May 14, 2019 (by Todd Cromar) - The Hill Aerospace Museum has completed the first of its kind conversion of a C-130 aircraft fuselage into an interactive classroom.
The cockpit of "The C-130 Experience" located inside the Hill Aerospace Museum May 14, 2019, at Hill AFB. The museum worked with base and community partners for several years to convert the C-130 aircraft fuselage into an interactive classroom. Visitors can now sit in the pilot’s seat, push buttons, flip switches and turn the dials. The complete experience will include all of the sights, sounds and smells of a real C-130 mission. [USAF photo by Todd Cromar]
The C-130 is the museum's fifth learning center classroom and was officially opened during a ceremony May 14.
"We are excited about this new addition and have been working on a very special presentation to accompany this very unique classroom environment," said museum director of education Mark Standing. "It's called 'The C-130 Experience' and while inside the aircraft classroom, guests will enjoy a visual mission presentation."
Visual presentations include a C-130 aircraft weather station flying into the eye of a hurricane, a mission landing in Antarctica on one-ton skis, and one involving the Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System, a system used for recovery of personnel on the ground.
The major focus of the learning center curriculum will include the history of the aircraft, beginning in the 1960s through present day, and the important part it's played in the Air Force and in the defense of the country. There will also be interactive experiments and activities for visitors and school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs.
The C-130 exhibit addresses one of the most common visitor requests, "Can we sit in the cockpit?" The answer is, yes, according to Aaron Clark, the museum's director.
Visitors will now have the opportunity to sit in the pilot's seat, push buttons, flip switches and turn the dials. The complete experience will include all of the sights, sounds and smells of a real C-130 mission.
Clark said he and the museum staff are excited about the C-130's completion, which has taken several years and many people working together to make the project a reality.
The Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah partnered with Bertoldi Architects and Kier Construction on the project. Other contributors include White Aircraft Salvage and Parts the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group, and the Utah Military Academy.