Dam Buster pilot shares his passion

Neil Bignell mans the controls of a Lancaster bomber, with John Hoyte and Eric Quinney, at Sim-Fly a

Neil Bignell mans the controls of a Lancaster bomber, with John Hoyte and Eric Quinney, at Sim-Fly at the Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: STUART ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

You can take the controls of pretty much any kind of aircraft you can think of at Sim Fly.

From left, Harvey Pettingell, John Hoyte, Eric Quinney and Neil Bignell at Sim-Fly at the Old Bucken

From left, Harvey Pettingell, John Hoyte, Eric Quinney and Neil Bignell at Sim-Fly at the Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: STUART ANDERSON - Credit: Archant

The flight simulation centre at Old Buckenham Airfield can put you in the cockpit of a Cessna, passenger jet, or even a big old Lancaster bomber.

And it was naturally the Lanc' that 92-year-old Eric Quinney wanted to see take to the virtual skies when he visited the site on Saturday - he did, after all, fly the real thing in the 1955 film The Dam Busters.

Mr Quinney said: 'In the war I was flying the Lincoln bomber which is the one that succeed the Lancaster.

'When they decided to make the film everybody wanted to have a hand at the Lanc'. I enjoy the simulator. I even surprised myself once.'

Eric Quinney at Sim-Fly at the Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Eric Quinney at Sim-Fly at the Old Buckenham Airfield. Picture: STUART ANDERSON - Credit: Archant


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Mr Quinney discovered the centre earlier this year and had the chance to relive flying the classic bomber.

He has since lost some of his sight and can no longer fly simulations, so on his latest visit Mr Quinney was happy to sit back and watch while a friend, Neil Bignell, took the controls.

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The centre was founded early last year by John Hoyte, himself a veteran aviator,

He said: 'One day I was driving down here in heavy fog and I decided to look around to see if there was much around for flight simulators.

'We make people's dreams come true - they come in the door and an hour later they go out again and they realise they can fly.'

Mr Hoyte said the simulator's database had more than 30,000 airfields, and they could re-create virtually anything budding pilots could think of.

He said: 'We had a chap who used to fly in World War II in a Tiger Moth in South Africa. So we were able to take him back to the same airfield and recreate that.'

Mr Hoyte said he hoped to franchise the business.'

For more information visit sim-fly.com

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