An ex-airman, who also happens to be an engineer, spent two years creating a perfect Spitfire replica for a simulator in his shed. The Suffolk News (via OC3D) has reported on the achievements of one Kenneth Mockford who combined his many skills while coping with diagnosed Autism and Asperger Syndrome, to create his latest flight simulator project. Mr. Mockford comes from a long line of Royal Air Force veterans, including his great-uncle, Frederick Stanley Mockford, who is credited as inventing the internationally recognized distress call “Mayday”.
The 59-year-old ex-airman says that “I am a nutty engineer, basically. I have Asperger syndrome and I always say that it is my gift. It is my superpower.”
The former Head of Engineering at Baxter Healthcare UK and ex-mechanic obtained parts and blueprints for the Spitfire and then used a CNC to create anything else that was needed. The simulator also includes a vibrating machine gun capable of taking down up to 19 targets in a flight. This is only one of many projects Mr. Mockford has worked on with others including an F35, done by eye, and rewired front ends of a Lynx Helicopter and Boeing 737 in order to convert them into flight simulators. He has expanded these projects into a flight sim business where people can buy a one-hour flight for £60.
“People with autism and Aspergers often get ridiculed by the general population because they are not the same as everyone else. But the general person looks at the world through normal eyes and we look at the world in 3D.” -Kenneth Mockford
He commented that he didn’t think about how much it was costing to build this latest project and that even at “£500 here and £1,000 there,” it all still adds up. Mockford added that at first, his family thought he “lost it” but after witnessing his successes he now has their support.
“When I completed one they were like, ‘wow’. Then I completed another and they had the same reaction. Now the whole family are pretty much behind me and supports me.”