Formula 1 star Jenson Button enjoyed racing through the skies this week after piloting a British Airways A380 flight simulator at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The former World Champion – who recently announced his retirement from the track – spent 90 minutes perfecting take-off, cruise and landing of the world’s largest commercial aircraft.
The simulator at British Airways’ state-of-the-art Flight Training Centre near London’s Heathrow Airport – where the airline’s 4,200 professional pilots are trained – uses cutting edge motion, audio and graphics technology to deliver a completely immersive experience.
Jenson was coached on the flight deck by British Airways’ Head of Technical and Training, Captain Dave Thomas and Senior First Officer; William Swinburn for his first ever sim experience.
The 37-year-old made three landings into Hong Kong International Airport in total and was thrilled to take control of the iconic double-decker four-engine aircraft, which forms the centrepiece of British Airways’ fleet along with the Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Jenson said: “It was so cool! I’ve flown all over the world but this is the first time I’ve experienced what it’s like to be at the controls and it was a pretty incredible feeling.
“It’s like you’re in a real aircraft and after a while you forget it isn’t the real thing. I think I did pretty well for a first timer – though if there had been passengers in the back we might have had a few complaints about my first landing. Let’s just say it was a bit bumpy.”
Captain Dave Thomas, Head of Technical and Training, was impressed by Jenson’s handling of the aircraft. He added: “Jenson obviously has experience travelling at high speeds and he adapted well to taking control of the A380.
“Being a pilot is all about calmness under pressure, preparing properly and getting from A to B with safety being the foremost priority at all times, so I think coming from a Formula 1 background Jenson definitely has some of the attributes required of a pilot.”
British Airways’ A380s are now flying between London and Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Singapore, Washington, San Francisco, Miami and Vancouver. Visit ba.com to book your tickets.
The aircraft offers a choice of British Airways’ First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins and has a total of 469 seats.
About British Airways
British Airways’ route network currently serves more than 190 cities in 80 countries. British Airways has been flying to India for over 90 years and currently operates 49 flights a week between London Heathrow and the key five cities in India – New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. From October 2015, customers from Delhi became the first at British Airways globally to experience the most technologically advanced Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and the new First cabin.
The airline operates from the award-winning Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. Exclusive to British Airways’ and Iberia Airlines’ customers, Terminal 5 was named by Skytrax as the Best Airport Terminal for the fifth consecutive year in 2016. London Heathrow also won the Best Airport Shopping award in the same year.
In October 2016 at the Business Traveller Awards, British Airways was awarded the Best Short-Haul Carrier and its frequent flyer programme, Executive Club was awarded the Best Frequent Flyer Programme for the 11th consecutive year. British Airways’ Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5 was awarded Best Airport Lounge. The oneworld alliance, of which British Airways was a founding airline, came in first in the Best Airline Alliance category for the fourth consecutive year.
In February 2016, British Airways won the Consumer Superbrand for the third time in a row, and the Business Superbrand for the second year in a row at the Superbrands 2016 Awards. This is the first time that any company has won both prestigious titles in two consecutive years.