Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.
Thank you for reading Newly Swissed, and welcome on board this Airbus A320 bound to the destination of your choice. Our flight time today is one hour, and the weather conditions en route are up to you. I invite you to sit back, relax and have fun during the flight! Cabin crew, to your stations for take-off...
Cockpit Immersion with iPilot
Whether you have already taken command of a plane or not, the iPilot flight simulator in Zürich will immerse you into a modern jetliner cockpit for an unforgettable experience.
Pitch, roll, and yaw: As a non-initiated to the world of aviation, you will be able to learn the basics of flying and get familiar with an authentic A320 cockpit. With this being the most widely used commercial jet in the world, you have surely flown it before.
As part of the 30/60/90-minute sessions in the simulator, you get to pick virtually any airport in the world for take-offs and landings. Next, take the captain's seat to the left and buckle up - if you feel like it.
During a pre-flight briefing, your instructor will guide you through the simulation experience. Basic controls and the flight management system will be explained to you step by step, and there is nothing to worry about as your instructor acts as co-pilot during the flight.
Engine instruments: CHECK. Flight control: CHECK. Beacon: ON.
Start your engines, turn the light switches and passenger signs to the "ON" position, release the breaks and smoothly increase thrust. Once you reach "V1" (decision speed, 145 KIAS/270 km/h), rotate!
The magic works and the 70 ton bird is airborne!
Through the multiple screens around you (even the passenger seats behind have animated windows), you get a real feel of the "outside" world. you can pick any weather condition, the time of day, visibility and more. The sound and radio conversations make this simulation a complete immersion experience. I almost forget that I was still on the ground near Lake Zürich...
Based on your inputs on the plane's command board (mini side stick controller, rudder, flaps), the simulator reproduces the real life behavior of an A320. I am told that this very simulator is frequented by professional airline pilots, giving them a less expensive training option compared to hydraulic simulators.
To my surprise, iPilot has extended hours, and night flights between 8 PM and midnight come at a reduced price. For the ultimate pilot crash course, the comprehensive 180 minute program goes into more detail, including aviation theory and the cockpit briefing. This is the perfect place to conquer your fear of flying or to host a company event.
My experience as a pilot
For my first landing, the instructor picked Hong Kong Kai Tak - one of the world's most technically demanding airports for pilots. I reached the last marker before the notorious "Hong Kong turn" - and with quite some effort, I managed to bring the plane safely to the ground. No perfect "kiss landing" this time, though.
From there, I chose to fly home to Zürich by night to complete the experience. Landing on Runway 34 at ZRH gave me a stunning view of the lake at nighttime.
Watch a short clip about my iPilot experience:
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for reading Newly Swissed. We look forward to welcoming you again soon on our online magazine. Cabin crew, doors to manual and cross-check...
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