The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) has the responsibility within the Royal Air Force of maintaining in airworthy condition some of the United Kingdom’s most precious aircraft. P7350 is one such example, described by Squadron Leader Andy Millikin in the 2018 film Spitfire as “in my opinion the most precious flying machine on the planet bar … the Apollo 11 command capsule”. In the photo shown here you can see it alongside the BBMF’s latest cockpit, a Spitfire MkIX VR simulator being tested by Cpl Rich “Boycey” Boyce.
AuthentiKit is both proud and honoured to have supported the RAF over the past few months, working with Boycey and his team to create this simulator using AuthentiKit controls. On one of my visits to RAF Coningsby, home of the BBMF, I took along Steve Walton known to many as VR Flight Sim Guy and you can see him here in the Spitfire simulator.
A pilot training aide and public demonstrator
The aim of the simulator is twofold. Initially it was to offer the public a chance to experience flying a Spitfire at BBMF airshows however once it started to take shape in the BBMF hangar it soon attracted the attention of the pilots of the RAF display team. This led to a secondary role as a training aide both for Spitfire familiarisation for new Spitfire pilots and potentially for practicing airshow flyovers.
This was a very exciting development as it created an additional imperative to ensure that everything was in exactly the right place and felt just right. Fortunately that has always been an important aspect of AuthentiKit and so the main focus of effort was then adapting the controls to fit the cockpit shell the BBMF engineers were starting with. We also added a few touches like the instrument panel that, whilst not of immense value in VR, added hugely to the sense of climbing inside a real Spitfire.
BBMF Members’ Day Launch
The simulator was unveiled to the public at the BBMF Members’ Day where Spitfire experiences were offered free to attendees. Needless to say it was extremely popular and a queue quickly formed keeping Boycey and his team flat out through the day. We also set up an AuthentiKit display alongside and I very much appreciated the help of Ian Colman (who created the AuthentiKit Tuning App) as well as YouTube influencers, Mark Duff (SimHanger) and Steve Walton in setting things up and sharing the AuthentiKit story with visitors. Also thanks to Allan Hall (holding the camera!) who initially created SimKitSupplies, a business offering kits for self assembly of AuthentiKit controls.