RAF Coltishall: a journey through the virtual and the real.
Dual screen film.
An institutional half-life persisted after the RAF Coltishall airfield closure in March 2006. Third World War, Middle East invasion, and Balkans crises continued to take place on a regular basis in a nondescript industrial building on the site.
Once cutting-edge technology, the last Jaguar flight simulator in the world was approaching its endgame. Pilots drove there from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire for training. Unhappy with the move, and conscious of the imminent disappearance of their aircraft from service, pilots still insisted on “flying” from Coltishall. Dressed in full nuclear/chemical suits, they sweated their way through engine failures, missile attack, refueling scenarios, and attack runs. Carefree about airfield safety, pilots would careen across the “grass,” squeeze through impossible gaps between buildings, and fly through as many suspension bridges as possible on their way to “War.” Outside, as the base neared closure, structures were uprooted, signs taken down, and more buildings were sealed. The virtual Coltishall of the simulator increasingly became more “functional” and homely than the real one.