“This is your Co-pilot FreakyFlier speaking, welcome on board. Todays flight from London Heathrow to London City Airport will take approximately 24 minutes. In the mean time, please sit back and relax and enjoy the superior service and wonderful views of London on this short flight”.
“Was that ok Captain?”
“That was fine Freaky. Now I am going to manoeuvre the aircraft to runway 09R. When we are in position I will ask you flick the parking breaks and increase the throttle”.
“At 143 knots it will be time to rotate, pull back on the column and maintain a lift of the aircrafts nose of between 10 and 15 degrees. Maintain flight level zero five zero”.
OK, so the conversation wasn’t so formal, and i’m not going to repeat it verbatim, but lets just say it was pretty close to what would happen in the real world and this was probably the closest I am going to get to flying a Boeing 737-800. JetFight Experience is located in Alexandria, and I arrived around 10 minutes before my allotted 12 midday flight. Upon meeting my instructor we discussed if I had any prior flying experience and where I wanted to fly to and from. Having only a 30 minute flight time, I couldn’t think of anywhere off the top of my head, Sydney to Hong Kong was too far… “What about London Heathrow Airport over to London City Airport” my instructor said. Sounded great to me!
No photos were taken during the take off roll (I was concentrating!), and after we were in the air, I conducted, with precise instruction, a few right turns that had us flying back over Heathrow and towards the centre of the city with the Thames River snaking below us. Although I could make out the London Bridge and Big Ben, there was actually a lot of concentrating taking place making sure I was tracking in the right direction, at the right height and at the right speed using visual flight rules.
Once we were tracking right for the London City Airport runway, there were a few slight corrections to be made to land this 737-800 on the runway and I am happy to announce that with the aircraft’s nose flared, I landed just after the threshold and brought the plane to a halt before the end of the runway – sounds easy hey, but it took a lot more concentration monitoring and slight adjustments of pitch, angle and speed to get from up there to down there safely.
It was such a thrilling experience that I could have done it again and again and again but it left me thinking about how intense and precise a pilot’s job is, and what they go through daily, while I am sitting back in business or economy class testing out the comfy seats, perusing the food menu and enjoying the service of the cabin crew. And although the flight wasn’t ‘Freaky’ at all, I think I will stick to sampling the wine and onboard dining…..for now.
The experience was paid for independently by FreakyFlier
2 Comments Add yours
That looks like a really interesting and fun experience. And every time I overhear someone complaining about pilots or going on about how “these planes really fly themselves,” I want to drop them in a simulator and watch them flounder around! I wonder if there are any similar businesses in the U.S.
Oooh I’d love to do this! You look totally at home there I must say 😀