Three Arsenal players swapped their usual airline passenger seats and courageously stepped into the cockpit of an Emirates' A380 for the landing of their lives.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson tested their aerial skills of a different kind by attempting to land an Emirates A380 at Dubai International.
"Today, we've got a challenge for you guys - and that's to land an A380," said Emirates' chief A380 instructor, Warren Coles, as the players were greeted at an A380 simulator within Emirates Aviation College in Dubai.
After a short briefing on how to land the airline's flagship aircraft, Oxlade-Chamberlain was gunning to be first in the captain's seat.
Focusing on an array of controls, as well as the desert approach below, the 19-year-old took Captain Coles' comments on board and eventually cruised into a remarkably smooth landing.
"I've got it under control boys!" said a relieved Oxlade-Chamberlain after touchdown. "We're down in one piece."
Next to take the joystick of the multi-million dollar simulator was Kieran Gibbs, again, closely monitored by 30-year veteran Captain Coles. Gibbs defended his position well, although after a somewhat abrupt landing, declared: "I don't think I'll be a pilot anytime soon!"
But it was Jenkinson who brought real drama to the cockpit. The normally cool-headed defender took his eye off the ball and bounced the A380 down the runway, sending shudders through the flight deck.
"I was more excited going in there, but then when I was actually in the seat, I was quite nervous," said Jenkinson after emerging from the cockpit. "It was a lot more difficult than I anticipated."
Captain Coles later said that all three footballers deserved the man-of-the-match award for accepting such a daunting challenge.
"You all did really well - a little bit of confusion between the controls initially, but you got it at the end. You might have blown the tyres slightly but overall I was pretty impressed for a first go," concluded Captain Coles.
The full video of the players' attempts to land an Emirates' A380 can be viewed here.
During last week's visit to Dubai, the Arsenal stars also conducted a special training session with students at Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai, based at 7he Sevens.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.