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Optoma provides imagery for ‘most true-to-life’ Spitfire simulator

Optoma W505 projectors have been utilised for a newly created Spitfire flight simulator at Boultbee Flight Academy in Chicester.

The simulator needed high-resolution imagery projected onto a spherical dome screen to simulate what a pilot would see and experience when flying a Spitfire Mk IX.

The team, led by Boultbee Flight Academy, includes Airtech Simulation for overall simulator design, modifications of gauges, controls and instruments and preparation of the Spitfire fuselage and simulation software; Warpalizer Norway AS for the optical design of the projection systems including the Warpalizer warp and blend software; Fibresports for the spherical dome screen and Optoma for the projectors.

The simulator was installed in a 3.4 x 4 x 2.9m (WxDxH) room adjacent to the pilots’ briefing room. The 3.2 m radius spherical dome screen needed to be manufactured in bespoke segments to allow installation with minimum clearance in the height and width domains.

Seven Optoma W505 projectors with short throw 0.8:1 lenses were positioned and oriented so the images covered the spherical screen completely and, also very importantly, such that the Spitfire Mk IX fuselage, with its canopy closed, created no shadows on the screen.

Olav Sandnes, the CEO of Warpalizer Norway AS, commented: “Despite the non-ideal positioning of the projectors, the Optoma W505 offered an acceptable focus across the screen and the 0.8:1 lens ensured sufficient overlapping of the images which provided excellent blending. The unique design gives an angular resolution of three arc minutes per pixel across the screen.”

To ensure a totally seamless and geometrically correct visual system, the super-efficient Warpalizer software was integrated integrated with Prepar3D v4 simulation platform. Further enhancement of visual quality was achieved by running the 5,000-lumen Optoma W505 projectors in Eco mode, thereby also extending the lifetime of the lamps.

The simulator is said to be the most true-to-life Spitfire flight simulator ever built. In addition to being used for training pilots, also offers the public a sensation of how it would feel to fly this majestic fighter plane.

Thanks to its compact design, the simulator offers a horizontal field of view of 225° and a vertical field of view from -55° and to 110° (20° beyond north). The field of views offered by the projection system gives the pilot 100% coverage of the areas visible from his eye-point with the cockpit closed.