My finger had barely kissed the screen’s EXECUTE icon when the simulator gave a loud BANG followed by the most violent heaving, pitching, rolling, yawing and slewing I had ever witnessed. I could hear the motion system wheezing beneath us as the simulator cab shook and vibrated.
It happened one Christmas Eve, at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, where I was captain of a 777-300. I looked out the front window to see passengers still running towards their gates, bags of Christmas gifts swinging, children struggling to keep up. I could tell from their posture and motion that they were either out of breath or in tears, maybe both.
In late Spring 1973, almost 44 years ago, I was 22 years old and on the cusp of achieving my life-long goal of becoming a professional pilot. It was an overseas flight with a notoriously-crusty old senior check captain so I was vibrating with anxiety. There would be no remedial training if this guy gave me a thumbs down at this tenuous point in my career.