I was talking in an earlier post about how we decided this year that next year we were going to face one of the challenges and fears we have, which is to take little Mr. on a plane again. We've not flown on a plane since he was 18 months old, and although we were going to go away last year we pulled out purely because he had an issue with small spaces - like those on a plane.
To get him ready for this, and we have until next August, we thought we would use something that was close to where we live. At first, we tried to see if the airport would have a facility where we could take him on a plane or simulation of seating for him to try, no luck.
In Bournemouth, though, they have the Bournemouth Aviation Museum.
So, to better explain what this is, let me copy a paragraph from their own web page which explains what they are trying to accomplish
Our museum is a truly hands-on experience. We have many interactive exhibits with most of our aircraft cockpits available for you to actually sit inside. From the famous English Electric Lightning to the mighty Westland Wessex Helicopter - all are available for you to view up close. - Bournemouth Aviation Museum
So, to expand on that a little. This is an outdoor site based over the road from Bournemouth Airport. What they have on there is part of, in some cases most of, decommissioned airplanes. Most of these planes are interactive, in that you can get in them and click the buttons, etc.
A lot of the airplanes are in one piece, so the kids love getting into the cockpits and seeing what these older planes were like - quite small spaces in most cases. The main reason we go there though, the thing that's going to help us get little Mr. used to space on a plane, is the passenger section (and cockpit) of an older Boeing 737-200 passenger plane.
This front part of the plane still contains a number of the seats. Although this isn't a full, actual plane, where other people are onboard and noise. What it is allowing us to do is still take little Mr. into it as a simulation and it seems to be working.
When we first took him there, he didn't like the space. He wouldn't sit down, he wouldn't even walk up the row between the seats without pulling away. Now, he's walking in, he sits on one of the chairs (near a window). He allows us to fasten the seat belt. He's making progress.
This does mean we need a window seat to keep him occupied of course. From where he was, to where he is, is a vast improvement. We still also have around 10 months to continue which is fantastic.
We're lucky that we have this facility near us where we can go. It also has other great exhibitions to get in and try out. The great thing is, he is now also going in these.
So, as I say, the main reason for us to go, is for practice. To practice taking little Mr. into this Boeing 737-200. However, there is loads more for both of our kids to see and try out.
The following list is the items currently on their webpage, though I believe there are 1 or 2 new exhibits to see also:
As you can see, loads to view. I think, at some point, kids love to tinker and love to explore. So there are loads to see at this Bournemouth airplane (aviation) museum. We've also met other parents with children on the autism spectrum there. Many because their child has a fascination of planes - though some won't go on one.
We also found that they are disability friendly. In that, we took details and confirmation of little Mr. 's diagnosis and we only had to pay for him to go in. That said, partly to support, but also because we will be going lots - we decided to pay for a year's membership. Means we can go lots - and it's very reasonable for a family of 4.
If you're interested in this site, then you will see a number of images I took dotted through this post. I wanted to try and give some visual examples of this place and what you can see.
Obviously, if you're in the same position as us of building up a story for your child to take them on a plane, and don't live in reachable or reasonable distance from this museum - then knowing of this won't help. However, I hope this post has given you some ideas on what you could look out for, to use, when building up a story to use.
You may find similar things, places, facilities near you. One other thing you can try, something we tried last time we were going to fly, was to go to the airport and visit everything the public side of the check-in. Often there are viewing areas - and a nice cafe.
We're trying to build up little Mr. to be ready. The end goal being he enjoys his flight as its the start of a holiday. The last time he did this he was 18 months - but a success means we can do this every year moving forward - something we used to do.
I hope this has given you some ideas if you're in the same situation. Also, if you live near to Bournemouth and wandered what airplanes were at this aviation museum, then I hope this has also given you a quick insight into whats there. If you down visiting Bournemouth and looking for things to do, then why not check out this Bournemouth Aviation Museum.