As someone anxious at best about being shot thousands of metres into the air I am not the clearest candidate to try a simulator built into the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400.

However as I soared over the sights of Greater Manchester and elsewhere at the controls of the aircraft I realised there is something to be said for the experience after all.

The reason this is possible is The Deck, a simulator built into the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400 based at Barton Aerodrome, which arrived at the airport in Barton-upon-Irwell last year.

Once a part of the fleet for British Airways, it entered service 25 years ago and it exited service in 2020, when the airline announced of the withdrawal of dozens of so-called Jumbo Jets.

@themessengernews We tried the Boeing 747 Simulator at Barton Aerodrome and it was incredible 👌 #boeing747 #flightsimulator #Manchester #bartonaerodrome ♬ Fighters - OctaSounds

Initially it was stored at Kemble Aerodrome in The Cotswolds to be broken up for scrap but it was saved from the scrapyard by the memorabilia merchant Doors2Manual.

Recently I received the opportunity to try it around a year after it opened to a lot of ceremony after an extraordinary, eye-catching trip along a long stretch of the motorway.

Messenger Newspapers: The cockpit of the Boeing 747-400

After an introduction by one of the instructors, some of whom flew the aircraft while it was in operation, I attempted a landing and a take-off at Manchester Airport, followed by flypasts of other, less spell-binding surroundings such as Las Vegas and New York. Then I attempted a spine-tingling stunt when I flew the aircraft underneath The Golden Gate Bridge.

The preservation of the controls in the cockpit, as well as the presence of a cabin behind the cockpit, creates a sense of being on-board an actual aircraft rather than in a warehouse.

Messenger Newspapers: The cockpit of the Boeing 747-400

My co-pilot, Craig Easterbrook, was full of encouragement for my less than adept aviation and, although the cost of the simulator is significant, his expertise made it seem well worth the price for an enthusiast.

The cost of the simulator ranges from £64.95 for a 20-minute session to £219.95 for a 120-minute session. There are tours for a smaller sum and The Deck is licensed for weddings of up to around 120 people.

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This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.