There were no screaming passengers
HAVING been on a plane countless times, I had often wondered what it was like to be in the cockpit, writes Marcus Boocock.
Bar a quick glance when one of the pilots steps out to use the facilities, I've never really been close enough to satisfying my curiosity.
This was my chance.
I stepped into the pilot's seat on the simulator and was surrounded by dials, buttons and levers. I had no idea what any of them did.
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Luckily, I had pilot Darren Wheeler there to talk me through it and start the engines. Within a minute, I was on the runway at Stansted Airport.
"Use the foot pedals to control your direction," said Darren. That was a bit more difficult than I'd expected – as I took the plane off the runway and on to the grass.
That early mishap behind me, I picked up speed and pulled back the controls to take off. I was now flying a plane.
All I had to concern myself with was a little dial which showed if the plane was level.
Some famous landmarks were disappearing beneath me as I flew over the capital en route to Heathrow.
I was then asked to circle, which was easier said than done. Turning the aircraft and keeping at the same height proved problematic – at one point we were in a dive. At least there were no screaming passengers behind me.
Eventually, I levelled off and it was time to approach Heathrow.
Darren helped by setting the landing gear. I just had to make sure the plane was heading in the right direction. And, to my surprise, I did. I landed on the runway and brought the plane to a halt.
As for whether I'd proved I could be a pilot - probably not!