Tropic Air has been spreading its wings regionally with flights to Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. The company boasts about its 11 aircraft and 250 staff in 15 destinations. And while that's all well and good, what passengers care about most is flight safety. And now, Tropic has taken a meaningful step in that direction with the acquisition of a flight simulator. Daniel Ortiz went to San Pedro today to take a spin on this very high tech toy:..

Daniel Ortiz reporting
At first glance, it probably looks like an amusement park ride, but this state of the art, full motion "Redbird" Cessna Flight Simulator is anything but that.

It represents an investment of approximately half a million dollars, and is fully equipped with all the flight instruments, switches, and levers one would find in the cockpit of the most up to date Cessna aircraft available.

And why shouldn't it? After all, every single Tropic Air pilot will get advanced training using this simulator.

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"This essentially does everything that the actual plane does. It is full motion, means it moves up and down and side to side, it rolls - we can do any training necessary that we need for the aircraft on the simulator, any emergency procedure, any normal procedure - anything you can think about you can do in this simulator."

"This is an advance aircraft. It's probably the same aircraft that you flew in this morning. To train in this aircraft you already have to be a pilot. You step into the aircraft and you turn on the exact same switches that you do in the actual aircraft. As you will be able to see it has 220 degrees of visual display, so it encompasses you - your entire visual. It has the windshield of the aircraft and windows. It gives you a real look or the actual view that you see in the aircraft - you get it in the plane too."

"Our airplanes are equipped with some of the most avionics and navigation equipment in the world and we realize that we needed more advance training and this push towards getting this simulator so we can do all this training."

So, what can you find inside the cockpit?

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"You actually have all the power levers; you have all the levers that control your propellers, lever that controls your fuel. You have all the switch that controls your ignition - everything that you can imagine in an aircraft is in this simulator."

"When you look outside you will see trees, you will see the islands, mountains, some see and all the main landmarks like Dangriga, Placencia - you can see all of that out the window just like you were in a real aircraft."

The media got a chance to fly the simulator, and it proved very difficult to control the steering of the plane, even though it was a simulation.

That's because it's made to be operated by Pilots with some form of actual training. The Safety Manager says that this is the next best thing to flying. Not even those flight simulator programs installed on a home desktop or laptop can even come close.

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"As you can see it actually has an actual airplane cockpit. It is actually approved by the FAA which is the Federal Aviation Administration in the US. When you fly in this it counts as the actual hours that you actually flew, so it counts as actual plane time. Its way more advance that a game, it moves; goes up and down and does everything that the plane does."

"In a game you can't really simulate that - this is not a game, it's a serious training equipment."

Tropic Air has very specific plans for this investment.

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"We have always done training in the actual aircraft, but there are many advantages in training in a simulator for example, in the actual aircraft you will train to a certain extent - you can't actually make an engine catch on fire or have an emergency in the aircraft. You wouldn't shut down a perfectly good working engine but in the simulator we can and the pilot will have to do all the proper procedures, press the proper buttons and pull the actual levers that he is supposed to do for the procedure which is actually a more real training that in the actual aircraft."

Daniel Ortiz
"In essence, the person gets to feel what that environment is like when something goes wrong?"

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"Yes, he will have that experience. As you know as humans, as you do things over and over - we do more training, it becomes second nature to us. We never want to have an emergency, but if it does happen you want your pilot to be as best prepared as he can possibly be and this is what the simulator will do for us."

John Greif - President, Tropic Air
"Our focus for the past 4-5 years has been safety and that will continue to be a huge part of our mission statement to provide safe, service that's reliable and also its confortable for you."

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"Currently as regulations we have to do some training every 6 months and some training every year repeatedly. We plan to meet those trainings and exceed it, for example if we have to do something every 6 months - we would probably do it every 2 months now, so our pilots can be more active and more training."

Daniel Ortiz
"When one sees a Tropic Air pilot in the next year or so they would have gone through this program several times?"

Raul Alamilla - Safety Manager, Tropic Air
"Yes, definitely, they would have gone through this program many times and because at the end we just want to have the most highly trained pilots that we can possibly have."

The Redbird Cessna Flight Simulator is the first of its kind in the region.

Channel 7