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Fancy being a fighter pilot? All you need is your smartphone…

Picture of Matthew Horsman

Matthew Horsman

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In recent years we have been experiencing an incredible technology boom. The number of gadgets, devices and wearables that we are seeing in the hands of the average person has increased dramatically. And things don’t seem like they are going to stop moving in this direction any time soon.

Along with this trend for gadgets and devices we also have the other phenomenon of recent times, social networks and the rise of viral internet content.

So, in terms of the aerospace and aviation business, from the layman’s point of view what does this all mean exactly?

Now we can literally see through the eyes of the astronaut. But not only that, we can move our mobile device around and see every detail in his or her entire field of vision.

Well, ten years ago who would have thought that today you would be able to watch a crystal clear 360 degree video from inside the cockpit of a fighter jet while it performs a stomach-churning aerobatics display? Not in our wildest dreams we would have imagined it possible to fly a tiny helicopter up into the sky and see what it sees through our mobile phone or tablet. Or how about sit on the side of a space rocket as it launches into space and performs complex operations and then re-enters into earth’s atmosphere?

Years ago the type of technology and gadgets you or I can now freely go and buy whenever we want were only really available for use in high-tech and very often classified industries, or were only seen in science fiction or James Bond style spy movies. But this new technology revolution, coupled with way information now flows so freely via the internet, means that now almost anybody has the chance to see space missions up close and personal, from the angle they want to. They can do this either in real time or at a later date from the comfort of their own home. Long gone are the days of a static, fixed-angle camera with a jerky black & white out of focus image broadcast on the evening news that only the most eagle-eyed of viewers could decipher. Now we can literally see through the eyes of the astronaut. But not only that, we can move our mobile device around and see every detail in his or her entire field of vision, and with a level of detail and image quality so sharp it feels like you are actually there. And all of this you can do from the comfort of your sofa, or even while sitting on the beach if you want. You just have to take your smartphone out of your pocket, touch the screen a few times and you’re right there, up in the sky flying over the Pacific Ocean or floating around earth’s orbit.

It seems that high-tech companies and initiatives too are embracing this revolution with open arms. Incredible projects like Solar Impulse are making the most of these opportunities to give everyone the chance to sit on the wing or in the tiny cockpit of this amazing aeroplane as it makes the next leg of its round the world mission. Check out their 360 video here. Make sure you watch it on a mobile device, you can move the image around and see everything from any angle. It really is a breath of fresh air.

Without even mentioning the endless amount of resources available on YouTube, there are a huge amount of blogs and sites that publish fantastic videos of cockpit views of jets and other aircraft in-flight. The Aviationist is a great example of one of these sites. You can find some great videos here or here (make sure you click the link of at the top of the video window to launch it in the YouTube app or you may not be able to see it in 360 mode).

So calling all you aviation and aerospace geeks out there, jump into the cockpit, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the flight!


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