OGDEN, Utah – A WWII-era flight simulator, refurbished by a group of Weber State University students, will soon be part of a new exhibit at Hill Aerospace Museum in Roy.
WSU's Computer & Electronics Engineering Technology (CEET) department, working in partnership with the museum, agreed to restore the 1942 B-25 J flight simulator as part of a senior project. The simulator, which once trained pilots to operate aircraft like the bombers used by the Doolittle Raiders, had been removed from display and fallen into disrepair. Museum officials were considering returning it to the Air Force.
Four CEET students spent two semesters retrofitting the simulator, replacing the old hardware, including an antiquated analog computer, and updating it so the flight controls would interface with modern equipment capable of running Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulation 3 program, which includes a B-25 simulation. They completed the project in May.
"The project provided real-world problems for us to figure out," said Jed Van Dyke, who graduated from WSU in May. "We had to coordinate our efforts, interact with museum personnel and tackle the logistics involved."
Van Dyke, Brandon Taylor and Kevin Studstill worked on the project from the beginning. Roy Purkiss joined the others in the second semester and helped see the senior project to completion.
Purkiss, who will graduate in December, said the project involved a lot of programming and hardware modifications to make the old simulator compatible with today's technology. He is spending part of his final semester at WSU coordinating arrangements for the simulator's return to the museum.
The students developed a manual for the reconditioned device and Purkiss has offered to help the museum maintain it.
The result of their efforts is a refurbished flight simulator that the museum will use as an interactive display in a new learning center. Children will be able to sit in the cockpit and experience first hand what it was like to fly a WWII-era aircraft.
Van Dyke, Taylor and Purkiss plan to attend the official unveiling of the new exhibit on Sept. 20. That event coincides with the museum's annual "Food for Life" day. For the "admission price" of one can of food (or non-perishable food item) per person, visitors may see inside or actually enter 19 vintage aircraft.
The museum opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m., its usual operating hours. The aircraft will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Hill Aerospace Museum is located at Exit 341 on Interstate 15 in Roy, Utah. No gate pass from the base is required to visit the museum. Admission to the museum itself is free, although donations are gratefully accepted. For more information call the museum at 801-777-6818 or visit the website at http://www.hill.af.mil/museum.
Roy Purkiss, CEET student
Jed Van Dyke, CEET graduate
801-777-6855 or 801-444-3384
Carol Nash, Hill Aerospace Museum Director
- John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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