First-time pilot tests out Boeing 737 Jet simulator
IT ONLY took me 15 minutes in a cockpit to have a greater appreciation for pilots.
And it wasn't even in a real cockpit, or in a real plane carrying hundreds or people.
I was in the next best thing - testing out a 95 per cent accurate Boeing 737 Jet Simulator through Sunjet Simulations through Caloundra's GoFly Aviation School.
Instructor Patrick Hanna was in the cockpit alongside me, talking me through the steps. His guidance made me feel confident and assured.
I was tasked with a simple manoeuvre - fly the plane out of the airport, do a loop around over some mountains and land it safely. For the most part I did a decent job - or as Mr Hanna said - "no one would have thrown up".
But flying a plane is nothing like driving a car.
You must pull back to gain altitude, push down to lose it - which seemed a little alien to me at first.
The steering is simple, left to bank left, right to bank right. However, because you're carrying so much weight, it takes a few seconds to kick in, similar to lag in a video game.
Nevertheless, those simple controls didn't take long to learn and we were airborne and flying over the astonishingly accurate terrain.
I was told to bank left over some mountain ranges, fly low into the valley and loop around to head home.
But coming into the runway is where it went slightly pear shaped. When you're coming in at 300km/h, landing a 70-tonne aircraft isn't easy.
The lagging steering is suddenly reactive. You find yourself correcting to the point of overcorrecting.
Needless to say I missed the runway, landing on the side in the grass somewhat lopsidedly.
The passengers might have copped some bumps and bruises but emerged safely (I think).
So, fortunately, I won't be getting my pilot's licence any time soon.