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:
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.