How to become high fliers

How to become high fliers

Being a pilot is a dream job for many. but it's also demanding. A flight simulator can give you a taste of what it's like

Junior Reporter


(Clockwise from back left) junior reporters Heidi Kwan, Jack Sze, Samantha Lau and Janet Choi in the cockpit.
(Clockwise from back left) junior reporters Heidi Kwan, Jack Sze, Samantha Lau and Janet Choi in the cockpit.
Photos: Gareth Pang/SCMP
It was 110 years ago that the American Wright brothers and inventors, Orville and Wilbur, made the first powered flight in an aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in the United States. Since then, man has broken the sound barrier. So, what's it like to fly?

If you want to fulfil your dream of being a pilot, then Flight Experience Hong Kong lets you get close to the real thing. Our junior reporters visited the company's simulator, in Kowloon Bay, to learn how to fly a plane. There, they also met qualified pilot Lo Ting-ting . Let's see what they learnt


Tricks to pull it off

Full attention for a five-minute briefing is important. You need to listen to the advice given. If you are still struggling after all that, there are a few ways for you to get by.

You need to keep the plane as horizontal as possible, even though you have pulled the control lever back and the nose wheel has slightly lifted off the runway. You must manage airspeed, latitude and watch your heading. And you can still appreciate the stunning view outside the window.

Heidi Kwan


Authentic conditions

The outside of a Cathay Pacific flight simulator.

The flight simulator used by Flight Experience Hong Kong is a version of a Boeing 737-800. The model is as popular as it is common around the world. Its internal features are tailor-made to replicate authentic flight conditions.

The panel set-up came from old and repaired parts of retired planes. There are mainly three panels, which are the overhead panel, the electronic panel and the main panels, together with a control stand and some standby instruments.

With numerous practice routes to fly in and out of, anyone - young or old, male or female - would be able to fly the aircraft around and explore foreign cities on their own. A qualified instructor also provides guidance at your side.

Samantha Lau


Advantages of simulator training

Jack, Janet and Samantha look a little anxious before take-off.

Training in a simulator has a few advantages over training in a real plane. Not only does it save costs and time, it also avoids unpredictable factors, such as outside noise and weather conditions, which could immensely affect pilots' performances.

There's a lot of noise from radio messages sent from tower to tower, the tower to your plane, and the tower to other planes. This may distract you when piloting your plane.

Poor weather conditions can also delay your flight. In addition, the simulator helps a pilot to develop better co-ordination in making radio calls, while operating the panel.

Jack Sze


First-hand flying experience

When I settled in the cockpit after dressing up as a pilot, I felt like I was a real captain. It seemed that all the buttons were ready for me to control and the passengers were waiting, with their seat belts fastened.

Yet flying high and facing too many switches and levers, I found them difficult to handle. I wasn't able to manage them all at once. It's not easy being a pilot, after all.

I could barely manage to steer the plane for turns. I also forgot to pull back the control lever during landing and crashed the plane. It makes me want to think twice before considering becoming a pilot.

Janet Choi

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