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Flying high with virtual reality

Flight Sgt. Madelin Smith tries out the flight simulator for the first time in March.
Flight Sgt. Madelin Smith tries out the flight simulator for the first time in March.

A unique opportunity for the members of a local cadet squadron presented itself last year, and the group was excited to take part.

The 774 St. Anthony Air Cadets Squadron purchased a virtual reality flight simulator, to give them the experience of flying different types of aircraft.

At a cost of over $5,000, the Dream Flyer has been a fun and exciting edition to the group, said officer Godfrey Mitchelmore. All members of the squadron helped fundraise to make this a reality.

With all sorts of plane options to choose from, members of the cadet group have had the opportunity to learn to take off, land, make turns and other aviation-related actions without having to leave the local Lions Club, who gives them the space.

The simulator is set up in the cadet room, which is located in the downstairs of the club. They received the program and had it set up and ready to use earlier this year.

Flight Sgt. and squadron commander Madelin Smith tried it out for the first time last month.

“It’s very realistic,” she said. “We are very privileged, since most squadrons don’t have it.”

It is very similar to a simulator that the cadets have had the opportunity to use at camp Greenwood in the summer. Mitchelmore had seen it there a couple years ago, and it was something he thought would be a great addition to the squadron.

“I went online and lo and behold, I found this Dream Flyer,” Mitchelmore said.

The purchase brought a certain amount excitement the group, he continued. They went out and fundraised, it was their blood, sweat and tears that went into it and they are reaping the rewards of it.

“There’s a pride of achievement they have for themselves,” he added.

Last summer, the squadron took a trip to Beaumont Hamel for the 100th anniversary event. The community was a huge support for that. And it was no different this time. Hosting a recycling blitz, selling tickets and other fundraisers have been how the group couple buy the equipment.

The group purchased computers and monitors for the set up, and all the rest came from Flight in Motion, who sell the simulators. With the help of Bradley Johannsson, the group had the equipment up and running in no time.

Mitchelmore hopes the simulator will be a recruiting tool, and those that use it can encouraging others to join as well.

The squadron currently has just under 30 members, but is open to more. The age range goes from 12 to 18, and the members have the opportunity to go gliding throughout the year and take part in many group activities.


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