Flight simulator games are not my favourite as a casual gamer. My brief encounters with them often led to embarrassing outcomes - flying in the wrong direction or getting lost in the vast expanse of the sky.
So, I was rather apprehensive when given the opportunity to learn how to pilot a plane at a new private flight school in Singapore.
"Fingers crossed that I don't send the aircraft into a nosedive," I joked with my colleagues.
On a sunny Tuesday morning, I travelled to Seletar Airport feeling nervous about my first full-motion flight simulator experience.
When I learnt that a captain would be guiding me in the co-pilot seat, I let out a sigh of relief and climbed into the cockpit.
However, I was stumped by the myriad of controls on the flight deck.
"Just keep your eyes on the horizon, place your feet on the pedals, and gently pull on the yoke," my co-pilot Captain Sara said.
Under the direction of the very friendly and patient Captain, we successfully took off from the runway at Changi Airport.
For someone who's not so great at navigation, I managed to fly the aircraft over familiar islands like Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin before returning to Changi Airport.
While we had a smooth take-off and breezed through the sky, landing proved to be a lot more challenging.
"I have the controls," Captain Sara said as I struggled to align the plane with the designated runway to make a landing.
He swiftly made a sharp turn back to the runway before relinquishing control to me.
Left a little dazed by the sudden turn of events, I managed a slightly bumpy landing and emerged from the cockpit wishing I could "fly" for a little while longer.
Of course, I also felt a whole new level of appreciation for pilots.
Singapore's first private flight school
At FlightSchool.sg, aspiring pilots can sign up for a preparatory course to earn their private pilot license.
There, students can clock air mileage and hours while receiving hands-on training in the safe environment of a full-motion flight simulator.
It is also the more affordable option when compared with traditional flying schools in the country, said Mr Fabian Lim, co-founder and director of FlightSchool.sg. It costs about $20,000 in total to train for a private pilot license at FlightSchool.sg while the latter cost between $30,000 and $40,000.
FlightSchool.sg will be holding an open house this Saturday (Nov 27) from 9am to 7pm, with free flight simulator sessions, aviation lectures and activities suitable for both adults and children.
66 Seletar Aerospace View #02-09 Singapore 797509