Julian's British Airways Simulator Experience

The Experience at Heathrow was one I will never forget. Everyone who greeted us at the beginning of the evening were so friendly, and it was apparent throughout the whole evening that everyone there enjoyed what they did and were all eager to teach us whatever we wanted to know about Heathrow, BA, their backgrounds and experiences in general. It was great.  By the end of the evening I certainly felt I had made the most of asking them questions and fulfilling my time with them.



At first, we were taken into the BA cabin crew training area, we were all given the opportunity to make an evacuation via the emergency slide!  Unfortunately, me being on crutches at the time meant that I decided not to have a go, but I enjoyed watching others trying it out, and meanwhile chatted to our hosts about various aspects of it, which was really interesting. We also went on our way back, to the BA hangar, which had a 787 having some maintenance done to it, which was an incredible sight!
After taking a group photo, we made our way back to the main building, had some food and drink, and greeted our pilots for the evening! We were put into groups of 3, and made our way along the 0.3 mile walkway which was full of simulators of all kinds, and ours, at the very end,  number 16, a 747-400 simulator, the slight movement of the simulator at that time made it clear that it was in use, and so we chatted to our pilot, Ed, for a while about his BA career, and he definitely seemed very keen to share all the great things about the job and the employer. A couple of friendly pilots came out of the simulator, and told us they had just spent 4 hours in there!

The interior of the Sim was as realistic as a real 747, each one cost around 8-10 million dollars to buy, and so were very realistic, with the hydraulic legs underneath raising the cockpit up, and allowing full movement of the cabin. After making our cabin announcements, and turning on the fasten seat belts indicator, I took my place in the co-pilot seat, and Ed set up the Sim, full motion, ready to take off from Heathrow! The flight was incredibly realistic, every action had an impact on the movement, and I learnt so much just looking through the controls, and what they did. All landings were incredibly realistic as impact was easy to feel, although I later realised that night landings have a much more bumpy result in my case. Of course I asked all the technical questions, and Ed was as always very happy to answer and go into detail, even though our time in the Sim was limited to 2 hours.

After 9 landings, 3 takeoffs, and a low visibility landing demonstrated by the computer, we made our way back to the meeting point, and said goodbye to our friendly pilot, who once having a five minute tea break had to train some students for another few hours in the simulator! After having a good talk with all the other guests and aviation enthusiasts, we thanked both Andy's who were very friendly, helpful and informative, and we made our way back to our cars, and said goodbye.

The whole evening was such an incredible experience, and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone who has the opportunity. everyone there made sure they could make everything as accessible and inclusive as possible, so I felt no drawbacks with crutches apart from the slide, which wasn't for me anyway. It was incredible to fly the Sim, see the BA training centre, and meet all the professionals there, and I hope others will have the same opportunity in the future.

Thank you so much.  It was one of the best experiences of my life :)
Eleanor Jones