Climb Inside a Warbird – Free Web-Based App Offers Virtual Access to Historic Aircraft

The cockpit of this World War Two-era North American B-25 Mitchell is just one of more than 30 warplanes that are up for a virtual 360-deg. tour. (Image source: NMUSAF)

The cockpit of this World War Two-era North American B-25 Mitchell is just one of more than 40 warplanes included in a virtual 360-degree website recently launched by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (Image source: NMUSAF)

“With a few mouse clicks, users can check out the flight decks, gun turrets and bomb bays of some of history’s most famous aircraft.” 

TOUR GUIDES AT the National Museum of the United States Air Force say that one of the most frequent questions they’re asked is if visitors can climb into the cockpits of the historic warbirds on exhibit.

While access to the inside of the planes is strictly off limits, digital technology has allowed the next best thing.

This past spring, curators at the Dayton, Ohio-based museum posted the Cockpit360 Experience, a free web-based gallery that features fully interactive panoramic interiors of more than 40 of the collection’s warplanes. With a few mouse clicks, users can check out the flight decks, gun turrets and bomb bays of some of history’s most famous aircraft.

The port waist gun position on a Consolidated B-25 Liberator. (Image source: NMUSAF)

The port-side waist gun position on a Consolidated B-25 Liberator as seen on the NMUSAF’s Cockpit360 Experience. (Image source: NMUSAF)

Planes include World War Two classics like the B-24 Liberator, P-40 Warhawk and the P-47 Thunderbolt, as well as Cold War workhorses such as the F-4 Phantom, B-58 Hustler and the legendary SR-71 Blackbird spy plane. Even British machines like the Hawker Hurricane and De Havilland Mosquito are rendered on the site. Users can also get behind the controls of the top secret F-117 Nighthawk, the F-111 Aardvark and a Korean War F-86 Sabre, as well as the First World War vintage Spad XIII C.1. And that’s just a fraction of the aircraft that are viewable.

The NMUSAF Cockpit360 Experience (AVAILABLE HERE) is part of the museum’s wider ‘Virtual Tour’, which enables online guests to explore the grounds of the facility, located on Wright Patterson Air Force Base, as well as its enormous exhibit halls (AVAILABLE HERE).

All of the flight deck imagery is powered by Bellingham, Washington’s AeroCapture Images. The group’s free-to-download Cockpit 360 app runs on both iOS and Android devices. In addition to planes from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the app includes fly-throughs of more than 50 vintage aircraft from a variety of other U.S. collections. SEE THE FULL LIST HERE

Watch below for a video about how all of the images were captured.

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