I miss a lot of things about travel, but being trapped in a tiny metal tube for hours on end isn't exactly one of them. Not so for Microsoft Flight Simulator streamer Bruce Greene and friends. Donning pilot uniforms and building an entire fake 747 cockpit, the trio set off on a 16-hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai - though if my pilot was cracking open as much alcohol as these lads, I'd already be reaching for a parachute.
While MSFS's Earth can often break into the surreal, it does accurately reflect the sheer scale of our lonely planet. Even a quick hop from London to Edinburgh means setting aside 90 minutes of your time. If you want to make an intercontinental flight, that's a full day's commitment.
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.
Lots of mini alcohol bottles.
— Bruce Greene (@brucegreene) August 18, 2020
Enter streamers Bruce Greene and 2SoonBoon, who (along with producer ATC Jeremy and a few guests) took up the arduous task of jetting from California to Dubai earlier this week - a trip that takes just shy of 16 hours. As PC Gamer reports, the idea began as a joke. But after talking to Twitch, the platform agreed to put some money behind the plan, kitting out the crew with a prop cockpit and tiny airport drinks bottles.
"We definitely will be drinking," Greene announces at the start of the stream. "We're very tired. So actually, we're just like real pilots."
With most of the trip taking place thousands of feet above the clouds, the crew find their own ways to keep the stream entertained - taking turns on the controls and behaving in a manner that'd put the fear of flight into me for the rest of my life. They manage to barrel roll a jumbo jet almost six hours in, but their reckless piloting also snaps the wings off the plane, forcing a restart. Still, they do eventually make it to Dubai on schedule.
Greene and co's trip was notably inspired by Desert Bus, a notorious driving sim that portrays the eight-hour drive from Tucson to Las Vegas in real-time. The enduring legacy of that game is Desert Bus For Hope, an annual charity fundraiser that sees a team drive to Nevada and back for as long as they can keep raising money. With the whole world under Flight Sim's wings, it'll be interesting to see if long-haul fundraisers end up taking flight from Microsoft's runway.