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My Head in the Virtual Clouds

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I have been an aviation nut since I was a kid. How does this tie into photography? Well, my earliest digital photos were taken at Pearson International Airport, capturing images of jetliners departing and arriving as I dreamt about being a commercial pilot. A few years later, that passion led me to the Brampton Flying Club, where I accumulated time on a Cessna 172. In the end, my career took me in a different direction, but aviation continued to be a theme in my life. The fidelity of home flight simulation continued to advance, and I was able to stay engaged and proficient, going so far as to learn more advanced systems and process flows of large jets.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I was given the gift of a 2-hour session in a full-motion Boeing 767-300 ER flight simulator used by commercial pilots in training and recertification. I was over the moon, and when the big day came, I was ready to take it all in. It exceeded my expectations, with the highlight being a full hand-flown approach in Cat 1 conditions (200 ft ceilings), with a go-around due to an aircraft being on the runway. The instructor decided to throw in an engine failure on the climb out just for good measure. What a rush!! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience something that so few outside of the profession get the chance. An experience I will never forget!

Jason Foley, your virtual pilot

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