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Fantasy of Flight


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LobbyTour the lobby before you step into the real attraction. With a unifying Art Deco theme and sporting several maps, the lobby is an interesting throughway into the Gift Shop, Front Desk, or Compass Rose Diner. To you left as you enter the building is a ramp followed by the front desk where you purchase your ticket. Also in the Gift Shop are DVDs, clothing, toys, and models among many other souvenirs. Directly in front of you after you walk in is the help desk and Diner cashier. Which flows directly into the Compass Rose Diner with its identical theme.

Tour of the Aircraft Museum

Growing Immersion Exhibit featuring aircraft from World War II, World War I, and earlier. Begin the tour by walking through an immersion zone starting in a WWII aircraft. To help the experience, guests can hear loud engine operation and feel gusts of wind pass through the body of the aircraft they are standing in. To exit this first plane, visitors must "jump" from the back and appreciate the feeling of sky diving because of the powerful wind in the next chamber.

Here, guests are encouraged to lean into the airway surrounded by clouds and look all around. Leaning forward into the simulated sky is a surprisingly radical experience that everyone should try.

Sunderland After "reaching the ground", move into the "History of Flight" section placed upon a cobblestone path and featuring videos of wacky aircraft designs. A looping video introduces the many attempts and staggering failures known by many during the beginning years of man's attempt to cut the sky.

Plane 1 Following the comical and educational interlude, travelers re-enter the field of battle by walking alongside troops in trench warfare. Overhead, a functional aircraft is hanging from the ceiling and the sounds and smells of the room are inclusive. Soldiers are shouting conditions on either side and the strong atmosphere can be very convincing. From trench to trench, the immersion zone leads guests into the final part of the experience.

A hyper-realistic recreation of an American Air Base during WW2 awaits the group. The party is directed into a room for a re-enactment of a typical briefing which guests are drafted into. Immediately following the briefing, the group passes through an actual bomber with several clipboards placed to explain the purposes and common practices to take place at that spot of the aircraft.

Plane 2 After exiting the bomber, guests walk into the main hangar to see several rare aircraft. Throughout the hangar information kiosks in the form of push and play videos are available to guests. Also ready are audio tours which can be ordered for a light price at the front desk. From here, the attraction is completely freeform. Guests can walk to the second adjoining hangar or peruse the impressive aircraft on display right here. Some open cockpits are placed near matching aircraft to let guests experience the seat of the plane.

In the second hangar, Fantasy of Flight presents the only remaining flight ready Short Sunderland, or airboat, in the world. Also found in the second hangar, are a machine shop and a wood shop. Both are open to the public for demonstrations of how authentic airplane parts are manufactured. The highly capable machinists are happy to answer questions and show you exactly what they do to maintain the planes in the hangar.

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I had a great time today. I came in expecting to see a bunch of planes just sitting in a hangar, but there is actually much more. I could have spent all day because of how much detail there was in the walk through part of the tour. The lighting, smells, and sounds really bring you into the scene. Although a little awkward walking at times, the entire first part of the tour is a breeze and very fun. Before I got to looking at the planes in the hangar, I decided to take a shot at the simulator next to the exit. When I want to try something, the best thing for me is a simulator. The whole attraction has a ton of them too. There are about 9 corsair simulators, a full motion simulator, a hang-gliding simulator, and a hot-air balloon simulator. I ate while I was there too. The burger was great and I loved the fries. I definitely walked away from Fantasy of Flight satisfied.
-Boni F Tricaa, UK

Plane 3 In addition to the shops, an event room and children's section are available. The event room can be rented out for gatherings and celebrations and strongly resembles a southern pacific restaurant and hangout in style and atmosphere with the nose of an airplane jutting from the back wall. The Children's section is dedicated to explaining the dynamics of flying and the young fascination of the founder, Kermit Weeks, with flight. In the Children's Area, known as "Fun with Flight", are two parts: the teaching zone, and the simulation zone. The teaching portion has activities the children can partake in to get a grasp on the fundamentals of flight and small challenges to test their skill at it. Upon entering the simulation zone, families are given their mission in a briefing room modeled after the deck of a navy aircraft carrier. Following the briefing, new recruits are placed in a series of immersive flight simulators in order to carry out the mission.

The link between the first and second hangars is the home of the Tuskegee Exhibit. The Tuskegee Airmen were brought to the Attraction for the exhibit's opening and were reunited with some of the actual aircraft they flew in during their active duty. The exhibit houses authentic memorabilia and chronicles the story of the Tuskegee Airmen through interviews recorded and displayed on a set of push and play monitors in the room.

At the exit of the main hangar, and when entering the Lobby from the exhibit, a full motion simulator can be boarded for an additional cost.

Compass Rose Diner

Dining at Fantasy of Flight

The Compass Rose Diner to your right upon entering the Lobby is very relaxed and provides an excellent view of the space around the attraction. From your booth, you can watch the "Flight of the Day" or any other presentation going on outside the hangars. The diner is nothing to be disappointed by though as it has a wonderfully done art deco style that mimics the layout of similar diners in the 50's and 60's. The Diner offers a wide assortment of burgers, pizza, soups, salads, and sides. Everything is good, and everything is affordable. Eating at the attraction is the best way to stay around and enjoy good food without the need to travel away for twenty minutes to get a bite to eat.

Flight of the Day and Air Rides

Because all the planes are air ready, Fantasy of Flight pilots will take one aircraft out everyday at about 1:30pm and fly around the area for the delight of guests. It is not uncommon for the founder of Fantasy of Flight, Kermit Weeks, to take the seat of the cockpit himself and he loves to speak to guests right afterward. The air shows border on aerobatics demonstrations as hard turns, low-flying maneuvers, and tight passes are commonly done. But which show you get depends greatly on the pilot that is flying since only the flight is planned and not the route. Every air show is completely different from the last.

Visitors are also welcome to a ride in one of two of the facility's planes allowing public flight. For an additional cost, a family can ride in the plane with one of the very experienced pilots and experience the sky in a very personal way.

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Kermit Weeks and the Aircraft Collection

As the founder of Fantasy of Flight, the attraction is his gift to the world. He displays part of the world's largest collection of aircraft out of three hangars in the attraction. Two of which are directly open to the public and the third can be seen by taking the tram around Fantasy of Flight. Fantasy of Flight is not a museum, and should be taken as an immersive experience of man's desire to fly. Among pilots, film, and international personalities, Kermit Weeks is a well known aircraft enthusiast. His collection on display at Fantasy of Flight consists of over 40 rare or one-of-a-kind machines with most being flight capable aircraft. He also has one helicopter that will be on display at a later date. Some of his aircraft have been used in the making of popular films such as Indiana Jones and Flyboys. A famous director is scouting for an upcoming aircraft epic using a set of his airplanes. Living comfortably, Kermit now devotes much of his time to this attraction with the goal of inspiring the dream of flight in others. He is often found around the complex going from one area to another. He is even known to stop and have polite conversation with guests and loves to see former pilots come in. Very personable and down to earth, Kermit clearly enjoys his work and wants to share that feeling with visitors to the Fantasy of Flight.

May 1, 2013