Landing a passenger plane for Children in Need

This year for Children in Need I landed a passenger plane at Heathrow airport. You should be relieved to hear it was a virtual plane in a flight simulation at the department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) at the University of Sheffield.

The flight simulator was the full works – with a cockpit in the middle of a large room, and the walls around the room displaying the view. You stepped in to the cockpit and in to the pilot’s seat, and used authentic controls; no computer joystick and small monitor here!

To try the flight simulator landing the participants donated £10 to Children in Need, raising a total of £538, which was fantastic and something I was very excited to be a part of.

The results were published, so below is a nice box and whisker diagram of all the data:

Box and whisker plot of flight simulator landing scores

Apparently the scores mean the following (provided by ACSE):

Below 20 A major disaster – few, if any, survivors – one sure way to get on page one of the Sun, but for all the wrong reasons – you won’t be attending the inquest.
20-39 Serious damage to the aircraft – if the impact didn’t kill you, the undercarriage coming up from under your seat won’t have helped.
40-49 The aircraft may be repairable – likely to be sold on to one of the budget airlines for summer trips to Alicante.
50-59 The burst tyres will need replacing and the passengers will need a strong drink assuming they were not hit by bottles of gin falling from the overhead lockers caused by the heavy jolt on touchdown.
60-69 Passengers will have exchanged worried glances during the landing and those with a nervous disposition will be glad they packed an extra pair of trousers.
70-79 An arrival rather than a landing – you’re welcome to London Gatwick – as the pilot probably announced to the startled passengers.
80-89 Have you ever considered a career with the airlines?
over 90 Are you sure you didn’t accidentally engage the autopilot?

I scored 64.92, so apart from a few passengers needing a change of underwear, they all survived. I didn’t think that was too bad for my first landing.

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