The Spitfire Museum now has a working Spitfire simulator where people can experience what it was like to fly the wartime craft.
As a result of the generosity and support of the local community, the museum was able to raise £15,000 to install a 1/1 scale cockpit of TB752 Manston Spitfire, which will allow visitors to experience what it may have been like to fly the craft during the Second World War.
Hooked up to a large format display screen, visitors can take off in, and fly, the Spitfire using the correct Second World War control systems, including the rudder pedals, throttle, flap and trim, and attempt to land it safely too!
This is no mean feat, as the simulation is so accurate that it faithfully recreates the torque of the engine on take-off and the ever-tricky issue of the Spitfire’s dainty undercarriage on landing.
Pilots who push the G-forces too far will experience the resultant issues of red-out and grey out, constant hazards to the young men and women who flew these machines for real during the war.
In addition to furthering the museum’s mission to engage, educate and inspire visitors, the simulator will also provide opportunities for young and old alike to experience what flying is like in the hope that it may spur them on to give real-life flying a go.
Museum manager Matt Demedts said: “The simulator is also a landmark for our museum in that, for the first time, it allows us to actively secure funding which can be re-invested in improving our visitor’s experience rather than just keeping the doors open.”
The museum will now be undertaking the task of training several volunteers to be instructors for the simulator and “field test” it.
The simulator will be officially launched to the public on April 1, 2018 to coincide with the Centenary of the RAF which will also be celebrated at the museum with a whole day packed with attractions, including a static, full size, Mk IX Spitfire.
Bookings will be available as of April 1. The cost is £30 for 30 minutes and the experience includes the option of the ‘pilot’ wearing RAF flying kit.
Matt added:“The Spitfire Museum would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our local businesses, fundraisers and our community for their generous support of this project. Without your help, we would not have been able to realise this exciting new project”.
– Booking is required and will be available as of April 1
– Booking will made online or in rare cases via the phone.
– Gift vouchers will be available from the shop in April (the museum does not have an online shop at this time).
– The cost of the experience is £30 for 30 minutes per person (group rates and under 16’s prices are still being discussed).
– The minimum age range for the experience is 12. Parents can bring younger children (though the museum cannot guarantee a good experience for under 14s)
– There is no maximum age range as such. But please be aware that a reasonable level of fitness and mobility are required to get in and out of the cockpit.
– The simulator is an accurate 1/1 scale replica of a spitfire cockpit as such the max internal dimensions are: 800 mm widest (600mm at the shoulders) and 1000 mm highest.
– The simulator has a weight restriction of 120 kg.
The official launch of the simulator appeal was held on July 6 with 30 people representing local business, politics and community interest invited to hear about the plan.