Manchester City Players earn their wings in Etihad's Pilot Challenge

06 June 2023, 01:30 PM
Manchester City Players earn their wings in Etihad's Pilot Challenge
  • John Stones (The Barnsley Beckenbauer), Nathan Ake (The Flying Dutchman) and Aymeric Laporte (Captain Aymerica) take to the skies as Boeing-787 simulator pilots
  • Each player takes control of a simulator cockpit to record the fastest landing at one of Etihad Airways new destination routes including Copenhagen, Lisbon and Kolkata
  • New video reveals how The Barnsley Beckenbauer topped the leader board to add his honorary wings to an ever-growing trophy cabinet
  • View the video on Etihad’s YouTube channel here:

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – After proving he can handle the pressure of a new role on the pitch, now high-flying Manchester City star John Stones has earned his wings as an Etihad Airways simulator pilot.

As part of a fun challenge with Manchester City’s long-standing partner Etihad Airways, The Barnsley Beckenbauer took to the skies to safely land in a Boeing-787 simulator against his City team-mates, Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte.

In a new video released today ahead of their exciting upcoming match in Istanbul, the players went head-to-head in a flight school challenge to find out which player could record the fastest controlled landing at the airports of one of Etihad Airways’ new destinations including Copenhagen, Lisbon and Kolkata.

Stepping into a replica cockpit, the three footballers were handed the controls of the simulator aircraft where they were faced with navigating changing weather conditions and wind speeds. They started from an altitude high above their chosen airport, with the aim to make the approach and perform a safe landing on the runway in the fastest time.

Whilst Ake (The Flying Dutchman) and Laporte (Captain Aymerica) recorded impressive scores landing into Copenhagen and Lisbon respectively, it was Stones who soared to the top of the leader board with the best landing time of 2 minutes 59 seconds.

Amina Taher, Vice President Brand, Marketing and Sponsorships from Etihad Airways, said: “Manchester City’s squad features some of the most naturally gifted players in world

football. Players who have been trained to excel under immense pressure, with the mental fortitude to do whatever it takes to be the best.

“At Etihad Airways we place great emphasis on training world class pilots. While learning how to land an aircraft safely takes significant training and experience, we wanted to see what happened when these same players were challenged to compete in a new type of arena; where judgement, coordination, spatial awareness and reactions were put to the test.

“Congratulations to all the players for landing the aircraft at our new destination airports, but especially John Stones who can now add honorary Etihad Airways’ wings to his achievements.”

The final flight school challenge scores recorded by the players (in order):

  1. John Stones, The Barnsley Beckenbauer – 2:59:05
  2. Aymeric Laporte, Captain Aymerica – 3:08:27
  3. Nathan Ake, The Flying Dutchman – 3:15:02

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the UAE and offers access to hundreds of international destinations through its own network and codeshare partners. For more information on its new destinations, visit