One dad is taking his daughter’s imagination to new heights.
Michael Raisch, of northern New Jersey, built an epic Boeing 737 flight simulator in his living room to play with his daughter, Eve. It was even equipped with real-time audio from air traffic controllers from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“You always see how they interact with a toy or something and then see how their imagination runs with it. It’s really cute,” the proud papa told ABC News of his inspiration for the project. “It’s fun to watch their creativity explode because it will inspire you. Sharing something that is my interest that I can involve her with is really fun to get her excited about it.”
Raisch got his love for aviation from his father, who would often take him to local regional airports to check out planes and watch them take off.
“It was a fairly regular thing,” he recalled. One of his business contacts owned small planes and "they took me up once. I think that’s the first time I ever flew physically in a small Cessna. I had been a commercial airline but this is a totally different game.”
Wanting to instill that same sense of wonder and curiosity in Eve, Raisch decided two years ago to build a homemade airplane around his flight simulator so his daughter and all her “kids,” or stuffed animals, could tag along for the adventure.
“I said, ‘Oh it’ll be funny to set up her chairs behind me in a row,’ and sure enough, she goes, ‘Oh we’re taking a flight! We’ll take the kids,’ which is all her stuffed animals, so we set up all the chairs and then obviously we needed to build the whole plane.
“It wasn’t so much the physicality of how it’s built,” he added of his foam board creation. “I have a background in making stuff like that from my design degree. It was a month of thinking. I had the idea and I jammed out the whole physical build-out in like three-and-a-half hours.”
Although the lifelike airplane is no longer taking up their entire living room, he still brings it out for special occasions like birthday parties.
As for his 4-year-old daughter’s interest in aviation?
“We plane spot together,” said Raisch. “There’s a spot with a little restaurant on the tarmac and we’ll watch planes. It’s fun.”