Virtual Reality Experience
It was one of the most ambitious and dangerous reports made during World War II. In September 1943, BBC war correspondent Wynford Vaughan-Thomas boarded Lancaster ‘F for Freddie’ with his recording engineer and a microphone. Their destination: Berlin.
The BBC has created this masterfully animated Virtual Reality Experience using Vaughan-Thomas’ original recording, which vividly captures the danger of the bombing raid. This unique cinematic experience transports visitors inside the bomber as the crew endures endless flak and a night fighter attack in their journey to the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe.
Presented in immersive Virtual Reality, this powerful experience is the closest that one can get to truly experiencing the bravery demonstrated by Bomber Command, the median age of which was only 22 years old. As described by Vaughan-Thomas upon his return, it was “the most beautifully horrible sight I’ve ever seen.”
Enjoy the unique experience of “flying” a Lancaster bomber mission on our Microsoft Flight Simulator, while sitting in an actual Avro Anson Mk V Bomber cockpit section.
The Anson was a British designed aircraft that first flew in 1935 and went on to serve in a wide variety of roles during World War II. Over 11,000 were built and the Anson was still flying with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1968.
Although used primarily as a trainer, Ansons served operationally with the RAF in the early days of the war as a light bomber and coastal patrol aircraft.
During the evacuation of Dunkirk, Ansons were used aggressively to protect the beleaguered British troops. One Anson was attacked by ten Messerschmitt fighters but managed to shoot down two and damage a third before the action was broken off.
Because the Anson was severely limited in range, fire-power and bomb load it was soon limited to training, transport and other non-combat roles.
The Museum is restoring to runnable condition Anson Mk II #7481. This Anson served at 7 Service Flying Training School at Ft. Macleod and 2 Flying Instructor School at Pearce, Alberta. The Anson is located in the North Hangar, next to the Mosquito Bomber (which is also being restored). The North hangar is open to the public during some of the summer events at the Museum.
The Museum's New Cessna Crane Simulator
The Museum now has a second flight simulator in operation. It is built into a Cessna Crane cockpit section and sits next to the original flight simulator, in the main hangar.
The markings on the Crane are those of #8127, an aircraft that served with 3 Service Flying Training School at Calgary. Adjacent signage introduces visitors to the huge presence of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) in Calgary and to a mid-air collision between two BCATP aircraft over the city.
On August 28 1943, Crane 8127 was involved in a mid-air collision with a Harvard over Calgary, just southwest of downtown. After completing a bombing exercise, the Crane was preparing to land at 3 SFTS (located west of Crowchild Trail and north of Glenmore Trail). A 37 SFTS Harvard was on a southerly course over the city prior to turning to land at 37 SFTS (located at the present site of Calgary's airport). Likely enjoying some free flying, the pilot carried out a loop and was about to complete a second. Suddenly, the Harvard and Crane collided. A wing was torn off of the Crane which plunged to the ground onto 19th Avenue, just east of 8th Street.
One member of the Crane crew parachuted to safety. The pilot and a student pilot were killed. The pilot of the Harvard tried to land his crippled aircraft but was killed when it exploded in the crash landing.
Some history to think about as you try out the new simulator during your next visit to the museum.
Airplane Tours and Engine Runs
The Snowbird and Lancaster attraction tours are available.
On certain days, and nights, we have engine runs. The engines we run are 4 Packard Merlins on our Lancaster, a Bristol Hercules engine and a Kinner engine on our Fleet Fawn.