New simulator in Fayetteville takes riders through war history

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Rocking back in forth in a theater seat, you'll bounce in the humvees, land in the Chinook, and feel the effects of an IED blast. You'll also join a Special Forces team passing Suddam Husseim's palace.

It's a theme-park-like journey through the frontlines of war that's unveiling this week at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville.

During a Media Sneak Peek Monday morning, journalists were introduced to the high-definition "Experience the Legend" simulator. It opens to the public on Saturday.

"We're going to take you from World War II to Korea to Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq in five minutes," said Paul Galloway, ASOM's executive director. "Hair on fire and enjoy yourself and learn because again, it's historically accurate."

Galloway wrote the script for the experience that takes riders through the five war periods with the likes of the 82nd All-Americans, the 101st Screaming Eagles, the 187th Rakkasans, a Ranger Regiment, and Special Forces.

A Raleigh-based couple is responsible for the actual design.

"It blows your hair back," said Charlie Breakiron of BREAKIRON Animation & Design, LLC. "It's a fun ride. It's entertaining and it's just larger than life. It really felt good to see this in its full glory."

Breakiron began work on the project six months ago after ASOM received long-awaited funding. While the idea was born in 2008, Galloway said it wasn't until last fall that a generous donation from the Tawani Foundation made the project possible.

BreakIron and Galloway note that the 17 foot panoramic, two story screen experience is not found at any other East Coast facility outside of theme parks.

One hundred test riders of all ages helped to assess the simulator. Breakiron said nothing can come close to experiencing the sacrifices made by service members, but people will get a history lesson and a sense of the frontline.

"Experience the Legend debuts on Saturday at 1 p.m., following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rides on that day will be free of charge.

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