Microsoft Flight Simulator is an incredibly realistic game, aside from the occasional oddity here and there. It simulates the entire planet Earth, at full scale, and that means you can fly between any two points you like in real time. You could wing it from LAX to Dallas-Forth Worth, for instance, Heathrow to Hanover, or maybe Pearson to Buffalo Niagara International if you're looking for something really exotic.
You could even fly all the way over the US, Canada, the Arctic, and Eastern Europe on a long-haul from Los Angeles to Dubai if you wanted, not that anyone ever actually would.
Except, well, these guys: Twitch streamers Bruce Greene and 2SoonBoon, assisted by producer ATC Jeremy, decided to recreate the LAX-DXB experience with a virtual Boeing 747, a flight that normally takes around 16 hours. Their commitment to realism was impressive, going beyond merely the time of the flight to include a fake cockpit, DIY pilot uniforms, and airport bottles.
Today, we embark on one of the world's longest flights in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but we are doing it from a real airplane cockpit.Los Angeles to Dubai. 16 hours. Lots of mini alcohol bottles.Piloting is easy, right?https://t.co/kSBusPLOU2 pic.twitter.com/bcAragP5L4August 18, 2020
"We definitely will be drinking. We're very tired," Greene says near the start of the stream. "So actually, we're just like real pilots."
The flight was inspired by Desert Bus, the painfully bad videogame about driving a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada, in real time. Greene says near the start of the video that the idea originally came up as a joke, but they decided to run with it: He pitched the idea to Twitch, Twitch agreed to pay for it, and Greene and Boon thus themselves committed to being stuck in a fake cockpit for a solid day.
I can't claim to have watched the whole thing, but based on the bits and pieces of I've seen it doesn't look like the most professional flight that's ever been taken. Multiple guests pass through the cockpit (and get turns on the controls), and at one point there appears to be a mixup between the autopilot and the windshield wipers. There's also a debate a couple of hours in about whether the maneuvering stress could rip the wings of the plane off, shortly after which the plane's wings get ripped off. (They restarted from where they left off.)
It's obviously not a "serious" simulated flight, but they manage to make to Dubai in more or less the scheduled time, at which point a mystery guest pilot takes over for a "real action landing" in a heavy crosswind. Do they touch down safely? I won't spoil the ending, but it's a lot of fun to watch.