Flight simulator lands in Redmond

RDD Enterprises offers simulator for pilot training and to the public

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

REDMOND — Whether you want to fly a Cessna 400 to Portland or a Lancair IV-P to Dubai, the new flight simulator at RDD Enterprises in Redmond can take you there.

But it might not be a smooth flight — depending on your piloting skills.

Equipped with all flight controls and a wing-tip-to-wing-tip view of the horizon, the Redbird FMX full- motion flight simulator provides aviation training to help pilots earn licensing and certification.

“It's like the Wii golf, but it's so realistic that the (Federal Aviation Administration) has certified this device to be used in lieu of an airplane,” said Dave McRae, referring to the $100,000 simulator that will be open to the public in February.

McRae, co-owner of the aircraft maintenance, kit- airplane builder-assist shop and flight school on Southeast Airport Way, said RDD started in 2007, but hasn't really formed a connection with the community. Out of the 100 customers RDD has a year, only one lives in Redmond. The rest are from all over the world.

Through Northstar Flight Lab, a new business entity of RDD, McRae hopes to educate residents about the company, open the simulator to flight instructors and make flight training more convenient to current customers.

Lee Brinley, a 55-year-old Chicago resident who was building a Lancair plane at RDD on Tuesday, said he plans to use the simulator to earn his instrument rating.

“One of the huge pluses with a simulator is when you're confused you put everything on hold and talk through it with the (Certified Flight Instructor),” he said. “When you're in an airplane, obviously, you have to continue to fly the airplane.”

Mark Mahnke, co-owner of RDD, said the simulator will not only be open for pilots but also for parties, educational clubs, veterans groups and more.

Prices will range from a 30-minute session with no instructor for $40, to a three-hour full facility rental for up to 10 people for $350, Mahnke said.

McRae said the simulator is a considerably cheaper option than flying a plane. It's about $160 an hour for professional training in the simulator programmed to replicate a Cirrus SR22 Perspective.

A client training in his or her own Cirrus for an hour could spend more than $600, not including gas, he said.

McRae said kit planes, like the ones RDD helps owners build, can cost up to $1 million, so the average person in Redmond isn't going to be able to afford that. But if the community wants to experience aviation, the simulator is a safe, fun, and affordable way to do it.

For more information

To learn more about RDD Enterprises or its flight simulator, visit www.rddent.com or call 541-504-0305.

Simulator video

To watch the flight simulator in action, go to www.bendbulletin.com/flight