I flew a 747 today. Specifically, I manually controlled a Boeing 747-400 during take-off and landing at the Hong Kong International Airport. It all happened inside a flight simulator, of course.
We have been collaborating with Cathay Pacific on some airport operation projects. Today, they arranged for us to visit their Flight Training Centre, and we got to play with one of their 11 flight simulators. These are not games run on a computer. But multi-million dollar systems with 6-axis hydrostatic motion. We got to use the pedals to control the plane’s motion on the ground and feel the plane turn. We got to pull and feel the plane take off and climb, push to feel the plane dive and land. One of us (not me) actually managed to crash the plane in landing. The jolt was realistic enough to make me worry about damaging the simulator; but I don’t think we did.
The flight simulators are the second most expensive assets of the company, after the actual planes, of course.
They are fantastic toys.