“F18 fighter simulator has been tested at i-Way
Lyon is not Toulouse. By this, I mean that the capital of the Gauls is not the cradle of aviation. However, it is in Lyon that the first fighter simulators accessible to the general public are to be found: the Fighters Academy (which we have already discussed here) and i-Way.
Simulation enthusiasts probably already know the name i-Way. And for a good reason, it was this company that launched in 2008 the first simulator of Formula 1 accessible to the general public. Since the beginning of 2015, i-Way has left the circuit to fly into the sky of New Zealand with 3 F18 fighter simulators.
i-Way – Fighters Academy: what are the differences?
Unlike the Fighters Academy launched by Aviasim in 2014, it is not on an F16 that you will take your place at i-Way. Pierre Nicolas, director of the company, explains the choice of the F18 Super Hornet: “”the F18 is the aircraft of the US Navy and not of the US Air Force. This means that these aircraft are capable of taking off from an aircraft carrier. This, therefore, offers good prospects for development in the future.””
For now, no takeoff or aircraft carriers but “”simple”” aerial fighting over New Zealand, a territory that has the advantage of being particularly beautiful: snowy mountains, cliffs, ocean… Here again, several differences can be pointed out with the Fighters Academy, which has chosen a fictitious territory and which, in addition to air combat, proposes missions of aerobatics and air-to-air refueling.
There is no need to continue the comparison between these two structures: i-Way and Fighters Academy offer two different experiences, which will probably not please the same people. Tastes and colors.
So, what about F18 at i-Way?
Before settling in the cockpit of his plane for 20 minutes of intense combat, we have the right to a briefing of about twenty minutes also. The opportunity to discover the controls of the F18 aircraft, the handling of weapons (submachine guns, missiles, defense Rockets) and to shake hands in front of a computer screen.
Then the serious stuff begins: we put on the driver’s suit, the shoes and the helmet – Tom Cruise, you can get dressed! And then we finally get to the controls of the plane, in the middle of a huge dome. Five searchlights will take you right into the atmosphere. From this point of view, the experience proposed by i-Way is very successful: the size of the dome offers a panoramic view. So, even if you turn your head to the left or the right, or even above you, you remain immersed in the heart of the action.
Right next door, the other two cockpits welcome two other participants who are only waiting for one thing: to fight in the air. The tension gradually rises, and one immediately takes to the game.
The graphics are very beautiful – much better than the car simulators at i-Way for those who know it – and the feeling of movement is very well transcribed: don’t trust the absence of cylinders, the nausea is still waiting for you for the first few seconds! And if we sometimes lose visual cues, very quickly, we try to locate our two enemies and shoot them before they fire at us. Activate radar, lock on the target. Fire! Missed! The opponent managed to dodge. Okay, we start again. The second missile fired in the bull’s eye! On the screen, the plane explodes, and we can go in pursuit of another F18.
After 20 minutes of intense shooting, dodging and tight turns to get to the enemy, we’re back in the real world. Still, a little shaken by the fight we just took part in but overall very satisfied – especially after having managed to shoot four opponents!”