Ever thought of going on a sortie in an F-16 just for kicks? It's possible - without being in the cockpit of the fighter jet - thanks to a 'hidden feature' in the newly launched Google Sky.
Here's how it's done: Hit Ctrl+Alt+A while browsing Google Earth. The keyboard commands enable you to choose a runway, which by default is Kathmandu, but one gets options. Then you get to pick your airship. At present, the choice is limited to just two fighter jets - F16 'Viper' and SR22. Try with both jets as the simulation of flying a jet varies with the kind of aircraft.
Hit the down arrow along with the Page Up key to take off. Speed, direction and height can be taken care of by other simple keyboard commands, which you learn during the process. Besides controlling the speed and direction of the aircraft, you can land the plane at a desired place, fly it upside down and even crash-land it.
To re-enter flight simulator mode, users can choose Tools > Enter Flight Simulator. While the programme has airports covered fairly well, it does not show the aircraft.
Although getting the hang of controls is a bit tricky after the plane stabilises, getting a multi-dimensional view of the Himalayas makes it an effort worth making.
You don't even have to think twice about flying over sensitive sites like Mazagon Docks, as the search engine has blurred some sites and scrapped more sensitive ones like Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
Google Sky was initially launched with an aim to let the users explore the universe, bringing before their eyes the detailed imagery of a hundred million stars and about 200 million galaxies.