Throughout this trip I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown for the HFS Spitfire project. My adventures on Tuesday took me to Ottawa to meet with Robert Tang who had kindly agreed to be my tourguide for our visits to Vintage Wings and the Canadian Air and Space Museum. Robert is a teacher at the Lisgar Collegiate Institute and we have been in regular contact around the HFS Spitfire project. He was joined by his colleague Angus who teaches history at the same school.
Robert whisked us through the city under the expert route guidance of Angus, who pointed out the various highlights of this beautiful city on the Ottawa river. Robert shared his fantastic vision for the project; to use the HFS Spitfire as the basis for multi disciplined learning not just at his school but at multiple schools in the region. Ultimately the students would be able to live history through flying online cooperative missions while building fundamental skills in aircraft design, construction and flight. He has been in contact with various institutions to garner support for the idea and assist with putting the necessary resources in place.
Soon we arrived at Vintage Wings, a private collection of aircraft owned by Mike Potter. All the aircraft have a link to Canadian flying heritage and are either airworthy or in the process of being prepared thus. We were shown around by the extremely knowledgeable Claude Brunette.
It was great to see Spitfire Y2K is also in the collection. She is a MkIX and the only flying Canadian built Spitfire in the world. Interestingly it also served with the South African Air Force from around 1946, mainly to train pilots who would soon be flying Mustangs in Korea.
We were very fortunate in that Mike Potter himself arrived to take his family up in his DH Beaver floatplane. Angus and Claude approached him and briefed him on what we were doing and would he be interested in having a quick look at the HFS Spitfire project. He kindly agreed and joined us in the boardroom where I had in the meantime set up the VR demo. Mike indicated he had only a few minutes available and looked impressed upon seeing photos of the HFS Spitfire prototype. It became really interesting though when he tried on the VR headset. I had started him off in the air with the DCS World Spitfire MkIX over the beaches of Normandy. He was fascinated! His time limit was all but forgotten as he tried various maneuvers, eventually even trying to land. A most pleasing result and speaks volumes about the immersion of the VR and integrity of the modeling. Mike had to rush off but intimated that he had access to various experienced Spitfire pilots who could assist in fine tuning flight characteristics of our Spitfire. Very generous, it would be fantastic to have their input on control forces etc. !
Next we scooted back over the Ottawa to the Canadian Air and Space Museum to meet with Kimberly Reynolds and other staff members. Kim looks after the educational projects of the museum. I gave a presentation on the HFS project and They were very supportive of the project and the educational initiative started by Robert.
When I was going to provide them with a VR demo I was greatly embarrassed to discover that I had left the Rift-S hand controller back at Vintage Wings. Without hesitation Robert and Angus scooted us back there and then on to the airport in time to shepherd me on to my flight back to Toronto.
What a day. What fantastic people. With the likes of Robert and Angus this project cannot help but be a success. Thank you, I feel privileged to know you.