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App gains you entry into cockpits of military aircraft

Black-Bird-490x331.jpg

 (U.S. Air Force)

If you’ve ever wanted to get a close-up look in the cockpit of a World War II bomber or fighter, or the CIA’s M-21 Blackbird, then Lyle Jansma has an app for you.

AeroCapture Images Cockpit 360 provides an interactive tour of more than 40 historic aircraft – U.S., allied and enemy. And those are in addition to non-combat planes such as the Boeing 40C – a 1920s mail carrier – and the Apollo Command Module 007, which was used for astronaut training.

A sample tour is available on his website. By holding down the up/down/right/left arrows on the bottom of the image you can see even more than what the app names implies. Not only can you see 360 degrees all around you, but you can look down to the floor and scan the top of the cockpit as if you were tilting your head back.

There is also a zoom in/zoom out feature that lets you move in for a closer inspection of the switches and dials.

Jansma is a real estate and aviation photographer in the Northwest, where he is also a volunteer and resident-photographer for the Tillamook Air Museum/Erickson Collection in Oregon and the Heritage Flight Museum up in Bellingham, Washington. According to his website, Jansma got the idea for Cockpit360 while at the Heritage and a wheelchair-bound visitor asked to get a look inside the museum’s P-51 Mustang Val-Halla.

It just could not be done safely, but Jansma – who had the skill, equipment and experience in creating panoramic real estate images – figured he could put all that to use developing 360-degree cockpit panoramas, he says on his website.

There is only one drawback to the Cockpit360 app. For now, it’s only available on iPhones and iPads. But if you’ve got that going for you, you’re ready to make the virtual climb into the cockpit.