Flying a passenger aircraft on an airplane simulator is tremendous fun and has three main advantages over being a pilot of a real passenger plane:
1) There is no real risk involved. Provided you keep your calm, there is very little risk of serious physical injury. And in a ‘worst-case scenario’, you only fall off your chair anyway.
2) You didn’t have to undergo years and years of training to get where you are. Ok, you do need to know how to operate a computer and download software, but that’s not quite the same as the 1,500 hours experience needed to become an actual airline transport pilot.
3) You don’t have real passengers. This is probably the biggest advantage of an airplane simulator. Why? Here are a few notable dates in the recent history of air passenger behavior:
19th December 2006. Live rats caused panic on a flight in northwest Saudi Arabia after escaping from a passenger’s rucksack. The plane had climbed to 25000 feet before people started to notice rats running around the cabin. Upon landing the passenger admitted that the 80 live rats in his rucksack had gone unnoticed when he boarded the flight.
13th February 2007. A well-known French television personality, Jean-Luc Delarue, left his first-class seat, under the influence of alcohol and anxiolytic drugs and ventured into the main passenger cabin, where he came across the Algerian women’s football team. At first polite, Delarue’s behavior became worse and worse, taking off his shirt and trying to caress intimately one of the players. He was finally escorted back to his seat in handcuffs, all the while insulting both passengers and crew alike.
24th June 2008. A resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA was charged with being intoxicated and disruptive in public following an incident on the American Airlines flight from Dallas to Charlotte. He had been drinking rum and coke, but, when the flight attendants decided that he’d had enough, he became loud and abusive. His behavior included throwing ice at other passengers and grabbing a flight attendant’s buttocks.
On 25th July 2008 a flight from Kos, Greece to Manchester, England was forced to divert to Frankfurt when two women passengers started being abusive to crew and one attempted to open an external door. The flight was over Austria when the crew noticed the women were drunk and refused to serve them any more alcohol. One of the women then took a swing at a flight attendant with a bottle of vodka and apparently wanting some fresh air, attempted to open a door. At this which point both of the women were restrained in their seats and the flight diverted to Frankfurt, where German police entered the plane and removed them.
24th November 2009.A Buddhist monk, from Myanmar, is reported to have opened the emergency exit of an Air India airplane while it was on the runway preparing for take-off because he wanted some fresh air. The monk, who is believed to have been feeling claustrophobic, managed to open the door using instructions on the inflight safety card. The flight had to be delayed for nearly seven hours while safety checks were carried out.
27th December 2009. Donald Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, was forcefully removed from a New York City-bound Delta Airlines flight after causing a scene and screaming at crew members. Apparently irritated by a baby crying and a group of children running in the aisle of her first class cabin while the flight was waiting to depart Palm Beach International Airport en route to New York Ms Trump began shouting and swearing at the children and at the cabin crew who tried to intervene. The pilot taxied back to the departure gate where Ms Trump was forcefully disembarked by waiting police officers.
However, the unexpected doesn’t always come from the passengers.
August 2010. A fed-up flight attendant reportedly cursed passengers on the plane public-address system, grabbed some beer from the galley and exited on an emergency slide. Steven Slater lost his temper after a row with a passenger at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. The flight attendant then jumped off the parked jet by deploying the emergency chute before walking across the tarmac and onto the street. Before abandoning the aircraft, Slater announced to passengers: “Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride”.
Flying a passenger airplane can be a nightmare, depending on the level of sanity of your passengers. The above is just a random selection of the hundreds of incidents which happen each year and provide an excellent reason for preferring flying an airplane simulator in the comfort of your own home.
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