Flying a Boeing 737 – the ultimate birthday present

Flight simulator

It’s not exactly travel, but I can’t resist writing about my 50th birthday present from the other half – an hour on a Boeing 737-800 simulator.

And, in theory, I did travel to Innsbruck in Austria and Hong Kong. Sort of…

The flight ‘took off’ from London Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, where iPilot have their base in an otherwise conventional shopfront. Sitting in the captain’s seat with with my excellent instructor alongside me, I took off from London Heathrow and spent the next 60 minutes flying around the world. G took the following videos – although not on professional equipment!

The first shows me landing at the new Hong Kong Airport – Chek Lap Kok – and executing a planned go-round after touching down. Verdict = not a bad effort.

The second shows me landing at the notorious Kai Tak Airport, the former colony’s old airport. You fly in skimming the rooftops and, even though it’s pretend, I had very sweaty palms. My instructor thought I did bloody well for a beginner!

The third and final video shows me landing at Innsbruck Airport in a storm. This one wasn’t quite as successful. I managed to land the aircraft but far too late and ended up in the grass.

Other highlights were landing at Heathrow in thick fog with no visibility and landing at London City Airport – apt for me as I sit and watch the planes taking off and landing there all day from my desk at work…

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