The location was easy to find, and I had a detailed briefing from the ex BA 747 captain who would be with me through the whole experience. I had flown a light aircraft solo and was familiar with the B737 systems so the briefing was quite technical, which I wanted. Had I been a newbie, it would have obviously covered the basics. It cost £50 for 30 mins through Groupon, plus £75 for an extra 30 mins, plus £25 for the motion system.
We went to the simulator and strapped in, it was the same as a real 737 cockpit, and we were ready to take off from (I think) Saltzburg airport. We took off with me holding the controls, climbed and engaged the autopilot. I dialed in headings and heights on the autopilot control panel and we flew through a valley, clearing the terrain by 600ft on the radio altimeter aith the GPWS alerting us to 'terrain'. The visuals are extremely good, but when flying you spend most of the time head down loking at the intruments when hand flying. We climbed, turned and returnd to land at Saltzburg.
We then took off from the new airport at Hong Kong and flew over the region, making a visual approach into the old Kai Tak airport.
The weather was then made much worse,and we took off from HK airpiort again in mist and rain, climbing though a thunderstorm. I'd paid for the motion (£25 extra) and you could feel the turbulence as the autopilot struggled to hold us steady in the climb. There was then 'an emergency' with a passenger so we had to return to land again. Then there was an 'autopilot malfunction' so I had to take over and hand fly the landing through the thundestorm and landing. My landings weren't bad, considering I hadn't flown a 737 before!
The flying was quite easy, using the flight director needles which indicate direction, roll and pitch attitude, making hand flying quite easy. The captain beside me was dialling in headings intro the autpilot which it then guided me in the right direction using the flight director needles.
The experience was fantastic, very realistic indeed. You don't get much time looking at the views if you're hand flying the aircraft, next time I'll go with someone else and sit in on their flight to watch the scenery. I plan to try the 747 when they have that up and running!
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