Buy Your Very Own Commercial Flight Simulator

If you happen to live near Phoenix, Arizona, have a spare US$10,000 or so kicking around, and have always fancied your own true-to-life commercial flight simulator, today is your lucky day. With just over a week to go on the auction, you can bid on a used flight simulator for a Bombardier CRJ200 regional jet airliner.

The CRJ200 jet was produced between 1991 and 2006, first being introduced in 1992 by Lufthansa. It’s a twin-engine design, with about 50 seats for passengers. With a length of more than 26 meters, 12,500 km (41000ft) ceiling, 785 km/h (487mph) cruising speed and a range of around 3,000 km (1864 mi) (depending on the configuration), it offers plenty of opportunities for the aspiring (hobbyist) pilot.

The auction stands at the time of writing at $4,400 offered and lasts until Monday, January the 28th. Local pick-up is expected, but the FAA-certified simulator comes complete with all of the manuals and the guarantee that it was 100% working before it was disassembled to ready it for auction. Just make sure that you have somewhere to put it before putting in that bid, and you could be the owner of a rig that would leave some of the best we’ve seen so far behind in the dust.

Penny auction hacking; put on your statistician’s hat

Penny auctions are where you must pay a fee each time you bid. Certainly this alters the behavior of the bidders, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of info about exactly how. In preparation for an analytics degree, [Jay] decided to study penny auctions and see if he can win a contest based on his findings. Now he’s not necessarily looking to make a living by gaming the auction system. But we were interested to see how he went about getting information, and what he has to say about the results.

Since there really isn’t a large body of data available, he scraped it himself. You’ll want to page through his posts on the topic, but basically he’s using Python on a fast machine. This is made quite a bit easier through the use of Selenium RC, but it also means he’s got a lot of instances of Firefox running to track multiple auctions. Scraped data is stored in CSV files, and posted to his front page daily.

From what he’s captured so far [Jay] suggests that time of day, type of auction, and several other factors dictate when you should bid to attain the best deals.