Taking MS Flight Sim To The Next Level - Bringing History To Life

Organization Name
Heritage Flight Museum
Mission Statement

Founded in 1996 by Apollo 8 astronaut Maj. General William Anders, the Heritage Flight Museum is a non-profit, 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation and flying of historic military aircraft. The Museum settled at Bellingham International in 2001, and has been developing their displays and their community programs since then. Visitors are welcome to get an up-close look at the collection of memorabilia and artifacts, and a selection of flying World War II, Korean and Vietnam era aircraft.

City & State
Question 1
The Before: What was the challenge, issue or problem your organization was facing? Or, what was the opportunity you were not able to take advantage of before you put a technology solution in place?

Answer: Visitors to aviation museums are limited to observing the aircraft from the ground as static or flying displays, or in limited cases have the ability to fly large, expensive full motion simulators. While satisfactory for some, this lacks the experience of being able to actually fly these rare aircraft. While Heritage Flight Museum takes the air museum experience to the next level by putting on flying displays of historic aircraft, we are unable to give the real experience of flight in a vintage aircraft.

Question 2
What Microsoft software have you used/are you using in your organization to more effectively engage your beneficiaries, donors and/or volunteers and/or to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Other (Please specify – Windows 7, Communicator, Visio, Project, InfoPath etc.)
Other: Microsoft Flight Sim 2004

Question 3
The After: How have these Microsoft products allowed you to engage your stakeholders more efficiently or effectively to make a difference in your community?

Answer: Using MS Flight Sim 2004 Heritage Flight Museum & Historic Flight Foundation visitors can fly virtual replicas of museum aircraft; from early trainers to fighters. An aftermarket contractor duplicated the paint schemes of the museum's aircraft, & recreated Bellingham airport & Paine Field as they were during WWII from the actual blueprints. The computers are networked together so visitors can fly alone, in pairs, or with many others. They can now engage in history via an immersive virtual learning environment that is both historically accurate and operationally accurate - the virtual aircraft handle almost identically to the real thing. This has taken the museum experience to the next level, & will be a unique educational tool.

Question 4
What about these products (the features or the way you used them) made them particularly helpful in enabling your organization to expand and improve upon its community impact?

Answer: The current simulator stations now allow visitors to fly many of the aircraft operated by both museums such as the P-51s, AD-4, T-6s, B-25, Tigercat, Bearcat, and Spitfire. With Bellingham Airfield and Paine Field reconstructed as they were during WWII, the aircraft can be flown in a historically accurate context. The sims are now tools to teach about history, aviation, community, science, and so on.

Question 5
Please provide any examples, stories or data that illustrate the difference the use of Microsoft software has enabled you to make (i.e., # of new clients reached, new program added, increased dollars raised, increased volunteers, etc.

Answer: Since installing the first sim station, visitors of all ages keep them busy! As the scenery, aircraft and hardware improve, so has the interest & feedback. Experiencing virtual flight in an aircraft that accurately represents one in the collection has made visiting the museum more meaningful than it might otherwise have been. Both HFM & HFF have invested in this project with cash, sponsor dollars, thousands of volunteer hours, & in-kind support from the Flight Sim after-market industry. A membership program will soon launch that provides, amongst other things, the software additions for home use. This membership program should help raise funds, market the museums, & foster an interest in history to generations around the world.

Supporting Work Web URL
Special directions needed to access your work

Page outlines the project, and is an information portal for museum visitors.

Upload org logo or other identifying graphic

Heritage Flight Museum logo