Lancasters - Lightnings and a Single Seat Eurofighter Typhoon Simulator

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Member for

2 years 7 months

Posts: 6

I own and built the Lancaster Cockpit at Avro Heritage Museum, my family has a long history of preservation dating back to the late 60s, during WW2 my late Father (Ted Willoughby) was an engine fitter on 467 Sqn and more specifically on Lancaster PO-S Sugar R5868 that completed a staggering 137 Ops.

He and I rediscovered Sugar in 69 and he set about restoring her, she was in aweful condition completely gutted and suffering from corrosion, my Father could not stand to see her in such poor condition and he did something about it! he successfully campaigned to have her placed at Hendon where we continued to restore her to her former glory so i grew up working alongside my Father on Sugar.

This is why i built the Lancaster forward fuselage section (painted as Sugar) on loan to Avro Heritage, people often ask why not have the nose art of another Lancaster after all the real aircraft is at Hendon, the answer to this is the fact that it was built in honor of my late Father and actively tells Sugars amazing story in an interactive way through guided tours, with my connection to the real aircraft it makes perfect sense.. 

The Lancaster is not the only item in my collection, I also have the most complete example of an English Electric Lightning Simulator Cockpit, I believe it may have been used to train 5 Sqn and 11 Sqn Pilots at Binbrook this has been restored and is currently in storage awaiting a new future.

I also have a great deal of items in storage such as turret projects including the worlds only surviving Lancaster FN64 ventral turret - Lancaster wing panels - instrumentation the list goes on and there is far too much to list here.. 

About a year ago I acquired another piece of RAF History and saved it from the brink with a thorough and comprehensive and detailed restoration it is now like a brand new machine perfect in every sense, this time it was something a little unusual! The MOD spent a considerable amount of cash in 2008 bespoke building a single seat trailer mounted Eurofighter Typhoon Simulator, the manufacturer was a company called Neat Vehicles, it was then handed over to the RAF for service as a recruitment tool, it was a never to be repeated one off!! so its quite unique, another unusual feature is the fact that it follows a set film where the Typhoon takes off flies a low level mission and then returns to land, the simulator mounted on a full motion platform automatically follows the film and pitches - rolls and yaws accordingly however the control yoke is connected so you can add your own input and the simulator allows you to work interactively with the ride to get a true hands on feel so you actually take part in flying the mission.

It is fully loaded in respect of gadgets (diesel engine generator - computer rack - invertors - UPS Unbreakable Power Source Battery back up - Amplifier for sound effects - touch screen controls - intercom - CCTV inside cockpit for monitoring occupant - electrical outputs - electrical input, so no need to run the diesel generator at all if you have a power supply to plug into - full hydraulic stabilizer pack including remote controls - Control Room - comprehensive floodlighting for night use - the cockpit itself is bathed in a soft atmospheric blue light and is fully loaded too it is full of switches controls - a computer screen - a throttle quadrant - rudder pedals and a control yoke the list goes on).

I decided to post this onto the forum as I am seeking background information on the history of this single seat Eurofighter simulator after it was built, its most unusual and what is interesting for me is the fact that by restoring it I am not only preserving it as a recent piece of RAF History but its interactive and therefore like my Lancaster serves a purpose by promoting our heritage new or old.

If there is anyone out there perhaps from the RAF AVCO Team that would have utilised it, that can tell me anything about the history of the Typhoon I would be grateful for the information.

I plan to take it to a few shows before considering a permanent venue and new home for it, as a single seater its not a commercially viable venture, this is particularly evident when you consider the transportation costs of running or hiring a truck to pull it, however as a permanent and working museum exhibit (which means no transportation costs) it makes perfect sense when coupled with the fact that it can be plugged into the mains and hence you do not have to then run the generator, this means low running costs and in this environment will make any museum a substantial amount of money, it only needs one person to operate it and you can process around 12 people an hour through it, this is great because it makes it sustainable and the best museum exhibits are the ones that bring in visitors and cash, because of its interactive nature in terms of actually having control inputs I imagine most museum visitors will happily pay for the experience and therefore it will be very popular.. I plan to embellish the queue route with information boards telling the history of the Eurofighter as an aircraft type and culminating with the history of this particular simulator hence the request for information on its history. (Picture Below) I look forward to any information.

Typhoon Simulator photo from Neat Vehicles Manufacturers Website.

Original post

Member for

20 years 10 months

Posts: 434

A lovely story of events and preservation this really needs to be in historic.

I went in S for Sugar around 1978 at Hendon it had a lasting effect going to every position in this beautiful war machine. At the time we had been working on the preparation of Maffets Hurricane P3175 for display in The Battle of Britain Museum.

I look forward to one day this summer seeing your S for Sugar cockpit. 

 

Member for

2 years 7 months

Posts: 6

Hi Colin, if you have not been to Avro Heritage at Woodford yet its a great museum full of very welcoming staff and volunteers many of which have an RAF or BAE background, my Lancaster is always available for tours thats what i designed her for, as is the Vulcan cockpit section, they also have a variety of other cockpits and aircraft like the VC10 - 748 - Anson - Nimrod and Canberra and a couple of early AV Roe aircraft, this is complimented by a complete Nuclear White Vulcan in the Vulcan Park and a wealth of history and displays it also has a nice shop and café. Enjoy!

BTW when you went aboard Sugar everything inside was "Not Original" when my Dad and I discovered Sugar at RAF Scampton she was completely bare and was stripped of every last bit of instrumentation and equipment, it was quite sad to see her in such poor condition particularly for my Dad who had served on her during the war and remembered her in her heyday lovingly looked after by him and his ground crew mates - this is why my Dad set about restoring her and campaigned to have her placed at Hendon, my Dad had to source all of the internal components from scratch and install them too, he even engineered certain items that he could not procure like for example the exhaust flame dampers and the mount for the Mk14a Bomb Sight. We spent all our spare time hunting down parts from places like the Exchange and Mart and all sorts of unlikely sources - even the fire dump at RAF Manston it was a long time ago but I think that was to recover compatible parts from a Shackleton. 

Regards Martin

Member for

20 years 10 months

Posts: 434

Thank you Martin great to hear what your father did in saving S .