Virgin Atlantic loves creating amazing, memorable and exciting experiences for customers going through check in – and this half term has been no different.
The airline has been inspiring the next generation of pilots by introducing flight simulators at London Heathrow Terminal 3 to give children a chance to try their hand at flying. Some of the Virgin Atlantic crew were on hand to help and encourage.
Virgin Atlantic also welcomed a group of nine and 10-year-olds from London primary school, Grove Park, as part of the Virgin Atlantic Future Flyers programme, which is aimed at encouraging young people to consider a career in aviation. The children had the chance to ask some pilot cadets their questions before they practised flying over London and landing a plane at Heathrow.
Technological advances in recent years mean that teachers are now expected to prepare children for jobs that might not have existed before. Grove Park teacher Richard Charlesworth said: “That’s why initiatives like today are so good. The children really enjoyed going on the flight simulator and it’s opened their minds to future job opportunities they might not have previously considered. I think they’ve learned a lot. They’re also a really curious bunch, so it’s been great for them to speak with the crew and have all their questions answered – not just the technical stuff, but things they wouldn’t have known about before, like the meaning of the pilots’ epaulettes.”
The kids, of course, just want to have fun, and they were certainly excited to take to the virtual skies. “When you turned the plane to the right, the chair turned to the right as well and it felt like being on a real flight,” said Sammy, aged nine. “You had to know when to accelerate and slow down, and there were also tons of buttons to remember as well so it was quite hard.”
10-year-old Gabi was also up for the challenge. “Flying the plane felt epic but it was very hard,” she said. “When we came in to land I could feel the sound kind of hit me and go all the way up through my belly. I actually crash landed but I loved it!”
Virgin Atlantic’s president of airline operations said that he believes it’s the “duty of all of us in the airline industry to inspire young people to reach for the sky. By placing the flight simulators at our check in desks during one of our busiest times, we aim to provide children and young adults with a fun and informative opportunity to think about a career in aviation.
“We’re proud to welcome Grove Park Primary School, and will continue to encourage young people from all backgrounds to consider exciting future careers in aviation – utilising the wealth of raw talent Britain has to offer.”
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