The Typhoon Force simulator at the Science Museum is the latest addition to the Museum’s flight gallery, which celebrates mankind’s greatest achievements in powered flight, from Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth, to the biplane that Alcock and Brown flew in the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic.
Alongside these are military pioneers such as the first allied jet aircraft, the Gloster/Whittle E.28/29; and the first vertical takeoff prototype, the Hawker P.1127 Experimental Aircraft.
The simulator brings the exhibition right up to date by giving visitors a taste of flying in RAF’s latest frontline fighter jet. A Typhoon display pilot takes visitors on a training mission through the breathtaking scenery of North Wales and the Lake District.
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Climbing to 40,000ft you see the curve of the earth, then the Typhoon makes a rapid descent to skim lakes in Cumbria and weave through Welsh mountains and valleys. It joins a second Typhoon for formation flying, with the simulator moving to match every thrilling aerobatic manoeuvre, before landing back at RAF Coningsby.
The motion of the simulator perfectly matches the state-of-the-art visuals to make you feel as though you’re really there. But Typhoon Force is designed as a ride for members of the public and isn’t quite the same experience a genuine Typhoon pilot would undergo if he or she were training on a simulator. In fact, operations manager Jonathan Gluck explains the designers had to add in a bumpier ride for a thrill factor as pilots say the Typhoon is incredibly smooth to fly.
While the Science Museum’s Typhoon Force exhibit might not help you fast-track your RAF pilot training, it’s an exciting insight into what it feels like to fly a Typhoon. Visit the museum’s third floor Fly Zone gallery and try it for yourself. Who knows, it might even prompt a change of career.