Students get the virtual chance to fly their own WW1 ‘kite’

Wing walkers stand atop a WW1-style biplane in a display at the National Museum of Flight airshow in East Lothian
Wing walkers stand atop a WW1-style biplane in a display at the National Museum of Flight airshow in East Lothian

Pupils are being offered the chance to virtually pilot a First World War aircraft, in a project which celebrates the centenary of the RAF - and also marks the end of the Great War.

“Wings to War: Glasgow and the birth of the Royal Air Force” – has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to give young people the opportunity to learn what it was like to be a WW1 pilot.

It will give secondary school students a chance to pilot a virtualBristol Fighter, using a state-of-the-art flight simulator built at the University of Glasgow by Professor George Barakos, Professor of Aerospace Sciences.

Meanwhile at Pollok Country Park, all schools can sign up to undergo simulated pilot training in a replica and more basic wooden WW1 flight simulator.

The Wings to War project will run alongside Digging In First World War learning facilities and trench constructions based in the Glasgow park.

The project team will be at the Glasgow Science Centre today and tomorrow, for anyone interested in getting a preview of the simulator.

They will also take part in the RAF100 Aircraft Tour also being held at Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) from Friday 31 August 2018 to Sunday 2 September.

University of Glasgow staff and students will have on display a radio controlled model of the Bristol Fighter 2 aircraft that they used to create the simulator programme.

They will also have a desktop based simulator of the Bristol Fighter to allow members of the public to fly the circuit, which will help the University look at the handling of the model.

Professor George Barakos said: “I love aviation and I wanted to generate enthusiasm about flying amongst our students so we decided to get involved in the Wings to War project.

The Wings to War project is a strategic partnership between the University of Glasgow and Northlight Heritage and aims to broaden pupil’s horizons across a range of subjects including history as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

For more information about the project visit