I am looking for help to move both these historic cockpits to their new home in Sweden. The impact of the crisis has been tremendous and forced me to completely readapt my life and relocate to Sweden.
I ran the Caravelle Simulator from 2016 to 2020, after 4 years and 5000 hours of restoration. I was then forced to close down the business and store the Caravelle cockpit in the famous F104 Starfighter museum in Bavaria (Germany).
The Caravelle once flew for Air France as F-BHRU and in that role was named ‘Poitou’. It entered service in 1960 and was eventually retired from service and scrapped in August 1980. The forward section ended up in a museum in Paris, from where I bought it in 2012. An enormous amount of time, money, patience, and sleepless nights followed, the effort required to resurrect the Caravelle into a 100% working simulator utilizing state of the art technology. Every indicator, light and switch work and in doing so mimic a flying Caravelle in every detail. Aviation enthusiasts, pilots and engineers from across the globe came to Munich to fly this unique simulator and experience first hand a first generation airliner.
The restoration process was a step back in time, for example finding John Lennon’s boarding pass behind the cockpit wall. Some research subsequently revealed a photo of the Beatles climbing on board this very same aircraft. My personal strong relationship to this Caravelle, apart from it’s obviously appealing and attractive design, is that my mother was a flight attendant for Air France on the Caravelle and actually flew on the aircraft that I restored.
Now the time has come to relocate this historic simulator and put it back in service for aviation enthusiasts to enjoy. At the same time the broader plan will be to bring the Lufthansa Boeing 707 cockpit to Sweden, to continue its own restoration and conversion to a flight simulator. This work is roughly half completed. The 707 cockpit consists of components from various airframes: N707QJ, D-ABUD, D-ABUF and soon D-ABOD. When finished it will be the worlds only complete Lufthansa Boeing 707-330B cockpit and like the Caravelle it will be a fully functional simulator.
Both simulator cockpits will eventually be displayed at Arlanda flygsamlingar in Stockholm or Bunge Airfield on the island of Gotland, when hangar space becomes available. In any case the cockpits will be accessible to the public. I’ve created this Gofundme site to help finance the transport costs, that major part of which will still be paid from my own pocket.
Why spend money on these projects? I think that the invention of jet transport altered the world in a much more profound way than we imagine. As ordinary as flying may seem today (notwithstanding the current situation) we are living now in what science fiction for so many generations before us. Traveling across the globe has become a matter of hours instead of weeks or months. Jet travel made dreams come true and while only a few relics from the early jet age survive, the number of preserved aircraft is dwindling. Some day there will be few or none left. The intent of this activity is to bring these cockpits to life and maintain them as a living, breathing piece of aviation history for people to enjoy long term, while seeing how challenging it was to fly these wonderful inventions that revolutionized air travel. Non computerized aircraft that required muscles and brain to fly across oceans and continents – an endeavor that has become history nowadays, with automation reaching new heights.
Click here to go to gofundme.com