My favourite illustrative factoid about the perpetual shitshow that is the London housing market is that it’s cheaper to live and commute into London from Madrid than it is parts of London. Well, when I’m inevitably priced out of my chosen pocket of the capital, I’ll have one up on everyone else relocating to Spain because I know how to fly a bloody plane. Well, sort of.
Flight Experience London offers the kicks of being airborne without the actual altitude, home as it is to the city’s most sophisticated flight simulator. Forget the joystick-controlled nonsense of your Amiga 500 – this faithfully remodelled cockpit is fully decked out in instruments, panels and switches from a real Boeing 737, all of which work, and all of which were, as recently as a year ago, attached to an actual aeroplane.
There are two different types of experience on offer – there’s hand flying, which is all about grappling with the controls for twisty, technical flights. The other is a sector flight – a faithful recreation of an actual passenger journey between any two airports in the world (there are 24,000 faithful recreations programmed into the simulator). The latter may be lacking a little adrenaline from the casual enthusiast’s perspective, but it’s a pure planegasm for hardcore aviation nuts, as you’re left in charge of everything from programming the autopilot to flicking on the seatbelt signs.
Coolest of all is that the sim reflects the precise weather conditions and air traffic happening above your head in real time – so check the weather forecast before you book, as there won’t be much to look at out the window if you fly on a cloudy day. Which is of course not something I’ll have to worry about when zipping into Time Out HQ from my Spanish villa. David Clack