Virtual takeoff

• Museum manager Trevor Fettis and VR guide/volunteer Brian Jones ready for the open day.

THE Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek is having an open day tomorrow (Sunday December 6) which will give visitors a glimpse at an emerging transformation.

Museum manager Trevor Fettis says the museum has embraced the virtual reality revolution to entertain, educate and inspire a new generation of flight enthusiasts.

Already they’ve got a VR simulation of a Lancaster on a bombing run over Berlin during World War II up and running.

It’s linked to a recording of an actual bombing run by renowned BBC journalist Wynford Vaughan-Thomas and viewers can even step outside the plane to watch the searchlights and deadly flak coming up from below.

Mr Fettis said Vaughan-Thomas risked life and limb to get the unique sound recording; around a third of all the bombing crews, including many Australians, lost their lives. 

Called the “flying brick” by many, the Lancasters were easy prey for German fighters, while flak from increasingly sophisticated defence systems could come flying through the bottom of the plane without warning.

The museum team are working on another VR experience that will allow visitors to sit in an actual Macchi jet and try their hand at landing it, while several other displays are also in line for a hight-tech upgrade.

Mr Fettis said they’re also in the process of creating a “young aviators” section with hands-on displays, a full helicopter kids will be able to clamber through, as well as a small cinema screening films about other youngsters who’ve lived out their dreams and taken to the skies.

While much is still a work in progress, for the open day the museum has opened the cockpits of its famous Dakota C47, Vampire jet fighter and Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, known as the Huey.

The museum is offering two session across the day from 9.30-12.30 and 1-4pm, and families are encouraged to purchase tickets because Covid-19 means there can’t be a free-for-all. 

It’s also wise to book for the Lancaster VR experience, as it takes 15 minutes so they can’t fit too many in.

For tickets, go to https://aviationmuseumwa.org.au/family-day or call the museum on 9331 4470

by STEVE GRANT

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