Learn to Fly without having to Die

Wings Academy is a flight simulator center in Singapore which was officially launched in late May.

It houses six flight simulators, including an F/A18-C Hornet mixed-reality fighter jet simulator, an F16-C fighter plane simulator, and a Boeing 737-800 commercial flight simulator.

The company says it is the largest such facility here and that besides corporate training programs, it aims to inspire the next generation of pilots among Singapore’s youth through immersive, yet affordable flight simulator experiences with the vision of “making flight dreams accessible and achievable for all.”

Rather than enduring mundane training rooms, corporate bosses and executives will now have the opportunity to acquire leadership and crisis management skills in a thrilling “high-pressure environment” through the operation of a fighter jet simulator. Whether they are commanding a squadron of fighter jets in combat or navigating through mountainous valleys to accomplish mission objectives, these aspiring leaders can refine their decision-making and leadership abilities at Wings Academy.

Utilizing flight simulators to immerse company bosses and executives in high-pressure situations akin to those faced by pilots can greatly enhance their decision-making skills, crisis management abilities, and communication styles. In today’s increasingly unpredictable business landscape, numerous unforeseen challenges can arise at a moment’s notice.

Picture yourself aboard an aircraft, where the environment is intense and completely engaging. For instance, participants can assume the role of a squadron leader responsible for a group of pilots with diverse talents, opinions, and backgrounds. Managing such a team successfully becomes an exceptional scenario. How does one effectively lead and unite everyone without causing friction?

Similar principles apply in the realm of business. Failing to effectively manage your team can lead to a high burn rate and place you at a disadvantage compared to your competitors. The leadership program’s trainees may encounter various scenarios, such as navigating through extreme weather conditions, dealing with bird strikes impacting the plane’s engines, or making last-minute detours due to limited landing space.

Engaging in these simulated experiences brings about a heightened sense of self-awareness. It allows individuals to reflect on their reactions and identify areas for improvement. By analyzing their responses, participants gain valuable insights into their own capabilities and discover ways to enhance their performance.

The luminaries behind Wings Academy are:

Fabian Lim, a man with fingers in many pies, a “serial entrepreneur” and founder of FlightSchool.sg, Singapore’s first private flight school (established in 2016). Wings Academy reflects his love for flying and his commitment to sharing this passion with others.

His notable aviation credentials include an FAA Private Pilot License – earned in just 19 days (September 2006), an FAA Instrument Rating – obtained in 10 days (December 2010), an FAA Multi-Engine Rating – accomplished in 5 days (December 2013), and an FAA Eclipse 500 Single-Pilot Jet Rating – attained in 14 days (January 2014).

Maj (Ret) Mark Lim, who served 23 years in the Republic of Singapore Air Force as a helicopter pilot and Weapon System Officer (Fighters). Proud and swaggering – and deservely so –  Lim has more than 2,400 flying hours on numerous training aircrafts, helicopters and jet fighters to include the mighty F-15SG and F-16D+ Falcon under his belt. Lim held various appointments such as Head Training Officer and established a niche in the area of Aviation Safety while in the Air Force Inspectorate and Operational Squadrons.

Brigadier General (NS) Ian Lim, who served 31 years in the RSAF as a fighter pilot and retired as the Chief of Staff – Air Staff holding the rank of Brigadier General.

In his time with RSAF, Tan also served for a stint as Head, Air Plans at RSAF HQ. He has clocked more than 4,000 flying hours and trained many young pilots. He possesses the expertise and experience to deliver a premium learning environment as a partner and consultant to Wings Academy.

Maj (Ret) Robin Tan, who served in the RSAF for 30 years. He was one of the pioneering members of the RSAF Airborne Early Warning program and instrumental in setting up the Weapon Systems Officer (Fighter) program in the RSAF.

Tan has more than 5,000 flying hours combined in E-2C Hawkeye AEW, F-16 Falcon and F-15 Strike Eagle jet fighters.

Kevin Kannan Balakrishna, a commercial pilot and aviation educator. He possesses FAA CPL AMEL IR license, Type Rating on the Cessna Citation Jet 500 Series, and FAA Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI), and Instrument Ground Instructor (IGI) certifications.

Dr Michael Loh, a US$10,000/- a day consultant, lured out of semi-retirement to become an occasional corporate advisor to Wings Academy, is the chief instructor for using flight simulators to train CEOs and members of the C-suite on change management and leadership. Dr Loh is an acknowledged authority on the psychology of change and has authored seminal books on the subject.

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