Using graphic arts, aviation simulation and story telling to explain and engage participants in World War 1 Aviation? Well that sure resonates with the goals of this blog. Combine that with the extensive collection at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum and a desire to reach out to kids under ten years old and you have something really special.
Here is their museum website and if you look at the blow up on the right, the example WW1 aircraft inside the museum.
What is unique about the program is it teaches the principles of flight and some of the primary skills a pilot needed in World War 1 included aircraft identification and observation utilizing the aircraft and artifacts at the museum. The “basic training” is simple and intuitive, the graphics and dialogue crisp and clean. This is more of a teaching tool than a flight sim, They targeted young children, but I found it engaging enough that I worked thru all the levels. My only disappointment was that the lessons seemed to be building up to a solo flight that ended very abruptly. Not sure if this is a work in progress or the final product, but one more level that allowed more free flight at the end would be nice.
Before each lesson you get to visit the plane in the hanger and can rotate it around to give it a close look. Small blue circles generate pop-up detail photos of the actual plane in the musuem with detail facts ( to bad you can’t zoom in, the models are very nice)
Basic lessons on lift, drag, control surfaces using the planes in the collection including the Maurice Farman S.11 Shorthorn, Curtiss JN-4 “Canuck”. Simple swipe commands, to illustrate the concepts
Now it starts getting fun, fly over from high altitude in the Nieuport 12 and show your skills at identifying key targets like airfields and bridges
A lesson on aircraft identification both by insignia and wing shapes and a beautiful graphic with criss crossing planes at various altitudes and some clouds to see if you can identify the enemy aircraft. Planes in the hanger for these are the Junkers J.1 and the Bristol F.2B
As a reward you unlock more detail artifacts, click on the picture and get the story.
The final lesson involves some navigation and target shooting, controlling the aircraft by tilting and turning the ipad in the Sopwith Camel 2F.1 I enjoyed it, but over way too fast.
You have to give the CAS folks credit for using current technology to educate young kids about military history and aviation. Only thing I found missing was some historically accurate information about what the risks were for a typical pilot. Many men lost their lives during World War 1 and the life span of a typical pilot was very, very short. Without that information, this is just a video game and I’m pretty sure they were aiming higher than that with this effort.