Test Piloting a New Airbus A350 Flight Simulator: The Video

New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Seattle, Atlanta and Goose Bay — you know, the airport in Newfoundland and Labrador where airplanes divert in the event of an emergency such as when this Boeing 767-300 aircraft operating as United Airlines flight 958 from Chicago to London had to land there back in June of 2015 — were among the destinations on the spontaneous flight itinerary during a solid two hours in an Airbus A350 flight simulator so new that a pilot had yet to be officially trained in it.

Test Piloting a New Airbus A350 Flight Simulator: The Video

The video can be accessed later in this article. First is a recapitulation of my experience in an Airbus A350 flight simulator using photographs.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

We eventually experienced a fire in Engine 1.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

You do not want to see this message next to your gauges on a real flight; but the Airbus A350 seemed to handle the situation well.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Once we “landed”, two fire trucks raced from either side of the airport to meet our aircraft on the runway. The firemen never exited their trucks. Even the flight instructor was amazed at this, as we laughed.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

The runway on which we were to land is off in the distance and visible just to the right of the center divider of the windows. Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

All of our takeoffs and landings had to be visual instead of using instruments because the Instrument Landing System — or ILS — software was not yet calibrated to the hardware.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

There are no yokes to be found in the cockpit of this — or other — Airbus aircraft. This cockpit contains for each pilot a joystick; a trackball; a flywheel and even a computer keyboard with which to control the airplane — similar to an expensive video game.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The Airbus A350 flight simulator is quite spacious; and the graphics seen in the “window” are the best yet that I have witnessed — even with cars moving on the highways below. Oh — and we also experienced a snowstorm on one of the flights.

Airbus A350 flight simulator

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Here is a nice feature: a map of the airport itself — with runways and taxiways — automatically appears on one of the large displays by the gauges once the aircraft has landed.

Without further ado, here is the raw video of the experience — all one hour, seven minutes and 47 seconds of it — and please be sure to visit the official YouTube channel of The Gate With Brian Cohen for additional videos.

Summary

What can be more fun than piloting an authentic flight simulator? How about piloting one where even the flight instructor is not yet completely knowledgeable on it himself?

That does not mean he is inexperienced, as he knows his way around the Boeing flight simulators with years of experience; so we spent an additional 45 minutes or so in a Boeing 777-200LR flight simulator — complete with such unannounced surprises as crosswinds, wind shear, thunderstorms with lightning, and a bird strike which disabled the left engine before the right engine was disabled as well, which forced a landing without power.

Since my experience with the Airbus A350 flight simulator, I was a passenger aboard an Airbus A350-900 airplane operated by Delta Air Lines for a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam — and I was not impressed with my experience.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea