive feedback over our first 20 months of operations.”
Further information is available at www.icarus-simulation.com.