Heritage Flight Museum Creates Stunning 360º Cockpit Video

A screen capture from the trial video... The camera system captures the entire 360º panorama, so the viewer has the ability to look in any direction they wish to by simply using the apps controls... (photo by Lyle Jansma)
The Heritage Flight Museum's P-51D Mustang in tight formation with a USAF F-22 Raptor. This flight proved the concept of immersive 360 video for virtual flights in warbirds. (photo by Lyle Jansma)
The Heritage Flight Museum’s P-51D Mustang in tight formation with a USAF F-22 Raptor. This flight proved the concept of immersive 360 video for virtual flights in warbirds. (photo by Lyle Jansma)

As many of our readers will know, the exceptional photographer Lyle Jansma has established a strong reputation for adapting innovative ideas and technology into the field of aviation imagery. His use of seamless, 360º panoramic imaging allows anyone with an internet connection or his free cellphone app, ACI Cockpit360º, to virtually explore every nook and cranny inside the cockpit of numerous vintage aircraft types. He worked with several flying museums, as well as the National Museum of the US Air Force to provide wonderful, high resolution tours of some of the world’s most famous warbirds. Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine did a wonderful article on this project, and has some of the aircraft you can tour right on their website. These include such fascinating types as the SR-71 Blackbird, P-38 Lightning, B-36 Peacemaker and even an Apollo space capsule.

However, Jansma is never one to rest on his laurels, and now he has taken the technology to its logical next step… panoramic video. He recently organized a proving flight with the technology mounted in the cockpit of a P-51 Mustang…. while flying in close formation with a USAF F-22 Raptor! While you will need a browser which allows panoramic playback, you can actually fly along with the Mustang, and visually control what you see from the cockpit… steering your window on the world in whichever direction you want while flying with some of the coolest aircraft on the planet!

A screen capture from the trial video... The camera system captures the entire 360º panorama, so the viewer has the ability to look in any direction they wish to by simply using the apps controls... (photo by Lyle Jansma)
A screen capture from the trial video… The camera system captures the entire 360º panorama, so the viewer has the ability to look in any direction they wish to by simply using the apps controls… (photo by Lyle Jansma)

Asked about how he got involved in this amazing idea Jansma said, “I have been watching the technology for sometime because on my Cockpit360º App and the work I do of the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Three weeks ago, while at the Oregon International Air Show, Greg Anders and I visited the Intel Products Tent and watched a 360 video demo featuring Renny Price’s Sukhoi 29. The demo utilized the Oculus Rift headset and was pretty dang impressive. Greg and I looked at each other and knew the time had come to start filming the Heritage Flight Museum’s collection. The P-51 / F-22 Heritage Flight Demo shoot was meant to be our trial run and the results were far beyond our expectations!”

Check it out yourself with the video below… make sure your browser is enabled for panoramic viewing, and be sure to put the resolution as high as your system can handle.

As you can see from the image below, the capture rig is really tiny… those GoPro cameras are just a couple of inches across. When asked about the technology, Jansma said, “The 360 rig is commercially available through the makers of the video stitching software … Kolor (Kolor.com). Total investment is about $6000.00 for the cameras, 360 rig and software plus you need a pretty robust computer to run and render the software….360 video technology is the next wave of virtual immersive aviation experiences.”

The 360º capture rig features a collection of GoPro cameras arranged in a cube. The software which processes the images is what does the magic though! (photo via Lyle Jansma)
The 360º capture rig features a collection of GoPro cameras arranged in a cube. The software which processes the images is what does the magic though! (photo via Lyle Jansma)

“The Heritage Flight Museum is working with AeroCapture Image [Lyle’s company] to develop a VR immersive experience for it’s visitors to give it’s guests virtual “rides” in their collection’s aircraft. We’ll be doing our T-6’s this weekend and possibly our Skyraider next month.”

Jansma will also be bringing the rig to Madras later this month for the Madras Air2Air Experience aviation photography workshop he is running. WarbirdsNews will be sure to check it out for our readers! For those interested in getting the app for their cellphones, please do check out the links below for both Apple and Android phones….

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aerocapture.cockpit360

iOS : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cockpit360/id688929745?mt=8

website: www.acicockpit360.com

Lyle Jansma wishes to express his immense appreciation for the project to Greg Anders and the Heritage Flight Museum for the chance to create these videos.

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