Abu Dhabi: Ever wondered how it feels to be in control of an airplane? Your dream of flying a plane can literally take flight at iPilot, Abu Dhabi’s first flight simulator at the Yas Mall.
For Dh999 you can be in the cockpit of a double-decker Airbus 380 for an hour and take off to your dream destination. A trained pilot instructor will assist you while you slice the sky flying the biggest aircraft in the world.
It was my first time in a cockpit and it felt I would take a lifetime to figure out the multitudes of switches and buttons around me. Sensing my bewilderment, my co-pilot Dominik Boryczko reassured me that controlling a huge plane like this is as simple as driving a car. Almost!
“Pull the joystick on your left upwards to go up and push it downwards to go down. You can move it to the right or left depending on how you want to turn,” Boryczko, from Poland, told me.
After taking me through the indicators on the screen like the fuel capacity, altitude, engine power, speed in nautical miles, signs of nearby airports etc, Boryczko explained how and when to use the instruments in the cockpit.
For example, you lower the wing flaps while taking off and landing; switch on the reverse thrust when landing in order to reduce the speed on the runway. And in case of turbulent weather and low visibility, use the Instrument Landing System.
“Ready to take off?” asked Boryczko.
As soon I nodded yes, what followed was a volley of instructions from my co-pilot: head sets on, rudder control on, flaps down, engines on.
Soon the engines started whirring and I was taking off from Dubai International Airport with 650 passengers aboard – or so we imagined.
Boryczko said customers can choose to fly to any destination, and have the choice to fly during day or night and also pick the weather conditions.
I chose to fly it safe and opted for a perfect sunny sky, which the co-pilot adjusted on my screen. After the initial nervousness, I was able to relax and control the direction, altitude and speed as we flew over the Palm, Burj Khalifa and other Dubai landmarks. My flight lasted nearly 20 minutes as we took a round of the Dubai sky before heading back to the same airport. When it was time to land, I was able to bring the plane down smoothly on Runway 1.
“Well done, captain Anjana,” Boryczko commented.
As I walked way with a certificate that stated I have flown an Airbus 380 as part of a Flight Simulator Experience, a career switch didn’t seem like too bad an idea.