In 2015, with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust built a replica of a 100-year-old flight Simulator and fitted a VR Headset with a programme called Flying Aces to encourage young and old to experience the challenges of flying and fighting a WW1 aeroplane. 

The intention is to use the funds created to keep our reproduction WW1 aircraft airborne – BE2, Albatros DVA, Nieuport 17, Fokker DVII (joining shortly).

The inspiration for this project was Major Lanoe Hawker VC DSO RFC.  Hawker had a major impact in his short life on the operational effectiveness of the Royal Flying Corps in just over 2 years 1914-1916 as a leader, pilot, innovator, and inventor. One of his many inventions was the Rocking Nacelle created when he realised by mid-1915 that the attrition in pilots was getting extremely high through inadequate training. Once the pre-war cadre had been killed, their replacements with no experience of shooting guns could not hit moving targets from their aircraft.  Hence, Hawker designed a cockpit that moved in 3 axes and allowed them to fire at targets on a range.  He also wanted to ensure that the younger pilots he was leading, and training, were prepared for the challenges and pressures of live warfare in the air. It was for this purpose that he devised the ‘rocking fuselage’ or ‘rocking nacelle’ for target practice on the ground, simulating the tough conditions in the air.

You can enjoy this exquisite mix of vintage mechanics with the latest VR technology as the rocking nacelle is now mounted on a trailer and available for hire.

The WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust’s (WW1 AHT) vision is to provide a unique, dynamic, and enduring testament to the evolution of aviation, and the bravery and innovation of the crews, in the Great War. The Trust’s raison d’etre is to explain how the concepts of air power were founded in the air battles over France and to keep the infinite tales of courage and endurance of the Great War aviators in the public eye. The Trust is creating and maintaining a collection of flying late-model original WW1 aeroplanes to encourage young people into engineering and flying by supporting STEM initiatives. The Flight Simulator is now mobile and will support us in this aim while also contributing to the upkeep of the aeroplanes.

If you would like to know more, contact info@ww1aviationheritagetrust.co.uk.