The Mayor of Brighton and Hove paid a flying visit to his old university where he took to the skies without leaving the ground.
Mayor Pete West tried a flight simulator at Brighton University and said: “It was incredibly realistic. I took off at Shoreham, barrel rolled and nearly flew under the pier, before managing to get down in one piece at Gatwick.”
Councillor West had a go in the simulator at the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences in Moulsecoomb where he was awarded a first class honours degree in electronic engineering in 1992.
He “flew” an F22 Raptor fighter jet and was described as “a natural”.
The mayor said: “Having such good equipment for engineering students to develop control systems for is vital to their learning and gaining confidence before entering the workplace.
“I was really impressed how much the approach at Brighton has continued to progress.”
The flight simulator gives aeronautical engineering students an unrestricted view of landscape and a realistic flying experience.
The simulator is a “six degrees of motion” platform using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Andrew Lloyd, the dean of the college, said: “It was a real pleasure to host the visit of one of our most eminent local alumni and demonstrate how the university is not only focused on providing a transformational modern learning environment for today’s engineering students but continuously seeks to work in partnership with Greater Brighton to support economic growth through access to high quality graduates and university expertise and new state-of-the art facilities, such as the Advanced Engineering Building.”
Professor Lloyd added: “Our present electrical engineering students enjoyed meeting with the mayor who provided an insight into how the wider transferable skills gained through studying engineering at Brighton had been key to his successful career in politics.”
Deshinder Singh Gill, principal lecturer in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, said: “It is always gratifying to see our past graduates and to note how well they have done.
Dr Gill added: “Councillor West seemed to be at home here and the students said afterwards that they appreciated and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with him.”