Well, as it happened, the real world and the virtual collided. Simply not enough time to take a gentle 200kt flight over the Pacific. So I hung around till I got a cheap ticket on Quantas and flew in a vintage 747-200 to Brisbane. Now, I have an Aunt and Uncle in this equatorial Aussie town, so I will catch up with them for a day or two and then regroup for the 300 odd Nm flight up the Gold Coast to the Great Barrier Reef and Rockhampton.
Looking at the classic Jumbo Jet shape as a passenger gives little idea of how much has changed with this most classic of big iron aircraft in the 30 odd years they have been around. What was a dense array of analogue instruments is now a neat and colouful digital display that somehow removes us from actually how complex aircraft systems really are. Both are well represented in the flight sim world but for me, there is no substitute for the old steam driven stuff. The RFP 747-200 is easily the finest example of a pc based sim getting as real as can be. Whilst it is not possible to create a total immersion with just your laptop this product certainly has a suspension of disbelief rate higher than most others.
Back to the blurry world of simreality.....took off from New Caledonia at 20h30 and after a well deserved 2 and a half hour sleep we touched down at Brisbane International.
Well, it was not all sleep as I had an hour long chat to a girl in the seat next to me. A Chinese-Australian, she told me how Australia is fast becoming the place of choice for many people from the Far East to settle.
Travel gives one a novel perspective and I cannot help wondering how this compares to the Chinese 'invasion' of Africa that we are experiencing in our part of the world. Such is chance, that as a result of who I sat next to on the plane I will be seeing Brisbane with entirely different eyes.....and will eat out tomorrow night at the best Eastern restaurant in the city! That's if I can find the hurredly scribbled mobile number for Wan Lee.
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