It’s no secret how important team building can be for the bottom line. An effective team works well together, communicates and trusts each other. But there can only be so many egg tosses or trust falls before the exercises turn into chores instead of transformative team bonding activities.

From paintball and camping to deep sea fishing and dance classes, the choices are endless for companies looking to strengthen their teams’ relationships. What is the best way to build that team bond? Experts say the winning strategy is to push people out of their element in unfamiliar situations where they must work together and learn from one another to achieve a universal goal. Pullman Miami Airport Hotel has created a turnkey program that your group has probably never done before: flying a plane.

The flight crew exercise is a brand-new activity offered to planners who are using the meeting space as a breakout activity. The immersive challenge focuses on group situational awareness, teamwork and communication skills.

How Does It Work?

The exercise starts off with each group in a classroom setting with local pilots and airline instructors. Teams are taught pre- and post-flight procedures, as well as how to manage various in-air scenarios. With each team member given their own responsibilities, the group will learn how to successfully land the plane together. Once the classroom session is finished, groups will then work together handling different in-flight emergencies and coordinating safe landings.

After the training is finished, groups will then put what they have learned to use. Choosing between Boeing 738 airliner and Cessna 172 full-motion simulators, official instructors stay alongside to assist. But don’t let this simulator fool you—by replicating an airliner with a 180-degree wrap-around screen, attendees feel the 33,000-foot altitude and 464-knot speed. So, buckle up—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Currently, group sizes are recommended to be no larger than 30 people, with the exercise lasting about an hour, but the program can be modified as needed.

Why Try It?

People act differently under stress. Their focus is altered, their attitude changed and their ability to work well with others is challenged. The flight exercise puts teams in a stressful situation where they must work together, keep an open mind and count on one another’s knowledge to successfully achieve a goal.