International Airport follows the Flame
The Olympic Flame has just travelled from Lyme Regis to Weymouth and following hard on its heels is 'On Board', the Jurassic Airlines Simulator that helped to launch the Earth Festival.
The simulator was in Lyme Regis at the beginning of May and is now transferring, after further development work, to Weymouth for the Olympic period.
Politicians wrangle for decades about airports for London. But Lyme Regis built its new International Airport in just four days.
So what awaits those in Weymouth during the sailing events? Visitors to the famous Lyme Regis Fossil Festival took 12 minute 'flights' on board the Jurassic Airlines simulator. The imaginative journey in space (along the 95 miles of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site) and time (back to Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous days) was described by one satisfied customer as "A wonderful multi-sensory educational experience" (yes, really) and by another, rather younger, passenger as "dead cool".
After checking in (“no plastics, no fossil hammers, no fossils, no nasty chemicals, please: musn’t disturb the pristine ancient environment”) and passing through security (“the Humili-scan shows you to be an eco-terrorist, I’m afraid”) passengers paused for only a short time in the departure lounge. While waiting they watched a Jurassic TV News programme announcing catastrophe at the Triassic / Jurassic boundary, with the luckless roving reporter being visibly lost to geology and a young-looking David Attenborough being lost to the studio.
Ushered into Jurassic Class of the twelve-seater Jumbo by a remarkably unfossilised-looking air stewardess, passengers received safety briefings (what would the Captain do if a bird strike of pterosaurs struck the engines?) and buckled up. With a realistic roar of engines, through the side-windows the airport rushed by and in no time the red rocks of Sidmouth were passing to port, while samples of Sidmouth stones came round on the food trolley. Not much change there, then. Past the chalk of Beer, the Blue Lias of Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove and on - then, hypervaulting back in time with some ominous bumps and creaks from the airframe, the journey passed ancient deserts, primordial seas (crash there and it would be many millions of years before the seas retreated enough to escape) and landed (for a transit stop?) in dinosaur territory.
The Captain, bravely venturing out to explore, made it back to the cabin in the nick of time as a not friendly dinosaur approached - but with its special dinosaur-shielding the plane survived. Thank goodness for that reassuring stewardess. Passengers by now were relieved to be returning to the safety of Lyme Regis International Airport and the present day.
With no delays at immigration, and flights taking off at regular twenty-minute intervals, nobody had to be put up overnight in Lyme Regis hotels at Airline expense.
‘Onboard’ has been developed by Richard Hartnell of Hartnell Creative. A Lyme Regis man who believes in ‘bringing messages to life’, he and his team have created a magnificent blend of the entertaining and the educational, a unique way of introducing young and old to an important part of the fascinating story of the Earth.
Have you got your landing strip ready, Weymouth?
Published on 15/07/2012.