Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finnish Airforce Museum BF-109 simulator

There is an beautifully modeled BF-109 fighter cockpit and a simulator at the Finnish Airforce Museum in Tikkakoski. My wife treated me to a session so I got to take it for a spin!

The simulator has a BF-109 cockpit with working switches, gauges and the like. There's even a gunsight projected on glass, just like on the real thing. The craftsmanship on the cockpit was really impressive. There is a 270-ish degree wide field of view projected by three projectors and the simulator was running IL-2 Sturmovik, a WW2 flight simulator classic.

Overall view of the simulator. Three projectors are used to display a wide field of view to the virtual pilot.
The cockpit.
Trim and flaps control.
Landing gear and engine controls.
Centre stick.
A projection gunsight.
The rudder pedals and such.
I had an hour booked in the simulator during which I got to try out taking off, flying around and landing (got down in one piece!). I also flew two different combat flights and did ok. It's funny to experience your brain being fooled by the wide field of view into thinking you are in motion. Doing quick turns even made me a bit dizzy.

I have flown IL-2 on my computer using a joystick before and this experience was definitely more immersive. It was also my first time flying with rudder pedals which will take some getting used to. In addition, having the gauges in the cockpit instead of on a screen meant that I could actually read them during the flight, something I find really difficult to do normally. Still, flying this thing wasn't as difficult as I thought. I recommend trying it out if you get a chance!

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