Flight simulator Mirage III
The flight simulator Mirage III, also called SIMIR, was first put into operation in Payerne in 1967 together with the introduction of the Mirage in the Air Force. The infrastructure and flight control part was built by the French company LMT and the arm system and navigation part by the US company LINK.
The technology was permanently adapted to the changes and improvements made on the Mirage planes. Each pilot in training had to train first on this simulator before taking the air in order to get familiar with the cockpit, to learn the check-lists and the flight procedures, to learn instrument flight, to launch missiles and to train for emergency situations.
The SMIR provided exhaustless training possibilities with realistic scenarios, enabling a major financial saving of flying hours and less damage to the environment. High altitude supersonic interception, flight with extra rocket engine, terrain following navigation, defence manoeuvre in electronic warfare scenario – the simulation of flight characteristics and qualities was impressive and very realistic, despite the lack of movement and visualisation.
This simulator cost more than ten millions Swiss francs and completed around ten times the number of flying hours of each plane. In 2000 after the dismantling of the Mirage IIIS fleet and after 65'000 utilisation hours and more than 36'000 exercises the Air Force « pulled the plug » for good.
Alfred Chassot is the engineer who was in charge of the simulator maintenance and who cared for it during several decades. Retiring at around the same time as the simulator Alfred decided to install the whole infrastructure in the new military aviation Museum and to repair the installation. A tremendous work that needed kilometres of cable, thousands of electrical connections and hundreds of work hours – all volunteer!
In 2004, Alfred plugged the simulator again – and the fuses didn't blow!
Today demonstrations take place on special days or on prior request – an unique opportunity in Europe!