Cardboard Spitfire Simulated Flight Experience

On visiting the ‘Grandma Flew Spitfires’ exhibition at the ‘Air Transport Auxiliary’ museum, Maidenhead, I was interested in engaging with the “most sophisticated Spit simulator available to the general public” , and being filled with numerous emotions (along with a fulfilling a boyish childhood fantasy of flying a Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane); ultimately, I wanted to experience the thrill to fly such an iconic aircraft. However, what was placed in front of me was a lackluster version of a computer game in which one gentleman commented whilst I was observing that, “I only wish it gave you the sensations”.

Taking this statement as a starting point, I went about constructing a structure in which a participant could experience certain emotions that myself (as the designer) decided upon; with the main concept behind the experience being not to re-create an aviation crash in its comprehensive form (as nothing would compare to the actual event), but instead to try and recreate the emotions one might feel in such a situation (by performing parts of a crash) in order to draw out new areas in which to investigate.

By combining video projections, pyrotechnics (in the form of flash bang grenades, smoke grenades and party poppers), a portable fan heater and the narrative of creating an experience for a user that would make them feel like they were not only flying in the skies above Britain’s South coast, but they were experiencing being shot down by an enemy plane and crashing into the ground, the ‘Cardboard Spitfire Simulated Flight Experience’ was born.

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