A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
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Published June 30th 2017
'Flying' a Boeing from a garage
The brain child of Captain Mark Lowen, this is one for flying enthusiasts. 'Fly a flight' is exactly what it says- it is a flight simulator with the full works - the cockpit controls are from a real airplane and allows one to have the complete experience of taking off, landing etc. in various airports of the world. Thanks to Google Earth and other modern technology, the aerial landscape is as authentic as it can get, as though one were really airborne.
I sat on a humble stool behind the controls, capturing all this virtual action on camera, whilst my husband in the cockpit 'took off' and 'landed' from London Heathrow to our hometown in Coimbatore, India, over 7000 miles, in around 15 minutes !
Captain Lowen assumed the role of what he called the 'monitoring pilot' and sat beside giving occasional technical instructions as well as operating all the other bits and bobs that go with it. It was surreal to see the familiar mountain peaks and buildings of one's hometown appear on the landscape as the plane gave us the feeling of swooping down and landing on the runway.
There was time for another take off and landing in the 30 minute package we had bought and so at the instructor's recommendation, hubby chose London city airport by night to Heathrow. Again, another awesome experience to see London's iconic landmarks aerially at night as the flight allowed one to control take off and landing after circling the city. Since the controls are all authentic, such simulators are used by many flying schools around the world to train pilots to get familiar with terrain of various runways across the world. I learnt that Hong Kong airport is chosen by many as it is a one of the most difficult runways to land on.
As we finished and walked out, it really felt as though we had just piloted a flight and were exiting a Boeing 737 and not just Capt Lowen's garage tucked away in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire!
The grand entrance to Boeing 737 (don't miss the garage shutter overhead !)