Michael McIntyre: flight in computer simulations and in gliders

Michael McIntyre tells story of the development of his interest in flying, including first sole flight in 1990.

I did have an Acorn microcomputer, do you remember those – the BBC microcomputer made by Acorn, this would kind of take us back to I suppose the ‘80s isn’t it, when did they – it was sometime around then, it was a great success in the schools and everything. Anyway I happened to have one of these things and a piece of software called Aviator, that actually simulated flight dynamics moderately well, must have been some very clever programming to get it into that tiny computer. So there was crude graphical display of a view from the flight deck and you had a little joystick so you could fly on the joystick, and I never got around to building a rudder – some rudder pedals but it flew alright just on the joystick. But anyway I learned to land this thing, it was actually much more difficult to land the computer plane than – than [laughs] a real plane because you have much less visual input, much less accurate sense of your distance to the ground which is a bit critical [laughs]. But anyway I did a lot of practice on this thing rather obsessively for a few years and finally went to the Cambridge Gliding Club and got myself a trial flight and the weather was beautiful, the view was enchanting you know it was one of those showery light – well fair weather cumulous rather, not showery but, you know, the dappled sunshine on the green fields was a beautiful sight. So it was just magical and so I – once we’d got off the ground I was allowed to take the controls and stooge around and try a turn and so on. And by the time we had to come into land he actually let me land the glider myself. This was a huge surprise, I though you’d have to have many sessions before you’d be allowed to do that. But actually it was amazing how well instinct serves you, and I sort of managed to land without too much of a mishap, and that was such a thrill, complete wonderful surprise and that got me hooked you see. I joined the club and – and I first went solo in 1990. Same year as I got into the Royal Society, 1990 was a red letter year for me in two ways [laughs].

  • Interviewee Michael McIntyre
  • Duration 00:02:17
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 3/30/2012
  • Shelfmark C1379/72

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