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Radio competition winner flies Vulcan bomber in virtual reality at Wrexham Glyndwr University

11 April 2017

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Wrexham Glyndwr University gave a lucky competition winner the chance to experience flying a Vulcan bomber in virtual reality.

Viv Henson, a resident from Elton near Chester, is normally to be found at work with the events team at Parr Hall in Warrington but was able to go on an engineering adventure in Wrexham courtesy of Techniquest Glyndŵr.

Viv was the lucky winner of a prize in a radio quiz held on local station Dee106.3 by the science discovery centre which consisted of a session at a flight simulator installed at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Having correctly guessed the answers to an on air phone-in she was booked into her own personal session on the machine located in the University’s Engineering Department.

The prize was offered as part of the activities organised in association with an engineering-themed community fun day held last month which was funded by the Ingenious grants programme of the Royal Academy of Engineering. The day attracted around 200 visitors who were able to take part in a full programme of special themed fun activities.

Viv and her husband Paul were shown round the popular Science Discovery Centre and tried their hand with a few of the interactive science exhibits before being taken over to the Engineering Department of the University. The Department uses the flight simulator as a key part of the learning programme with engineering students exploring the different factors that affect flight performance of various aircraft.

Having been briefed by Senior Lecturer Nick Burdon, Viv was taken over to the mock-up of a cockpit fitted out with virtual reality screens and hydraulics to mimic the movements of an aircraft taking off, being in flight and landing.

Viv was able to start out with a trainer aircraft, the Provost Jet, before moving onto a simulated Lockheed Lightning in flight, eventually having the simulated experience of flying the huge Avro Vulcan bomber aircraft.

After her session Viv said: “It’s been a fantastic experience on the flight simulator and I certainly found out how difficult it is to fly an aeroplane. Whilst I was alright taking off and flying, the simulated landing was the difficult part and I don’t think I made very many safe landings! I think I need a bit more practice.

“It was a marvellous prize and we both had a great time at Techniquest Glyndŵr and the University today.”

Following her flight simulator session Viv and Paul were then shown around a real jet aircraft which was in the next door building and she was able to sit in the cockpit with all of the controls at hand.

Commenting on her visit Techniquest Glyndŵr’s Education Manager, Scot Owen said: We were pleased to offer Viv the opportunity of trying out a sophisticated piece of equipment owned by Wrexham Glyndŵr University as her prize in our Family Fun Day competition. We hope she enjoyed her engineering adventure.

We are very grateful to the Engineering Department of the University in making the experience possible and offering some valuable time on their equipment.”