Wednesday 7 February 2018


Simulation or ‘How to become a Pilot or a Racing/rally driver

Tornado above clouds
RAF  GR4Tornados (image courtesy of RAF)

·         imitation of a situation or process.
·         the action of pretending; deception.
·         the production of a computer model of something, especially for the purpose of study.

Barry’s study is a testament to all things ‘gadgety’. Actually, it’s not just his study. Much of the rest of the house has been given over to electronics. In my dreams I have a beautiful home, with ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. It’s never going to happen but as we keep telling ourselves, ‘It’s a home, not a show place.’ True, very true.

Of course, the animals don’t help, not that they’re untidy, just that they track in mud and shed fur/hair. They also rearrange the furniture. That is not a conscious thing. I wouldn’t like anyone to run away with the idea that working parties of cats and dogs stand together, paws to lips, musing whether the sofa would look better ‘there’ or ‘there’ and should we be on trend and have some ‘shabby chic’ to give the place a little more character? We have the shabby, all right, just not the chic and I don’t suppose it’s a trend any longer anyway.

However, I have gone off at a tangent and what I really wanted to talk about was simulation, hence the title. One of Barry’s friends, who used to fly Tornados, has a flight simulator and his son learnt to fly on it and is now, at 21, a fully-qualified crack pilot. Perhaps ‘crack’ is not the correct adjective. I shouldn’t imagine the use of ‘crack’ improves a pilot’s performance. Anyway, Barry has a rather sophisticated simulation set-up in his study. Frankie, who is 5 and obsessed with cars, loves to play Formula 1 and is developing useful skills. He and Barry share an enjoyable half hour or so most days travelling the world’s racing circuits.   I can hear the roar of the engines and Barry’s exhortations half a house away. One night, after Frankie had gone to bed, Barry decided to play at ‘driving’ himself and to his astonishment discovered that Frankie’s performance far outweighed his. Callum, 20, also likes spending time polishing his skills.

The flight simulator is a little trickier. I can barely achieve lift-off and my crashes are spectacular. It is fun to ‘see’ the world through the cockpit window and is as close as I will ever get to flying a plane. Apparently, airline pilots use simulators to refresh their memories of landing strips in various parts of the world, or to acquaint themselves with unfamiliar destinations. It is an amazing piece of technology, if slightly dizzying. There is talk of going into space . . .

Tornado. 31 Sqn 
RAF GR4 Tornado (image courtesy of RAF)

The Tornado GR4 is a two-seat, all-weather, day/night attack and reconnaissance aircraft. It has been in service with the RAF for more than 30 years, but a combination of major upgrade programmes and numerous continual enhancements has kept the aircraft amongst the forefront of all attack aircraft.
Still one of the very few aircraft in the world that is able to operate at low level, day or night and in poor weather, the Tornado is now equipped with a modern precision-guided weapons suite and world-class reconnaissance sensors such as the Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado (RAPTOR). The aircraft also carries the Litening III Advanced Targeting Pod, which is used in both attack and reconnaissance roles.

(From the Royal Air Force website


  1. The limited times I've tried these sorts of games have been total disasters. My brain just doesn't work that way.

  2. I gather that much practice is needed . . . at least that's how it seems ;-)

  3. Hi Janice - what fun ... super to have those talents and see them being passed down the generations - cheers Hilary


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