We’ve Been Grounded

We were supposed to fly out to Miami tomorrow morning. American Airlines just cancelled our flight because of Isaac, the tropical storm that may turn into a full-fledged hurricane. While Miami still has beautiful weather, AA doesn’t want to send too many airplanes there because they might have trouble getting them out. The winds are starting to act up.

We are so disappointed but are happy that AA had the good sense to give us fair warning. Friends of ours just called to ask if we wanted to take their private plane into Ft. Lauderdale. It was very sweet of them but I don’t take flights where I have to bend down when I stand up. They also never quite spelled out if we would have to pay the $7,000 needed for fuel.

Of course the offer prompted Eliot to once again ask why I am so scared of small planes. He considers them much safer. I consider them a toy. I don’t want to be in any aircraft where I see the pilot and what goes on in the cockpit. Eliot feels that if I did understand what makes the airplane function, then I might be more relaxed.

We decided to put it to the test. We will be going to Hammacher Schlemmer, the novelty store on East 57th Street, to try out the new Cockpit Flight Simulator which coincidentally has a price tag of $7,000. Boy, the dollar figure sounds familiar.

The flight simulator is installed into a cockpit that equips players with the same flight controls found in actual aircraft. The retailer claims the flight simulator is as close to the real thing as you can get, The fore/aft and left/right movement of the yoke controls pitch and roll just like real airplanes. Its toggles and buttons provide authentic control of navigation and radio options. Thrust levers and dual rudder pedals control realistic throttle and yaw.

The padded flight seat adjusts for optimal seat angle and distance to the rudder pedals while the sound system surrounds the player in realistic audio using five speakers and a subwoofer beneath the seat. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X Gold, the world’s pre-eminent flight simulation software for PCs, comes on the included Dell Studio XPS computer with Windows 7. The software includes 23 flyable aircraft ranging from the ubiquitous Piper Cub to the daunting Boeing 747-800, challenging players to complete over 70 simulated flight missions, all geographically and topographically correct. The missions range from dropping bags of flour onto waterborne targets from an ultralight to taking off from an aircraft carrier aboard an F/A-18 Hornet. Realistic graphics are displayed by a 28″ wide-screen LCD monitor that provides 1080i high-definition resolution. A second 20″ LCD monitor sits below, providing instrument panels that simulate a faithful flight experience. Ages 14 and up. 57″ L x 32″ W x 53″ H. (110 lbs.)

I am getting dizzy already thinking about this mock flight. My heart is already skipping a beat from anxiety. I will let you know how well I do.