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Fantasy of Flight

May 20, 2011 11:24 AM


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The Fantasy of Flight attraction between Orlando and Tampa, Fla., showcases 140 aircraft—including a North
American P-51 Mustang (pictured). Before visitors walk through the attraction’s B-17 Flying Fortress, they are
immersed in WWII history in a preshow that is displayed via an Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD.

The Fantasy of Flight attraction between Orlando and Tampa, Fla., showcases 140 aircraft—including a North American P-51 Mustang (pictured). Before visitors walk through the attraction’s B-17 Flying Fortress, they are immersed in WWII history in a preshow that is displayed via an Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD.

Fantasy of Flight is located on 2200 acres in an area known to the locals as "Orlampa," the emerging midway between Orlando and Tampa, Fla. Owned and developed by Kermit Weeks, the mission of Fantasy of Flight is to encourage people to "reach beyond themselves."

After relocating from Miami, the attraction opened in 1995. It showcases more than 140 aircraft, making it the largest private collection in the world. In addition to displaying vintage aircraft, such as an original 1918 DH 4B airmail plane and a rare Seversky P-35, the main facility features an immersive environment, which tells the story of flight, beginning with a simulated parachute jump onto a battlefield. As guests trace the steps of early aviation from the Wright Brothers through World War I, they are told the story of the influence of aviation throughout history. The experience culminates in a tour through an actual B-17 Flying Fortress and a reenactment of a World War II bombing mission.

During the original 1995 installation, Fantasy of Flight contracted Technomedia, formerly Soundelux, to design the multimedia experience. An Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop was selected to run the audio throughout the facility. "It ran flawlessly for 15 years," Jesse Douthit, VP of Operations says, "so when we looked to upgrade our immersion environment, we went back to Technomedia and Alcorn McBride."

The original Digital Binloop continues to play the looped audio effects in the immersion environment. Scott Dickie, Fantasy of Flight's operations manager, has experience working with Alcorn McBride products from his tenure with Princess Cruise Lines. "It's rock-solid," he says. "With the help of Technomedia, we were able to load new content and repurpose the 15-year-old Digital Binloop."

Alcorn McBride
Digital Binloop HD

Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD

A new Digital Binloop HD was added to replace laser disk players and plays eight separate channels of video throughout the attraction. Careful attention was paid to hide any hints of technology, which would detract from the experience. All projectors, speakers, and screens are very well camouflaged.

The preshow to the B-17 Flying Fortress combines actual footage from WWII training missions with new content to re-enact a preflight briefing. The footage appears to roll from a vintage reel but is timed seamlessly to run from a 21st century design. The media files are stored on CompactFlash in the Digital Binloop HD. Both Binloops and the projector reel are controlled by an Alcorn McBride V16Pro show controller.

The B-17 Flying Fortress is a walk-through attraction where guests climb aboard an authentic aircraft and experience the "excitement and tension of a WWII bombing mission." Audio, visual, and wind effects are controlled by the V16Pro controller. "This is our showcase attraction and quality is important to us," Douthit says, "we are reenacting an experience. If our audio or video goes down, it creates a large void in our attraction that we simply cannot have. Our experience with Alcorn McBride has demonstrated that it is the best solution for us."



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