Is There Anyone On-Board Who Knows How to Fly a Plane?
Is not what you want to hear when you’re cruising at an altitude of 36,000 feet, though brilliant movie isn’t? Airplane! A classic which has stood the test of time, and each time I watch, I find new visual gags in the background I hadn’t noticed before. They don’t make them like they used to, and in today’s “Woke” times, not a comedy that could be created in today’s age.
Janice loved being prepared in all walks of life, plus we both have a love of flying. We found it was easier than we thought to undertake Boeing-737 flight training. She often thought about what would happen if the pilots were struck with a medical condition because… they too ate fish.
Using the power of Groupon, our first lesson was something like £59 for a full hour to learn how to cold start, program the auto-pilot, take off and finally land and taxi a 737 using a state of the art simulator. We also had a very good and patient instructor who took us through the steps knowing we’d not flown any aircraft before.
If you or know someone who is a nervous flyer, it’s worth considering going to one of the simulator sessions, the crew and captain explain all the safety features and checks that go into the aircraft before flying to help put your mind at ease. Many run courses to help you try and overcome your fears/phobias of flying and I’ve found they’re only willing to help.
Top Tip! You can usually find really cheap deals for simulators when the simulator is not in session between training genuine pilots.
The simulator was extremely immersive, with the cockpit of a genuine 737 aircraft, and surprisingly the software used was Microsoft Flight Simulator. Who knew it was actually this capable, set up to accept and simulate all the genuine controls from a real aircraft? Although I knew there were three large screens in front of the cockpit displaying seamlessly the view around the aircraft, I did find myself becoming airsick during the time I was sat behind the pilots chair, even though logically I knew we were still on the ground. The noises, effects, movement of the view all added to the full experience.
Janice was competitive, and it was no surprise her handling of the craft was better than my efforts, it’s probably fair to say my passengers were reaching for their inflight bags!
The question was asked, has it ever happened where the passengers are asked if they can fly a plane? Our trainer explained, that even if someone could, they’d need training in each specific aircraft type since the controls are different, and there’s always contingency in place.
We did learn that the big commercial boeings are capable of a barrel roll, and a loop, which was proven in 1955 by test pilot Tex Johnston which may or may not have gotten him a slap on the wrist, but also demonstrated the strength and agility of such a huge machine.
It’s not all perfection you know, here’s her night landing at Narita International Airport (RJAA), mind you an impressive landing given the difficulty of the approach to the runway and first attempt.
I you have the opportunity, or an idea for a gift for a loved one or your kids, why not give it a go? You never know it may lead onto real piloting exams in the future.