Now playing is WINGsReality, America’s only online aviation reality game show.
WINGsReality is an interactive game show where contestant “pilots” take to the skies on flights that are assigned to them by the WINGsReality host. For the online viewing audience, WINGsReality pilots provide a fun and realistic flight experience. All WINGsReality pilots are FAA certified pilots in real life, according to developers. WINGsReality Pilots depart on an online flight in an airplane. Just like a real flight, they fly in specific weather, environmental and operating conditions.
WINGsReality is all about creating an interactive environment for contestants and audience to learn from. Each week, pilots will fly a new segment of their online reality flights. They encounter many challenges along the way, and have to make decisions and respond as they would in the cockpit in real life. The WINGsReality judges evaluate the choices, judgment and decisions. While pilots earn “hits” for making good aeronautical decisions and responses, there will be times when decisions may fall into the “somewhat less than prudent” category. As you might expect, the judges have the power to alter flights accordingly.
WINGsReality is the brain child of Michael Lessard of Sullivan, Maine, a CFII and MEI. He is also a FAASTeam Lead Representative, and program and curriculum development consultant to seven colleges. In addition to several hundred flight training hours per year, he trains more than 100 students in private, instrument and commercial pilot ground schools yearly.
“My idea for WINGsReality came to me about two years ago,” he said. “Being constantly immersed in aviation training and safety programs, I am always thinking of creative ways to provide instruction. I though it would be really cool to create an aviation based reality game show where pilots would fly realistic flights, and encounter all of the challenges that we face in the cockpit in real life — things like weather encounters, mechanical problems, diversions, engine failures, ATC, navigation problems. The pilot cast members would be judged on their knowledge and skill, and how they respond to the challenges that they face in the cockpit. I thought about all of the elements that would make a fun and interesting experience for an online viewing audience. My underlying intention was to create a very unique learning environment for pilots and non-pilots alike. I think that almost everyone in the world has some level of interest or curiosity about airplanes and flying. WINGsReality will be a place where anyone can come in and watch real pilots as they conduct realistic flights. They get to know the pilots, pick their favorites and root them on.”
In 2009, Lessard asked long-time business associate and web development guru, Robert Clements of Atlanta Web Foundry, to join him in making this idea a “reality.” Clements and Lessard have led the WINGsReality Team to create a world where pilots can make brilliant decisions in response to critical flight situations, and also make mistakes that everyone can learn from.
WINGsReality pilots have to think carefully about their given scenarios and flights, developers said, adding they will have to plan well, get back to basics and exercise excellence in aeronautical decision making. If the pilot’s response was one that could aggravate the situation, or cause the “accident chain” to continue, the judges will alter the flight accordingly and the pilot will have to respond to the new status of the aircraft or flight environment. In extreme cases, the judges may even crash the flight, Lessard said.
Each week, the pilots’ WINGsReality Flight Leg, challenges and responses are published on the website. There are plenty of graphics to show their planning, routes, charts, flight logs and other info. The judges make comprehensive responses to each pilot’s Flight Leg, and score each on their successes and shortcomings. The pilots’ innovative ideas and errors become real life learning experiences for all pilots in the online audience. Pilots in the online audience can play along as well, and are able to identify areas where they too need additional training or refreshed knowledge. “This is a fun way to keep your knowledge sharp,” Lessard said. “Hopefully, we prevent a few accidents in the process.”
The WINGsReality website has another component: A comprehensive aviation forum where pilots and maintenance technicians can exchange thoughts, ideas, questions, camaraderie, and talk about any aviation topic they would like to.
WINGsReality is an exclusive community of Aviators and Maintenance Technicians. The focus is to maintain the overall quality, content and value of these forums at a level that the aviation community will place exceptional value on. In order to maintain that level of quality, all “posting” members must be certified as pilots or maintenance technicians, and must join WINGsReality as a member. Viewing access is open to anyone, and everyone is welcomed and encouraged to surf around the site to read the forums and watch the reality game show, Lessard said.
For more information: Wings.AtlantaWebFoundry.com