Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Logging Time In The World’s Largest Airliner
Left seat in an Airbus 380
After the second takeoff, we leave the wheels down to cool the brakes. Marc monitors the temperatures and raises the gear when everything is safely cooled. He then gives me an ILS approach to minimums in IMC; it works out better than the first landing. Finally, Marc clears the weather and sets me up for a visual approach. With nothing visible out the window to use for attitude reference, the visual approach is challenging. I come in a little high and float about half of the runway but manage a nice touchdown, stopping just before the end for a slow exit at the last taxiway. The feel and sound of the landing in the Level-D simulator is absolutely real. I’m just starting to get the feel of it, but my hour at the controls is over. By now, I’m happy to relax a bit and I leave the simulator with a handshake from Marc and a grin on my face.
Would I be able to take over in an emergency and bring a fully loaded A380 safely back for a landing on my own? The honest answer is “probably not,” though perhaps I could do it with a few more hours of practice…
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