Looking for the perfect place to purchase model aircraft and practice landings in a Boeing 737 flight simulator? Toronto based, Threshold Aviation offers this to customers and aviation enthusiasts. Model Airliner Magazine recently sat down with Faheem Ahmed, co-owner of Threshold Aviation to see what they have to offer for model collectors and aviation fans!
Location: 215 Carlingview Dr, Unit #110, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5X8
MAM = Model Airliner Magazine | FA = Faheem Ahmed
MAM: Where is Threshold Aviation located?
FA: We are located at 215 Carlingview Drive, in Toronto. The store is a couple of kilometers from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport – and beside the approach to runway 24R.
MAM: Can you give us an insight on the history of Threshold Aviation?
FA: Threshold Aviation was founded in 1995, as a place for pilots and enthusiasts to not only purchase their supplies, but also to connect with fellow aviators. Although we started as a retail store, we launched our B737NG flight simulator in 2008 not only for training purposes, but as an open-to-public experience for anyone wanting to get an idea of what it’s like to be a pilot.
MAM: What is your current role at Threshold Aviation?
FA: I am one of the two owners, along with my business partner Mickey Bodog.
MAM: Are you an aviation enthusiast? When were you bitten by the “Aviation Bug”?
FA: I am certifiably “plane crazy” and have been since my parents brought me to watch airplanes at YYZ when I was about 2 years old. It stuck with me then and my passion continues to grow everyday.
MAM: You have a very large inventory of aviation models for collectors? What different model manufacturers do you stock products from?
FA: We try to carry as much inventory from the major 1/200 and 1/400 scale brands. These include: Gemini Jets, Inflight200, Aeroclassics, Phoenix, JC Wings, Herpa, Hogan and Skymarks models. We’ve also recently started carrying HYJL models as the Canadian distributor for the brand.
MAM: Over the years, what models have been the most popular among collectors?
FA: The general rule is that models of aircraft that fly into Toronto are the most popular, planes that people see and fly on. This obviously starts with Canadian airliners, but also stems to models such as the (many versions) of the Emirates A380, as it’s the only scheduled A380 that visits YYZ.
MAM: Aside from aircraft models what other aviation-related products do you carry?
FA: We carry everything a pilot needs for their flight bag, ranging from David Clark headsets, logbooks all the way to Citizen Watches and Serengeti Sunglasses. We are also an authorized Boeing Store and Airbus Shop reseller carrying their clothing and accessories. In recent years we’ve widened our range, carrying items such as GoPro cameras and DJI Drones.
MAM: How popular is model collecting in Canada? Do the majority of your customers come to your store to purchase model aircraft?
FA: Model collecting has always been popular in Canada, with, what I find to be an increase in the last several years. We are seeing brands like Gemini Jets and JC Wings producing more Canadian subjects than ever before. These releases are selling out quickly from not only us, but the distributors as well, so I believe the market in Canada is very strong. The vast majority of our sales are in-store as people prefer to inspect and look at their models. Sadly, brick and mortar stores such as ours are becoming increasingly rare so people enjoy stopping by to see what’s new.
MAM: It seems diecast model aircraft collecting has grown worldwide in terms of popularity in recent years. When it comes to the future do you think it will continue to expand? Have you seen an increase in the number of collectors?
FA: One very good sign I see about the diecast hobby is the amount of younger collectors who visit our store. The 13-18 age group will be the next generation of model collectors, and I see a strong increase in this demographic. I do still feel like some of the bigger model makers should be doing more to expand the reach of our hobby, but that’s something we’ll hopefully see more of in the future.
MAM: I also understand you have a B737 Simulator experience available to those who wish to experience the thrill of flying an airliner? Can you tell us a little bit about this program?
FA: We do! As mentioned earlier we have a full size Boeing 737-800 simulator in our shop. It is built inside the nose of a real Boeing 737 (ex United, N911UA). After September 11th, aviation security made visiting a cockpit a thing of the past. We started our simulator with the mandate to help promote aviation not only to aviation enthusiasts but the general public. Guests as young as 10 years old can fly our simulator with a qualified instructor and learn the basics of controlling a modern airliner. We have global scenery and high definition graphics, and a fully working cockpit, with all systems functioning. Up to 4 guests can take part with a 1 hour package at $129 Canadian.
You can check out Threshold Aviation on the web at: www.thresholdaviation.com