A few weeks ago, I piloted an F18 Hornet fighter jet off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John C. Stennis. I gently cruised above the coast of the Dubai, dipping down as low as 5,000 feet to buzz the palm tree-shaped artificial island groups jutting out into the Arabia Gulf. Except I wasn’t in an actual F18 Hornet cockpit or in the Arabian Sea. I was ensconced in a replica of an F18 Hornet cockpit at the Light VR Cinema, PlayLab and Studio on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, wearing a professional Vrgineer XTAL VR mixed reality headset.
The F18 flight experience was compelling, both exhilarating and calming at the same time. I’ve been in the actual real-life cockpit of both a blimp and a helicopter in flight, and this virtual flying experience felt close to those physical realities, vividly illustrating the power of Virtual Reality (VR).