Video game based flight simulation has recently become so advanced and realistic now that you really do feel like you are flying an aeroplane. In 'simulator mode' some games allow you to control the pitch, yaw, roll, throttle, flaps, landing gear, etc. and we could easily be fooled into thinking that we could, say after 40 hours time in the game, fly an actual aircraft. There are even fully functional fuel gauges to tell us how long we've got before we need to return to the landing strip. I've never had to fly a plane yet, but I'm sure, if nothing else, it would be an excellent introduction for anyone wanting to train as a real life pilot, be an actual emergency pilot or to be able to fly a 'getaway' plane after the apocalypse.
Flight simulators are also great for the environment as you can fly around over many far flung places such as Sicily, Malta, Norway, Korea, Japan, Russia, etc. without consuming more than a few drops of valuable jet fuel.
So you find yourself in a passenger aeroplane and both the pilot and co-pilot get chronic diarrhoea due to something way out of date served up by the cabin crew. They are both stuck in the toilets unable to fly the plane, which is now fast approaching the airport on auto-pilot. The cabin crew make an urgent announcement on the intercom asking if anyone on the plane is a trained pilot. You will soon be able to confidently raise your hand and say 'Yes, I have done 40 hours in an online flight simulator game and I can certainly land this plane'.
When you find yourself asked to land a jet airliner, air traffic control will give you all the necessary landing speeds and altitudes over the radio and they will tell you where all the switches are for the main controls. BUT, you will need to have practised at least 40 hours basic flight simulator training to ensure a safe landing. Fortunately, it's absolutely free!
In the flight simulator game you will need to practise your approach to the landing strip and general awareness of speed and altitude so that you touch down nice and gently onto the start of the runway. This is the only way you will be able to save the 248 passengers on board from being killed.
Wing Commander Twmfatt will now give you some really useful tips on how to fly a jet aircraft and, at the end, will provide a YouTube demo flight in his Meteor F.Mk4 type G.41F, showing how you take off, circle the airstrip and land using the flight simulation software.
|Cost:||..........||The actual game is free|
|Hazards:||..........||RSI - Take frequent breaks|
Step 1: Equipment Required
Step 2: Approaching the Runway
Obviously, landing is the most important task so we will start here.
When you get to within about 5km of the runway, start to bring the plane down to an altitude of about 300m. You will need to reduce the throttle, sometimes to zero, depending on how high up you are. If you were 5km high, you would reduce the throttle to zero and carefully circle downwards to near the end of the runway, making sure that you did not exceed the maximum design speed for the aircraft. If you are doing an emergency landing in a passenger jet, ask air traffic control what the maximum allowable safe speed is.
Practise this in the Flight simulator game until you can do it without crashing.
Step 3: Touching Down
Now that you are at 300m and, say a speed of 300 km per hour and 2km from the runway, make sure that you are lined up properly with the length of the runway ahead and make small turns to get your approach dead on straight. This is also a really good time to check your fuel gauge to see if you can safely abort the landing if you think that you are going too fast.
At this point, it's really important to remember to lower the landing gear (the wheels) otherwise you will make really nasty scrape marks on the tarmac and you might also catch on fire, which will damage the Tarmac even more. Never lower the landing gear above 450 km per hour otherwise it will tear the aeroplane apart!
If you've got the approach nice and straight and you feel reasonably confident of a safe landing, hit the flaps switch to the 'landing' position. Again, if you are in a passenger jet, just ask air traffic control where the switch is. It will probably be marked with a big 'F'. Readjust your speed by increasing the throttle if necessary.
The plane may now suddenly lurch upwards and you need to counteract this by pushing the yoke downwards. Get the nose at a steep angle rather than a shallow one as the most common mistake is not to be aggressive enough in the landing rake. At this point you may feel that you are 'dive bombing' the runway, but you should notice that your speed is rapidly decreasing. Just before you land, pull up the yoke to bring the plane level on the runway and it should just drop like a feather.
Assuming you hit the tarmac at the optimum 200 kmh, wack the throttle down to zero and slam on the brakes. The meteor has a handy front wheel, so keep the yoke pointing forwards to keep the plane nose down or otherwise it might try to take off again.
Very soon the plane will come to a standstill and if you are in a passenger jet the passengers will give you a huge cheer. Don't get too full of yourself as if you want to do the job properly you will want to taxi the plane off to the passenger exit point. Release the brakes and bring the throttle up to about 25% and get the plane moving at about 10 kmh. Ramp the throttle back down to 5% and slowly taxi along the runway following air traffic control's instructions. And don't forget to turn off the engines when you have finished.
Again, practise this in the Flight simulator game until you can do it without crashing.
Step 4: Taking Off
You are unlikely to need to take off in an emergency, unless, for example, you are being pursued by a horde of hungry post apocalyptic zombies. Nonetheless, taking off from the runway is much easier to achieve successfully than landing and basically requires the reverse of the landing procedure.
Taxi the plane to the end of the runway, apply the brakes and stop still before attempting the take off run. Firstly, make sure that your controls are working properly so test the flaps, the yoke and the throttle. Now set the flaps to the 'take off' position. Then ramp the throttle up to full and release the brakes. The plane will start to move forwards and may also start to veer off to one side, in which case, use the 'rudder' control to keep it aligned with the runway. If you have a flat tyre, strong side wind or if the ground is very uneven, this can be tricky.
As soon as the plane reaches about 170 kmh there will be enough lift for take off. Very gently start to ease the yoke back towards you and you should start to feel the plane lift off the ground. Do not be tempted to pull back too much further on the yoke unless there are trees or such like in front of you. Get plenty of speed up, retract the landing gear and retract the flaps and then gently pull back the yoke to gain altitude, maintaining a speed of at least 300 kmh.
Enjoy your flight!
Step 5: Video
Wing Commander Twmffat has very kindly recorded a demonstration video of how to take off, fly and land his Meteor F.Mk4 type G.41F jet aeroplane.
Step 6: In Game Warfare
It is possible to play as a lone gun or form a squad and go into combat against other squads. This is great fun and largely non-violent, unlike some other 1st person shooter games like call of duty etc. The age limit is 12 and above and 99% of the people playing are very friendly.
If anybody wants to form an Instructables squad please contact me or leave a message in the comments below. Thank you.
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