AFormX always respected and studied aviation history. Our historic aviation simulators are a step further – they enabled us and our user to experience past times through the simulator environment.
The MiG-21bis simulator started organically as a internal learning project that was a lot of fun to build and fly. Then at some point it started attracting outside attention and became a commercial project.
We were excited to develop and assembly the Spitfire simulator after the good experience we had with the MiG simulator. We also understood that in 2020 only user experiences in which we are actively participating are interesting. This is exactly what the Spitfire and MiG simulators are all about.
Overall, both simulators are very successful and attract approximately 2200 people yearly in Park of Military History Pivka.
We will continue to design and build the simulators with exploring of deeper rules of VR integration, with aesthetic and mechanical integrity and above all, we will attempt that the final results will show our passion for creative exploration of new fields.
At the present time our greatest leverage is the extensive experience in VR based flight simulation for public, but especially for training use.
You can read about the building process of both MiG-21bis and Spitfire simulators below.
The MiG-21bis was first experiment of AFormX in the field of VR simulators.
The current commercial success of this simulator was totally unplanned and unexpected, as the project was designed as a purely internal learning project.
This choice of the MiG-21 as our entry project was based on two good reasons:
- A high fidelity VR model of the aircraft was available so we could concentrate our development on integration and hardware part. A benefit of an available model was that we could fly the simulator immediately.
- We have in-house knowledge of this particular aircraft. One of our senior advisers is one of the most experienced MiG-21 instructors worldwide. With this simulator, the development team could experience of learning a totally new skill (flying a non-fly-by wire, delta-winged, supersonic interceptor) through a VR simulator. This gave the team a new outlook and a deeper understanding for this form of learning. This was used to a great extent in all the following projects, especially in the follow-on X-ALPHA.
The AFormX and Academy 4 teams loved the initial testing experience. We loved it so much that what started as a fun, research and learning project, grew into an VR based mechanical sculpture several hundred kilograms heavy.
Linking original, unrestored MiG-21 parts from eBay with the latest VR technology provided a huge creative outlet. Through the following months we had created a large framed structure for placing the original MiG-21 cockpit parts including a complete KM-1 ejection seat.
Since the simulator evolved into a modern piece of art, it was leased by the The Herman Potočnik Noordung Center of Space Technologies. At this organisation the simulator entered into public use in spring 2017, which was again a new experience for both Noordung and AFormX teams. It significantly helped to revitalise the Noordung centre and the commercial results were encouraging.
The rent contract of the simulator ended in November 2017, but was extended to end of January due to the high popular demand and acclaim. With March 2018 the simulator became part of the Park of Military History, Pivka, Slovenia museum exhibition. The placement of the MiG-21bis simulator at Pivka is thematically logical and sustainable.
In the three years since the AFormX MiG is operating in Pivka it has been was flown by more than 5000 visitors. Usually during the weekend it is fully booked with 25 visitors per day and an all time was reached in August 2020 when 515 visitors flew the MiG-21.
During this project AFormX evolved the capacity to support a high-public use VR simulator. This was extremly useful for the following projects.
In 2021 the good results of the MiG-21 operation was upgraded by a partnership of Park of Military History Pivka and AFormX in the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX project.
During a ground attack sortie on Ljubljana airfield in 1944 a Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX, serial number MJ116 of 73. squadron Royal Air Force was hit by flak and crashed on the southern outskirts of Ljubljana city. The pilot Flt.Lt. Clark bailed out successfully and was captured. In 2018 the remains of this Spitfire were excavated. The remains included a superbly preserved Merlin engine and significant other parts of the aircraft. These parts are now displayed in the Park of Military History in Pivka, Slovenia.
In late 2020 the co-founder of AFormX – Janez Cestnik came across the Heritage Flight Simulation Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX plans built simulator. We were immediately impressed by the technology of the simulator. The key motivation to invest into the building of this simulator was that our partner Park of Military History Pivka, was ready to combine the remains of the Spitfire MJ116 with our simulator into a very innovative hybrid display.
Our core idea was that combining the remains of the original Spitfire and a very realistic simulator would make for a extremely innovative presentation. The presentation moves the visitors from seeing and thinking about the remains to actually experiencing the flight in the Spitfire serial number MJ116 over the photorealistic Slovene terrain. Therefore the simulator is tuned to digitally and physically as closely as possible match the simulator to the MJ116 aircraft.
The process of building the Spitfire started in late December 2020, moved into the phase of fabrication in January 2021 and the simulator was delivered in April 2021. What is even more impressive is that at the same time the AFormX simulator team developed also the Velis Electro X-ALPHA 200 upgrade.
The artistic touch for the very realistic weathering was provided by Mr. Aleš Bedič who joined the AFormX team for this and hopefully many more projects.
Despite the effects and restrictions of the pandemic the Spitfire is producing good revenue. For the weekends it is fully booked and averages 20 to 25 simulator sessions per day. If you want to visit Pivka and experience the Spitfire simulator yourself make sure you book your Spitfire slot in advance.
Below is a short video presentation of the Spitfire experience produced by Park of Military History Team in Pivka. We hope you’ll enjoy your experience as much as we enjoyed developing it!
In April 2021 only a few days after the formal handover of the Spitfire Mk IX simulator to the Park of Military History Pivka, the Minister of Defence, Republic of Slovenia Mr. Matej Tonin flew and thoroughly enjoyed the Spitfire simulator.