Monday, 17 November 2008

Flying in total safety - Microsoft Flight Simulator

In one of my last comments regarding religion, I promised Vinod Sharma to write a second chapter on that matter.

But religion is a terrible subject. Awe inspiring, ridiculous, dangerous. So I put the idea in cold store, for the time being.

Right now my main worry is not how to improve humanity through the power of my postings. No, these last weeks I tried - in vain - to pass the Instrument rating test ride at Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

The idea is to fly an airplane - here a Cessna 172 - exclusively with the help of instruments, without any visibility. Flying above clouds, in pea soup fog, heavy rain and above all, being able to land safely under these conditions.

Contrary to a widespread idea, man's brain - and even the brain of a woman - is unable to do two things simultaneously. We do one job after the other and in case we do it fast enough, we can pretend to do them together.

Naturally, I know what to do to pass successfully the check ride. The problem is I have to fly perfectly steady, never deviate from any course, maintain height, maintain speed, respect sink rates and angles of climbing, set the radio and the navigator VOR1 and VOR2 plus ADF. Fly a holding pattern and execute a missed approach. The cherry on the cake, at the end, is to land the plane without seeing anything worthwhile.

And the slightest mistake I make, there is this female voice telling me "sorry, you have to start over again". I hate this voice. Having said this, she continues cheerfully to enumerate the list of my shortcomings.

It's a kind of mission impossible but I have set my teeth to it to get the green light to print my certificate.

This YouTube video is a simulation of this checkride in clear weather and with the help of the Autopilot. Just to show and give an idea. To those who are not yet bored stiff (my compliments to them, they merit a seat in pilot's paradise).

Why I am doing this? Flying under these conditions is a real pleasure but a challenge at the same time, it obliges you to concentrate deeply, this is an intelligent video game.