Monday, February 17, 2020

Become a Virtual Pilot

The UK's air traffic control service, NATS, has released a fantastic visualization which allows you to experience a virtual plane journey from London to Manchester. During the take-off, flight and landing you can listen in on the conversations which take place between the pilot and ground & air control. The whole journey is designed to show you how NATS Air Traffic Controllers safely guide a real plane on a journey from London Heathrow to Manchester.

As you scroll through Plane Talking you can watch as your plane taxis on to the runway, takes-off and flies towards Manchester. Next to a mapped visualization of your plane's journey a map sidebar displays the text of the conversations which take place between air traffic control and your pilot. You can also listen to these conversations as they occur during the journey.

The map sidebar is also used to provide other interesting and important information regarding air travel. For example information is provided on how wind direction affects take-off and landing and also the direction of an airport's runways. You can also learn the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, the codewords which are used for letters by pilots and air traffic controllers when they are communicating with each other.

After you have successfully landed Plane Talking presents you with some data on your completed journey. During your 150 mile flight there were 73 messages passed back and forth between the pilot and ground & air traffic controllers. Nine separate air traffic controllers spoke to the pilot during the flight and the plane passed through five different airspace sectors.

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