Inverness jet plane enthusiast Krystian Rabiej's life-size Boeing 737 simulator set to be complemented by a thrilling F-16 fighter jet cockpit experience at Ness Aviation's Inshes base
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An Inverness jet plane enthusiast who built a life-size cockpit and flight simulator in his garage is set to offer a new adrenaline-charged experience for wannabe pilots.
Grounded by lockdown in 2020, dad-of-three Krystian Rabiej spent eight months relieving boredom by piecing together a Boeing 737 replica front section – and then made a business of it.
Since then, Ness Aviation has enabled hundreds of flying enthusiasts, party groups and even trained pilots to test their aviation skills in the virtual skies, landing – notionally at least – at more than 20,000 worldwide airports.
The popularity of the incredibly life-like simulator has just seen Mr Rabiej (37) move into bigger premises at Inshes this month.
There, customers are treated to a realistic check-in experience, with passenger seating and vertiginous window vistas of moving scenery below.
The firm is now set for take off on a second attraction – a replica F-16 fighter jet cockpit.
Again self-built by Mr Rabiej, it will allow adrenaline junkie customers to experience what it is like to fly a fighter plane through combat scenarios at speeds of around 1500mph.
Mr Rabiej said he should be ready to install the brand new attraction within the next couple of months.
“We’re very excited about the new premises, with lots more space and lots more happening,” Mr Rabiej, who has three staff and contracted help, said.
“I’ve been keeping it quite secret, but we are preparing another simulator for an F-16 fighter jet.
“There is also more space for the cabin of the Boeing 737 and you can actually experience those flights as a passenger now, too.
“Relatively speaking, the Boeing is a big, slow, heavy commercial plane, whereas the fighter is incredibly fast and we believe it will make for a very exciting experience.
“We have a lot of RAF bases around the north of Scotland, so I’m hoping it will prove popular with people fancying a quick blast around the Highland mountains or through different war scenarios, perhaps trained pilots as well.”
Ness Aviation’s first simulator was named 2021/22 flight simulator experience of the year at the Corporate LiveWire Scotland Prestige Awards.
“We’ve had all manner of kids, adults, pilots coming along and our instructors are pretty much fully-trained pilots themselves,” Mr Rabiej said.
“I had a teenager who was preparing to go to flying school in London to train to be a pilot.
“It has been a tough few months bringing it all together, but we’re set to go.”
The new premises is shared by sister business Inverness Virtual Reality, which offers a variety of VR attractions and racing games.
Those wishing to try out the simulators should note it is by appointment only.