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December 31, 2011

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Chocks away for city flight museum

VISITORS can enjoy a lifelike experience of piloting an aircraft on flight stimulators at the Shanghai Aviation Scientific Promotion Museum, which opened yesterday.

Air enthusiasts can experience taking off and landing in the cockpits, which contain simulations of runways at 15,382 airports around the world - including the risky super-short 245-meter runway of Germany's Helgoland Airport.

The simulations also include actual weather conditions at the time through a real-time Internet connection.

These are the nation's first such flight stimulators open to the public.

Previously, such facilities have been available only at aviation schools, said officials of the museum, a special education base promoting aviation knowledge.

Consisting of a 2,000 square-meter indoor section and 10,000 square-meter outdoor section, the museum displays dozens of aircraft, plus photographs, models and airplane parts to tell the story of the development of aviation in China.

The same type of airplane used by the late Chairman Mao Zedong is among exhibits at the museum, painted to resemble the actual one.

The short to medium-haul Ilyushin IL-14 airliner built by the former Soviet Union is accompanied by a photograph of Mao during his first flight on his special plane.

A helicopter like the one used by the late Premier Zhou Enlai is also on display.

Many visitors said the most exciting attractions are the two flight stimulators, which replicate the cockpits of Cessna and Airbus A320 aircraft.

"It is such great fun," said a woman surnamed Chen. "My hands are all sweaty. The entire cockpit moved and shook when I landed. I will come back again, for sure."

There are choices for 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes of cockpit experience. The 15-minute simulation of taking off and landing in three airports chosen by visitors is 99 yuan (US$15.70), while other prices have not been decided.

Visitors who want to really become pilots can even buy courses that offer academic knowledge and simulator training, as well as real flight training in the United States for a pilot's license from the US Federal Aviation Administration.

There are also courses for children to learn simple knowledge about airplanes and flight, operators said.

The museum on Humin Road in Minhang District is open from 9am to 4pm daily. Entrance is 8 yuan.


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