An Essay On Flight Simulation
I got my first flight simulator sometime in 1981 – as of this writing it’s been 38 years. As well as the excitement of these new-fangled machines we could now play games –crude as they were.
The description of what that was like is not for this writing. I want to talk about the community of flight-simmers. For years I don’t remember there being any commercial add-ons. But there were plenty of devoted simmers making all sorts of stuff.
My first involvement was seeing a message from “Big Bill” wanting to know how he could acquire the co-ordinates of a specific airport. As I had run into a source of such information with my ramblings through the internet, I answered his question and, although we to this day have never met, we began a working relationship that lasted for a fair length of time. We referred to ourselves as GeoWright Group and we had plenty of downloads. In the mid to late 1990’s it was obvious that payware was pressing in on the freeware community.
With each iteration of MSFS there were more and more commercial products. They were sometimes good but, from my point of view, most was garbage. And as the volume of commercial products grew the building community either dropped away or were often lost in the hubbub. There have always been great add-ons by gifted and giving simmers but not often lauded for their efforts.
In the last few days I’ve become aware of X-plane. It seems to be a pretty good sim from all accounts. I have downloaded it and used the demo version and will no doubt be getting it for my birthday. But in watching the many Youtube videos either reviewing it, tutorials on it, or flights, I have become aware of a new resurgence in the freeware add-on community with this sim. I’m very excited about this upsurge of simmers helping simmers. There are real-world Captains giving instructions and/or examples of how we can and should utilize the simulation. And what I’m seeing is a flurry of professional grade products that vastly enhances the realism and enjoyment of this hobby.
I’m excited again!