Fly the world's only Spitfire Simulator that can be used for training new Spitfire pilots as well as giving fantastic flight experiences to non-pilots. The simulator has three key components that make it so unique and special. It's not the closest thing to flying a real Spitfire, it is flying a real Spitfire!
A REAL FUSELAGE
The fuselage has been built from roughly 50% wartime parts meaning the airframe has actually, in part, fought in defence of our freedom. The next 40% has been made from parts destined for modern restorations that didn't quite pass the stringent quality control standards required for newly restored aircraft. The final 10% of parts have been made specifically for the simulator to aid with converting analogue to digital information. The cockpit is indistinguishable from the real thing, even when viewed by a wartime veteran or when being used by a modern-day Spitfire pilot. The gauges are all original. Their inner workings have been removed and replaced with modern electronics so that computers can drive them. However, they all retain their original dials and needles. Custom software has been used to imitate “needle wobble”, just like the instruments in the real aircraft. All the controls and dials work exactly as they should. Many of the controls are original and wartime, including the spade grip with which you fly the aircraft. When you fly this simulator, you are flying a piece of history. Original wartime parts include but are not limited to: Spade grip parts, fuselage frames, rudder mechanism parts, the fuel tank cover, all instruments, the undercarriage selector, the primer pump, the seat belt mechanism, the canopy frame, door mechanism parts, switches, throttle quadrant parts, the gunsight, numerous other controls and more.
VISUAL AND SOUND SYSTEMS
The fuselage is mounted within a fibreglass dome with a 1.5m radius. It covers 220° horizontally meaning when you look forward and up, all you can see is the projected world. Seven projectors are mounted on a “tree” at the rear of the fuselage and their images are blended on the domed surface so that it is impossible to tell where one projection starts and another finishes. The centre of the dome is situated at the eyepoint of the pilot. The nose of the aircraft is projected and so are the wings. They are exactly correct to size and scale, once viewed from the seat in the cockpit. The flaps and ailerons all move as you would expect. Photo realistic countryside has been added to the simulation for Goodwood Aerodrome, Southampton Airport, Shoreham Airport and the surrounding area meaning every house on the ground is represented in the projection.
The Merlin engine’s distinct sound is provided through the headset that is worn by the pilot in the cockpit. The simulator instructor can also talk to you as an instructor or air traffic controller while you hear the engine’s soundtrack in the background. This greatly adds to the level of immersion you will feel when you're flying the simulator.
MOTION AND FORCE FEEDBACK SYSTEMS
The final components that will fool you into believing that you are actually flying a Spitfire are the motion and force feedback systems. The motion system works in the pitch axis so that bumps on the runway, engine vibrations and turbulence can all be felt through the airframe. As the Spitfire is an aircraft that can essentially be flown by feel (it really does talk to you), we thought it essential to add this element to provide realism. Additionally, the controls are attached to force feedback units that are designed to mimic the characteristics of the flight controls of the Spitfire. As you accelerate, the controls get harder to move. As you slow down, they are moved to almost full deflection to retain directional stability. This is another way in which the Spitfire communicates with the pilot. The combination of these two systems working together adds that final and essential element of realism necessary to make you believe completely that you are actually flying the Spitfire!
A 30-minute slot in the Simulator - £250
• Roughly 20 minutes airborne
• One guest to accompany you to watch
• Expect to be at the Academy for 1 hour
A 60-minute slot in the Simulator - £500
• Roughly 50 minutes airborne
• One guest to accompany you to watch
• Expect to be at the Academy for 1.5 hours