Captain Mike Blythe, British Airways Flight Technical and Training Manager for the Airbus A380 and A350 sits next to me. "Hold your breath," he says.
But why? I'm not about to take the British Airways Airbus A350 for one of London Heathrow's runways and launch for the first time.
Ted prepares to board a British Airways A350 for the first time – eyes forward, with the lifeboats on …
Captain Blythe calmly tells me that as we go down the runway I have to use the rudder pedals to steer.
He says: 'You use a little stirrer to go left and a little right stirrer to go right. Switch as you go down, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it by the time we get to the end of & # 39; the runway. & # 39;
& # 39; So, startup technique, & # 39; continues Captain Blythe. 'Hold one hand on & # 39; bones, the other hand & # 39; a stick. And what you will do when I say "turning" at about 145 knots (166 km / h) is simply pulling back on & # 39; e stick. & # 39;
& # 39; The required amount, & # 39; he says, pointing to the PFD (Primary Flight Display (PFD)) screen for me (which is the one with the horizon you & # 39; ve seen in & # 39; movies), & # 39; is about seven degrees. & # 39;
I give it a test drive, move the joystick back with my left hand until the readout says seven degrees.
& # 39; If you bring it in there, there will be enough to get you through and the nose will start to come, & # 39; he says.
Next, a quick lesson on thrust.
I am told that I need to move the levers that are right on a central console, move up & # 39; move the motors up & # 39 ;, to a position marked & # 39; T & # 39; – and then & # 39; two clicks & # 39; ahead to get us hurtling.
"Ready to go?" Says Captain Blythe.
I just laughed. Bored.
Captain Blythe is not a mood to hang. He releases the parking brake and gives one last tip: & # 39; Look ahead and keep it straight. & # 39;
I move the pressure levers a little forward.
Flak farre? Ted smiles all the while as he relaxes in the captain's chair, which does not have buttons on & # 39; side up and down and back and forth can be moved
Trainers from Ted: Captain Mike Blythe, British Airways Flight Technical and Training Manager for the Airbus A380 and A350 (left), and Senior First Officer Ilkka Tahvanainen (British Airways A380 and A350 Project Pilot)
A little more.
Okay, now we're moving and I can hear the engines loud.
We got a little right.
'Bit left stir will keep you going. Continue to set your power, & # 39; says Captain Blythe.
I push the pressure levers forward to maximum power, which is one click too far, so Captain Blythe quickly pulls it back and says & # 39; we are good, we are good & # 39 ;.
& # 39; No, no, no, & # 39; I say, when we left.
Captain Blythe stepped in and used his rudder pedals to keep the enormous A350 straight.
We are moving seriously now.
The corrections come through: 'Keep looking for the end of & # 39; starting track, just small pieces of pressure on & # 39; e rudder pedals to hold it directly. That's fine now. Bite right rudder. & # 39;
An electronic voice trusts & # 39; V1 & # 39; and Captain Blythe says & # 39; ok, turn around, start raising the nose & # 39 ;.
And I do. And … wow. We're with the air.
That has British Airways launched a new cavalier approach to pilot training, risking the lives of hundreds by putting MailOnline journalists at the controls?
Of course not.
I'm in a simulator.
The visual system on & # 39; s simulators is controlled by three angle projectors, which create a computer-generated image that is 180 degrees covered with full perception of & # 39; a depth
But it is no ordinary simulator. It is a multi-movement machine with millions of pounds in BA & # 39; s Flight Training Center at the new Global Learning Academy of & # 39; airline at Heathrow.
A simulator so realistic that it & # 39; Zero Flight Time & # 39; is approved, which means that an experienced pilot can go directly from qualification in a simulator to a real aircraft with customers flying.
The visual system on & # 39; s simulators is controlled by three angle projectors, which create a computer-generated image that is 180 degrees covered with full perception of & # 39; a depth.
Pilots can simulate different weather conditions, events and scenarios, allowing them to prepare for any conceivable situation. They can also program various airports all over the world to take on boarding and landing.
The graphics are not photo-real – but they are real enough.
And the weather conditions that don't simulate them can't go to extreme Hollywood. For example, they cannot simulate flying through a tornado. (Yes, I ask the question.)
But they are extreme enough.
And what's more, it really moves. I'll figure this out during a rather rough landing that I make …
Being one is an experience that I know will forever be seared into my memory.
Just arriving at the BA Flight Training Center is jaw-dropping.
I drive from the dry Hatton Cross Tube station, up an unspecified road and then straight past a parked BA Boeing 777 and a BA Boeing 747.
And within the BA operations base, there is an A380 outside a hangar, just off the path to the training center.
Not a bad commute.
The training center contains 16 flight simulators, located in a row.
There's a bit of War Of The Worlds about them, because they're all on huge legs and look like they could punch through the walls at any moment.
BA is afraid to show MailOnline how great their training facility is.
I'm pretty surprised.
The A350 simulator is right at the end of & # 39; the walking path and Captain Blythe and Senior First Officer Ilkka Tahvanainen (British Airways A380 and A350 Project Pilot), who & # 39; ll do at & # 39; e programming, wait outside.
I'm nervous. But why? It's because I, like everyone else, had imagined how I would first go on the controls of an airplane.
In & # 39; simulators, pilots can simulate various weather conditions, events, and scenarios, allowing them to prepare for any conceivable situation. Pictured is the entrance to the Global Learning Academy
Could I have one country? Could I get one air?
Now I'm about to find out what would happen to me at the controls. The fantasy is about to get a reality check – because & # 39; these machines are incredibly realistic.
Let me just underline this. They are nothing but a computer game.
Be in A350 simulator exactly like being in a real A350 cockpit.
As we enter, I plunge into the captain's seat on the left – well, why not? – and Captain Blythe gives me a quick intro to the plane.
The aforementioned Primary Flight Display is pointed out. This, explained Captain Blythe, has an artificial horizon, with a brown area representing the ground, a blue area the sky and yellow lines that do not represent the wings of the aircraft.
Next to it is the navigation screen, with compass points over the top and a picture of the aircraft in the middle.
The panel above, Captain Blythe, refers to as & # 39; the automatics & # 39; – all buttons for the autopilot.
Screens in & # 39; middle of & # 39; In the meantime, the console can be rotated to show the wheels, fuel system, electronics and hydraulics, etc.
There is also an & # 39; electronic flight bag & # 39; display that shows all manner of information, including runway maps.
All Airbus cockpits are very similar, which makes training pilots easier to transfer from one Airbus type to another.
My first job is to move my seat in the right position.
It should be optimal.
To achieve this, you need to place the chair, using buttons on the side that move it forward and forward and up and down, so that a little white ball on the overhead panel is directly behind a little red ball appears. Once the white ball is deflected by the red ball in your line of sight, you know that you are in a perfect position.
Winging it: Here Ted crashes the plane to & # 39; e & # 39; south coast of England & # 39; – and learns that commercial aircraft rarely bank more than 30 degrees
Next, I have to adjust the rudder pedals, which are used – & # 39; unless something terribly wrong goes mid-flight & # 39 ;, says Captain Blythe – to steer the aircraft on orbit .
I have to release them with a small lever and they come towards me.
I then raise a lever and push the rudder pedals away from me to a comfortable distance.
Then I have to adjust the armrest to my left to make sure my left hand is in the optimal position for another key bit of & # 39; e kit – the joystick (or just & # 39; the stick & # 39 ;, as Captain Blythe says).
This is used to fly the plane up and down – pushing forward makes the nose go down and back makes it go up – and rolls left and right once it is in the air.
The joystick has a trigger on it that, no, does not fire rockets, but allows the pilot to talk to air traffic control (ATC). And there is a red button on the side that selects the autopilot.
The next step is to fasten the belt.
And here I fail miserably, a little embarrassed. I end up needing help to cut it in.
The pilots are bound in four ways, from the sides of the lap, over the shoulders and over the body.
I wrestle with the clasps.
Captain Blythe says the simulators are so realistic that sometimes he even has to torment himself
Captain Blythe explains that commercial aircraft normally depart for airports on a three-degree glide path
'It looks so easy in & # 39; movies! & # 39; I cry out.
First Officer Tahvanainen tells me at this point that the sim has raised itself about three feet to the height of where it was when I passed. I hadn't felt a thing.
My A350 I notice, I look out of the 'window', and sit on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport.
Bizarrely, just to the left of a graphical view of the Sims building of the flight we are on.
Captain Blythe says, & # 39; Well, the first thing we will do is taxi on & # 39; a job. And then, once we're on a job, I'll give you a quick chat about how & # 39; you got in & # 39; an air coming.
& # 39; And once we get into & # 39; e air, I will give you a quick lesson on how & # 39; you will get back on & # 39; ground. & # 39;
Steering on the ground is done with a small wheel – a steering wheel – by the joystick. It turns the nose wheel, which is under the cockpit.
There's a bit of War of the Worlds about the series of flight simulators … writes Ted
It's no more than the size of a small adult hand and it feels amazing to me that such a large object is maneuvered with such a small device. But this applies to every aspect of flight.
I would quickly learn that of all the control devices, this one is the most sensitive.
Continue with the business of flying to the runway.
I was told to follow a yellow line to the left after two flashing lights, which did not mark the holding point for runway 27R.
I was told that no doubt ATC would leave us right on the runway.
"I feel so nervous," I cried.
My brain is starting to convince me that this is a real flight deck.
Captain Blythe tells me to pull the park brake lever to my right and turn it off.
Off it goes.
He says that the aircraft sometimes with a little & # 39; residual steering & # 39; at this point will start to move, but it does not.
Here, Ted applied a little steering to get the plane to the runway
I'm told the push levers in the center console panel are forward & # 39; about a centimeter & # 39; push forward to & # 39; wind the engines a bit & # 39 ;.
I can hear the engines now and we are moving forward.
I push the ridge to the left and pass the A350.
My pulse, it must be said, is racing. "Oh wow," I exclaim.
A word here for all wannabe Airbus pilots – taxi transport is extremely sensitive.
Ever played Out Run on an arcade machine?
A little more sensitive than that.
"It feels hard," I say. Even though we actually mess around.
SFO Tahvanainen tells me to move the push levers to zero, explaining that it will now tax on its remaining thrust.
I turn a little to the left and right, but reach the marker lights on & # 39; edge of & # 39; a job without drama.
I am told to stop the aircraft by setting my feet on rudder pedals and pushing to the very top, where there is a bar. And then to push my toes forward.
& # 39; Check for finals, & # 39; says Captain Blythe, who looks both ways on the runway. "Nobody there. We can line. & # 39;
At this point, with the pressure of the & # 39; rudder pedals, the aircraft begins to move again, on a low steering wheel.
Engineers are working on one of & # 39; simulators of & # 39; a flight. They are in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Captain Blythe says that whether this happens depends on & # 39; weight and conditions & # 39 ;.
I then get my excuses for steering, and declare that I am with the right side.
And so the steering control will therefore be in place.
Getting them in position is a myth difficult. It's a bit like putting a car in a tight parking space. You have to rewrite something and then turn very sharp.
I make a slight hash of it and wave past the centerline, but I'm told we can just move forward and run a little further along.
& # 39; The sending takes quite a bit of & # 39 ;, says Captain Blythe.
And here we are, back at the moment of launch.
Later on after the video I see how exciting I look.
Before we turn on 27R, I pretty much accepted that it is real.
Captain Blythe says that sometimes he even has to torment himself. And that the pilots that are trained to be fully absorbed.
After & # 39; we leave the ground, I need to press & # 39; one click & # 39; reduce to & # 39; climbing power & # 39; to make.
With everything stable, it's time & # 39; to fly away & # 39 ;.
Captain Blythe suggests that I turn left to & # 39; go off to the south coast & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Typically, & # 39; he says, & # 39; we would go to 25, sometimes 30 degrees bank. & # 39;
The first British Airways A350s will enter service in July. They operate with a fly-by-wire system
I go from 20 to 30 and the simulator bank with it.
& # 39; That's about as steep a turn as we get in a commercial jet, & # 39; added Captain Blythe.
The aircraft operates with a fly-by-wire system. So when you push the joystick to the left, the airplane goes to the left and stays that too, even if you release the joystick.
It certainly keeps you on your toes.
I then test the flight protection of & # 39; e A350.
I'm told to bank left as hard as I can, above 30 degrees. I try but the computer on board does not leave me and correct it, reducing the bankers.
A warning alarm sounds when I release the stick.
& # 39; These are the security protections that are built into those that make our operating environment more secure, & # 39; says Captain Blythe.
He then suggests that I try to hit straight up by pulling right back on & # 39; s stick.
We start climbing at a & # 39; very healthy 6000ft per minute & # 39; – but we're going slower.
However, the computer does not stop us. The more I pull on the stick, the harder it gets.
It's nice to be here. But now it's time to get on the ground.
SFO Tahvanainen sees Ted at the controls. He is able to place the aircraft virtually anywhere in the world on & # 39; a flick of a switch – and god play with the weather
Let me sneak one more.
Captain Blythe talks to me about what's going to happen.
Do you think you could land an airplane?
Well, here you do it. Just make sure you have a training captain sitting next to you.
We do 250 knots (287 mph) and now slow down to 2,000ft per minute and we have set idle thrust.
This, says Captain Blythe, is a 'fairly typical origin profile'.
To go down quickly, pilots can set up panels on & # 39; wings called & # 39; spoilers & # 39; that drag and speed the descent rate.
These are activated with a lever on the central console that I need to push down and pull back.
The plane starts to rumble.
I also push my nose down. The arrival is now 3,000ft per minute.
Ted gets a & # 39; lap & # 39; to perform, then & # 39; pilots came up & & # 39; round & # 39; for another corridor at the landing. For example, if turbulence is too strong if an aircraft does not have the runway low enough for them
Captain Blythe sets out the final approach, so I have the minimum amount to do to get the plane down.
He activates the autopilot and introduces the right course and vertical speed as we fly over central London.
The radio altimeter says & # 39; 2,500 & # 39; which means we're 2,500 feet above the ground, a little lower than a commercial aircraft approach would normally be at this point.
It goes on.
Captain Blythe explains that he has set everything so that the aircraft is on a & # 39; runway center line & # 39; at Heathrow will lock and start to go down a glide path, with the autopilot following us.
& # 39; We will intercept a three-degree glide, & # 39; he says. & # 39; We usually take a three-degree glide approach. & # 39;
Nice and soft.
Next – the flaps.
& # 39; These are the pieces of flight control services, & # 39; says Captain Blythe, & # 39; you & # 39; t of & # 39; & # 39; wing back and change the aerofoil shape and allow us to fly more slowly. & # 39;
So I'm going to & # 39; flaps 2 & # 39 ;, with a lever to the right.
Captain Blythe points out that next to the runway – now clearly visible – to the left are four lights, glowing red.
They are a visual manual for pilots and are set at three degrees, so that when incoming aircraft sit on the right glide of three degrees, two of them will be white.
I move the flaps to & # 39; flaps 3 & # 39 ;.
Then I put the wheels down, using a lever on the instrument panel with a small mini wheel at the top.
A bit of humor from & # 39; Airbus engineers.
Down comes the wheels, with a clunk.
Then we go to the last stage of flaps.
We are locked on & # 39; the Heathrow ILS, the instrument landing system, which takes us down to & # 39; e magic slope of three degrees.
Ted's final landing on runway 27R. At 40ft above ground, steer goes to zero and the pilot pulls back a little on the stick
And no sweet palms yet, because the autopilot does everything for us.
& # 39; What great, & # 39; says Captain Blythe. & # 39; But not for long! & # 39;
Now Captain Blythe really shines and shows why he is one of BA's top trainers.
He teaches me how to safely bring the aircraft down with 1500 feet of descent.
He asks me to look at the PFD and record how & # 39; the plane is about 2.5 to three degrees & # 39; nose up & # 39; search.
He says the radio starts to read our altitude at 1,000ft altitude.
You will hear it, he says, read 100, 50, 40, 30 …
"When you hear 40," he says, "close the jacks and pull it back gently with the stick. Probably less than you thought before the start.
'You will only rise two degrees, perhaps, in pitch. That it is a very small movement.
'And keep it straight. No stir until you're on the job. And if you hold the little square over the cross (on & # 39; e PFD – known as the & # 39; flight director & # 39;) it will fly you down. & # 39;
Captain Blythe shows Ted the panel & # 39; automatics & # 39 ;. The buttons on these configure the autopilot
I take off the autopilot with two clicks of & # 39; red button on & # 39; a stick.
A little beep tells me I'm in leadership now.
As we enter, I mention that I can see cars below. It's just nerves. I try to pretend to be relaxed.
Captain Blythe tells me to stick the stick to the left to take us to the centerline. Then to the right.
The radio altimeter says & # 39; hundred above & # 39 ;.
& # 39; There we go, we're pretty much back on & # 39; a center line, & # 39; says Captain Blythe. & # 39; Keep it wings level. & # 39;
& # 39; Fifty, forty … & # 39;
Send to zero, pull back.
A voice says & # 39; dual input & # 39; which means that Captain Blythe just tackles our touch-down.
But we're down.
The real thing: An A350 filmed at an air show in Russia in 2015. Ted can confirm it's a thrill to fly
THE BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT TRAINING CENTER
British Flightways & # 39; Flight Training Center at the new Global Learning Academy of & # 39; An airline near Heathrow has 16 full-motion simulators that include every Airbus and Boeing aircraft type in the & # 39; e British Airways fleet handling.
British Airways & # 39; in & # 39; around 4,500 pilots, as well as flight crew from dozens of other UK and international aviation companies, are trained on the latest simulators, which are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a day. t year, in use.
Pilots can simulate different weather conditions, events and scenarios, allowing them to prepare for any conceivable situation. They can also program various airports to take on board and land at various locations around the world.
British Airways pilots are put on simulators every six months by their pace to test their flight skills to the limit. Maintenance for the simulators is provided around the clock by a dedicated and highly experienced engineering team.
The visual system on simulators is controlled by three angle projectors, which create a computer-generated image that spans 180 degrees and has full depth perception.
The Flight Simulators are designed to feel just like the real thing. They are & # 39; Zero Flight Time & # 39; approved, which means that an experienced pilot can go directly from qualification in a simulator to a real aircraft with customers flying.
Entering a British Airways flight simulator is closest to the height of the & # 39; s cockpit of a commercial jet. British Airways began training its pilots on flight simulators at their Heathrow flight training center in the late 1950s.
While we are landing at the start, I have to hit the right rudder pretty hard and then I forget how to brake … Push the toes forward on the pedals.
Oh, yes. And we come to a standstill.
Ladies and gentlemen, you may now use your phones, but please keep your belts tight.
After that, I spent another three hours on landing – including one 'around'.
This is when pilots were fired and & # 39; round & # 39; for another corridor at the landing. For example, if turbulence is too strong if an aircraft does not have the runway low enough for them.
Although this always looks dramatic to the observer, there is no drama in the cockpit.
I go down on autopilot in the middle of lightning forks and just push the handlebars forward just before touching, which activates the circular mode.
However, full power is not used. Instead, the pilots tend to click back on the thrusters with one click, so that it doesn't & # 39; fear & # 39; for passengers who may not be used to this procedure.
And what of my other two landings?
Well, one is a little rough and when we touch there is a big disturbance. But Captain Blythe boldly tells me he's & # 39; smarter involved & # 39 ;.
And for this, we use the groovy system & # 39; brakes to clear & # 39; from Airbus, which applies just the right amount of brakes to bring the aircraft at taxi speed at the exit of choice.
My third landing is actually pretty good, even if I do say so myself.
In fact, it's so happy that my trainers told me right away that they & # 39; ve done nothing to help me & # 39 ;.
It has been exciting to be an BA A350 pilot for an hour and fascinating to see the realism of & # 39; simulator from & # 39; to experience first hand.
Every click and clunk has been the real article.
And as far as Captain Blythe is concerned, I can offer these thoughts – the BA's A350 & # 39; s will start flying in July and its pilots will be charged by a world-class training captain.
So if you are lucky in the & # 39; s future with being single, sit back, relax and enjoy & # 39; a flight. You are in the best hands.
The new British Airways business seat, the Club Suite, which is set to roll out on services A350
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