Flight Simulator

Do you have $7 million that you don’t know what to do with? If so, quick: Trade me lives.

Barring that, you might be interested in this eBay listing for a couple “astronaut, pilot, civilian tourist, space training, and experiences [sic] centrifuge flight simulators” from DII Aerospace. If you don’t need two giant flight simulators or only have $3.5 million burning a hole in your pocket, DII is also selling them individually.

What does this have to do with video games? Apparently nothing…other than that I found it while browsing the video game section of eBay and saw a single line in the listing: “Video Gaming with REAL ‘G’.” But more on that later.

So far, it has received no takers, and the listing expires tonight.

I thought this all sounded a little weird — what kind of company has millions of dollars of equipment lying around that it’d just sell on eBay? Doesn’t the government want that stuff? So I contacted the seller and asked if the listing was, you know, real. I also asked why I couldn’t find any substantive information about the business on the Internet other than a six-year-old article about the X Prize civilian space flight contest. Against all of my expectations, the seller responded:

“The equipment is very real, and you are welcome to come see it in person in Dallas,” the message read. “Firms such as ourselves who do mostly black project [sic] do not show up online. Our manufacturing divisions do work for people such as Disney and Universal Studio Theme Parks from time to time, and we have been trying to see if eBay is a possible way to sell off various odds and ends.”

I replied, hoping that one day I might reach a point at which I could refer to seven figures’ worth of precision equipment as “odds and ends.” I introduced myself and explained that I was just making sure that the listing wasn’t an elaborate joke. Again, the seller responded.

“Very real, for sure,” the reply said. “Our old machines are still in use at the Navy Training Center in Florida. What is interesting is that with a PC as a driver, it would be possible to take video game [sic] and make it ‘Virtually Real.’ Going from desktop to actual movement is a mind/game changer! We have done proposals, for example, for Rocket Racing League to NASCAR. We could actually put someone into the Daytona 500 or into the Strike Fight Jet in a very ‘real’ sense. Same for a video game.”

So, there you have it. For a few million dollars, you, too, can own a machine that will train you to go into space and make you feel like a NASCAR driver.

I still don’t believe it.