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a military aviation obsession

In the late 1980's, founder Craig Saunders joined the New Zealand Air Force as an Avionics Technician working on Aermacchi Jets and Andovers. ​


While New Zealand jets weren't involved in any active combat, sitting in the jump seat for a joy ride and experiencing the thrill of their speed and power was total exhilaration.  Even flying his own aerobatic warbird aircraft didn't produce quite the rush of those jet flights.


​After leaving the Air Force and the redundancy of Air Force jets, Flight Simulators were the only feasible option for flying a jet again. There was nothing currently available that replicated the exhilarating experience closely enough though - so Craig came up with the crazy idea of making his own.


After years of development in his home workshop and following advances in technology, Craig created a flight simulator that finally met his stringent criteria and The Aviator Experience was born.


​Situated in a hangar overlooking the runway of Tauranga Airport, The Aviator Experience isn't just about the Flight Simulators. Craig's attention to detail and obsession with Military Aviation has resulted in a unique environment that enhances the whole Aviator Experience for everyone to enjoy.

The obsession hasn't stopped there though. With more plans to expand and improve The Aviator Experience, the sky really is the limit.

Craig Saunders

142 Aerodrome Rd,

Air Side Hangar 7,

Tauranga Airport,

Mount Maunganui

Phone: 0800 0AV8OR


Email:  bookings@theaviator.co.nz


Thursday - Sunday

10am - 5pm


Evenings and

other times available 

by arrangement.

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