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Flying challenge adds a thrill to fair

Thursday March 12, 2009

TRY your hand at flying a plane with Malaysia's first mobile flight simulator and stand a chance to take off to Los Angeles with a loved one for free.

Visitors at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair 2009 who succeed in making the best landing will also be in the running to win the second and third prizes of two return tickets to Koh Samui and Phuket, respectively.

The simulator, called the Wing Commanderz 2009, is presented by Firefly and will enable the public to experience flying its aircraft with real-life conditions such as at night and during rainy and windy situations.

Getting it right: Leong (right) handing the first certificate to Dr Sheikh Muszaphar after he completed the airline's mobile flight simulator challenge at the launch.

The top three "pilots" for each day of the fair will qualify to enter the grand finals and will also receive a pair of return tickets to any Firefly destination.

The airline's managing director Eddy Leong said the contest, called the Wing Commanderz 2009 Top Gun Pilot Challenge, was held not only to promote Firefly, but also to improve the public's awareness on the aviation industry.

"We hope that the flight simulation will be able to engage schoolchildren and broaden their views on something aside from handphones and computer games, he said.

Angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, who was present to test the simulator, said the experience reminded him of his training before becoming an astronaut.

"I've been to more than 300 schools to share my experiences as an astronaut. Many school students want to be involved in the aerospace industry but they don't know how," he said, adding that there were also lack of opportunities to do so.

"I hope more private companies would come forward and offer young people to be part of this field," Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said.

"Dreams are possible to achieve and it is important that we give children a chance to realise them," he added.

The contest will take place throughout the fair from tomorrow (March 13) to Sunday at Hall 1, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Each participant will be given five minutes to complete two landings and will be judged based on piloting and landing skills within the time frame.

Entrance fee for the simulator is RM10 while those who have purchased tickets or holiday packages from the Firefly booth in Hall 3, will be entitled to a discounted fee of RM8.

The grand finals of the challenge will be held at 3pm on Sunday - the last day of the Matta Fair.

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