British news viewers watching the corporation’s reports on the recent emergency landing of an A320 airliner on the Hudson River were witnessing a groundbreaking fusion of news and computer gaming, with both BBC and ITN news teams using British flight simulator company, Just Flight to augment their reports.
The game’s developers sprang into action to recreate the spectacular landing manoeuvre for both BBC’s 6 O’clock and News at Ten bulletins last Friday – and then ITN’s 11pm news programme.
They assisted with reports on the crash by providing a simulation reconstruction after a call came in from the BBC early Friday morning. BBC reporters then visited Just Flight’s offices to write their stories and the footage was constructed in time for lunch.
Using their software, Just Flight was able to simulate the incident in astonishing detail, including the full-engine failure and resulting fires at 3,000 feet, the dramatic turn at the George Washington Bridge at 1,000 feet when both engines had cut out and the final ditching opposite the 48th Street Pier on the Hudson River. This event recreation highlighted for viewers the heroic skills of Captain Sullenberger.
BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones said later: “Just Flight was very helpful and knowledgeable, not just about the software but about aircraft in general”.
Andy Payne, Director of Just Flight, added: “It was fantastic to be able to assist both the BBC and ITN in bringing this story to their audience with such clarity. ITN News had clearly tuned in, as they also contacted us to ask if we could do something very similar for their 11pm News programme. We were happy to help, of course, although it’s safe to say that several of the team weren’t expecting their weekend to start with a drive back to the office in the early evening!”
Michael Rawlinson, Managing Director of ELSPA, added: “In light of the drama that unfolded last week in New York, it was great to see that gaming technologies could be utilised to reconstruct such astonishing scenes for the viewers of the BBC and ITN, which has also gone on to be the most watched video on the BBC website. It illustrates perfectly how technologies derived directly from those used for gaming can be incredibly useful in other aspects of our lives.”
If you would like to see the simulation in all its glory, as used within the BBC report, follow this link: