Paris Air Show

Fly Sukhoi sim and become a Russian Top Gun

 - June 19, 2007, 11:47 PM

For years, airshow crowds have been wowed by the superlative demonstrations of Russian fighters, but now visitors here at Le Bourget can sample the delights of flying such aircraft themselves. On the Sukhoi stand (Hall 4, Stand G15) a Su-35 flight simulator creates a realistic atmosphere not to be taken lightly by those prone to air sickness.

The sample Su-35 is a visuals-only simulator, but despite the lack of movement, the visuals are sufficient to get the adrenaline going. Those volunteering to sit in the cockpit should have had some experience in flying an airplane, if embarrassment is to be avoided by an irresistible force meeting an immovable object; i.e., the ground.

But even experienced fighter jocks should get a buzz as the simulated fighter rolls after takeoff, flies low level at high speed and zooms seemingly effortlessly skyward. Pilots among the onlookers in the simulator room cannot fail to sense the anxiety of the pilot during the final approach at the end of the sortie. A crosswind can make the touchdown demanding but the sense of relief is shared by all in the darkened simulator room as the aircraft is placed safely on the ground.