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Funding gives simulator new wings

Published: 06 Mar 2017

Visitors to the Trenchard Museum at RAF Halton can experience the thrill of flying with their two feet safely on the ground thanks to impressive new computer technology, part-funded by the RAF Charitable Trust.

A Chipmunk Flight Simulator, which was originally funded by the Trust and Rolls-Royce in 2013, has been redeveloped to provide aviation enthusiasts an even more realistic chance to spread their wings and develop their aviation knowledge.

Since its arrival, this bespoke simulator has become an extremely popular feature in the Trenchard Museum's James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre, logging more than 2,000 'flights' by visitors of all ages , including RAF Recruits, Air Cadets and local school children.

Curator Mr Francis Handford said: "The hardware technology we had was unable to cope with the numerous software advancements and updates that we needed to install which were essential to keep the simulator relevant. This led us toapply for an additional £1,250 grant from the Trust to fund top-of-the-range computer technology, giving users an enhanced 'flying' experience.

"Since the Trenchard Museum developed the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre our volunteers have been able to reach out to Air Cadets, schools and youth groups in a most effective way. The 'hands-on' activities have enthused visitors, supporting and encouraging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and aviation awareness. The use of the simulator has been the highlight for most of our visitors.

"An improved flight simulator experience will help to sustain the enthusiasm we have seen for both the RAF and aviation, and the Trust's generosity means that we can provide a more relevant and enriched experience."

Trenchard Museum has been working with the Royal Aeronautical Society to promote aerospace and aviation to youngsters under the STEM umbrella. A number of free Cool Aeronautics events have been held at RAF Halton, giving young people the opportunity to meet inspirational people from across the RAF and industry and to engage with aerospace themed activities, including the Chipmunk Flight Simulator.

Trust Director Justine Morton recently attended one of the Cool Aeronautics events, participating in the activities, including testing her flying skills on the simulator. She said: "I had a really enjoyable day - it was great to see so many children in one place getting excited about STEM activities. Encouraging an interest in the aviation industry is one of the Trust'skey objectives and STEM-basedlearning is an essential part of delivering this. Technology such as the simulator is a fantastic way of providing safe, practical experience without even leaving the ground!"

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