Adventure Sims America is a mom and pop simulator operator based in central Florida. When they first set up shop their bread and butter was an impressively authentic Boeing 707 simulator. The unit is built into a trailer to make it more portable, allowing owners Art and Sandy May-Alyea the latitude of operating from a fixed location or delivering their pride and joy to an off-site location for the convenience of their customers.
Theirs is a niche business. While they do not offer CFI services that would allow users to log their sim time, the appeal of grabbing four big throttles that originated in the aerospace mecca of Seattle, push them forward, and depart the runway at the controls of a classic transport category aircraft is just too good to pass up. That’s assuming they can get their message out to the public, of course.
Art and Sandy have tried print advertising and seen some results, but not at a level they feel justifies the cost. They’ve also tried using the services of an outside company to provide email blasts to get their message out. Again, they reaped customers, albeit not enough to sell them on the idea as a primary advertising vehicle. In fact, the most successful advertising method they’ve found came to them by accident. Video.
AOPA’s Paul Harrop flew with them at Sun ’n Fun 2013, filming a segment in the process that ran on AOPA Live®. “We got more calls from that story than we got from all the people who saw us at Sun ’n Fun,” Sandy glows.
The message was loud and clear for this husband and wife team; video streamed on the Internet gave them better exposure and more sales than any other method they’d tried. They became sold on the idea. As they prepare to launch off to Sun ’n Fun 2014 Adventure Sims America is deep in the planning process to begin producing their own videos to distribute online.
“I think there’s fewer magazine readers than there used to be,“ Sandy said about the disparity of the results they’ve seen after experiencing both media. Of her prospective customers, she has a clear image of what incites them as they shop for their next adventure experience. “They want to be entertained.”
Sandy has a point. Rather than a static image on a page, video allows them to interject some of the excitement and drama of flying a large transport category aircraft like the Boeing. This highly accurate, reality-based video game of a sim experience offers customers the ability to fly from Milwaukee to Chicago, roll on to Detroit and terminate their flight in Buffalo, all for less of an investment than they’d make on a hamburger run in a Cessna 172.
The Beer Flight, as it’s called, puts the customer in the left seat of an airliner for approximately four hours. That’s not an adventure that can be captured effectively in a few still photos and a paragraph of text. Video on the other hand offers the owners of this unique flight school business the opportunity to whet the appetite of potential customers with an alluring collection of sights, sounds, and human expression that just isn’t available through any medium but video.