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The Squadron
Photograph provided by The Squadron

Experience the ride of your life—and personal excellence—in The Squadron’s F-35 flight simulators

Once exclusively a corporate training ground, this one-of-a-kind F-35 simulator complex is now helping individuals reach new heights

Written by Kate Schweitzer and Mike Stickle for Time Out, in partnership with The Squadron

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a fighter pilot for a day? To be at the controls of the world’s most advanced fighter plane, the F-35? For years, The Squadron—founded by retired Israeli Air Force senior commander Kobi Regev—has offered this one-of-a-kind opportunity to businesses as a state-of-the-art, highly coveted management training program. In fact, although its flagship center has been based just outside of Tel-Aviv since 2018, The Squadron’s newest stateside facility at 7 World Trade Center in Manhattan’s Financial District has seen a swift rise in these corporate workshops since it opened this past September. Companies from Coca-Cola to Microsoft, Facebook and Google have signed up their employees for a chance to experience the world’s largest F-35 flight simulator center in the name of leadership development, risk-management and critical problem-solving.

The Squadron certainly prides itself on preparing top companies around the globe for today’s competitive environment: more than 1,050 companies have participated in its training programs, where they’ve logged more than 680,000 instruction hours.

But the life-changing lessons that The Squadron has seen come out of these team-building sessions aren’t exclusive to the corporate world—and nor should they be. True to the brand’s mission of developing personal excellence, The Squadron is now opening up its programming to individuals looking for the experience of a lifetime.

Curious if you’re ready to push yourself to new heights and learn skills that work both in and outside the cockpit? Read on for why you should buckle up for an unforgettable adventure at The Squadron.

1. It’s the closest you’ll get to the real thing.

Up until now, the closest many civilians get to experiencing the adrenaline rush of being a fighter pilot is a rewatch of Top Gun. But The Squadron has changed all that. Its locations in Israel and New York City—which use military grade F-16 and F-35 flight simulators—are the only civilian complexes of their kind in the world.

2. You’ll be instructed by real Air Force pros.

Not only is the technology unmatched, but so are the people. The Squadron’s training staff predominantly features both American and Israeli senior combat pilots, commanders, and flight simulator instructors expressly certified for combat training. Everything they teach in their flight academy, they teach at The Squadron. This level of real-world expertise gets participants as close to the spirit of the Air Force as possible.

3. The experience is immersive from start to finish.

Because The Squadron functions in accordance with the typical agenda of an active Air Force combat squadron, nearly every aspect of the simulation is true to life. You’ll don a proper flight suit, and you’ll receive professional instruction and mission objectives. Thanks to a true-to-size cockpit, state-of-the-art flight simulators and advanced virtual reality stations, your flight will feel like the real thing. Interactions with ground control and other wingmen certainly help, too. Once you've completed your mission, you’ll also get a full flight debrief in accordance with The Squadron’s unique research methodology.

4. It’s high-flying fun.

All of this attention to true-to-life detail and the deep experience of The Squadron team might seem a bit intimidating, but let’s not forget one important detail: it’s a whole lot of fun. The Squadron was founded with the desire to give everyone—not just CEOs—the chance to experience the excitement of flying the most advanced combat simulators. And because the team at The Squadron leads with Israeli Air Force values, they make it their goal to let participants truly experience the prevailing spirit that those fighter squadrons hold true.

5. You’ll become a better version of yourself.

Although you might sign up for The Squadron for the simple fun of getting to be a fighter pilot for the day, the positive impact of the experience will last far longer. Through a variety of training programs at differing experience levels that promote hands-on learning, participants are able to develop habits and behaviors that will help them push the limits of their own personal growth and development to become the best versions of themselves. It’s the very same commitment to excellence that The Squadron has promised corporations worldwide, but on a one-on-one level. Looking to be a better leader? A better decision-maker? A more resilient partner? Your time in the cockpit will get you there. 

So, are you ready to book your flight? 

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