As a user of Micro$oft's Flight Simulator for a few years now I would like to say how much enjoyment I have had from, not only the commercial product itself but from the wealth of developers files on the web. These talented and clever people do so much for the vast majority of Flight Sim fans like myself. It is here that I would like to thank them all.
The search and installation of many and varied files relating to FS, has not only been a challenge, but has been the impetus to learn, not just simple computer skills, but to discover the hidden treasures of the Internet itself. I cannot deny that this pastime is in some ways anti-social, however it is, and should remain an everchanging resource for the growing number of computer owners and users. If only BT and the Cable Companies would understand the long term implications of charging tarriffs based on the current voice telephony! - Having had broadband for a year this is definately the way forward.
Flight Simulator v5.1, was my first purchase, I bought it to run on a 486/25 laptop, so that I could play anywhere, this co-incided with the installation of DoomII, which I enjoyed until I was directed toward some "Cheats". These ended the games enjoyment quite considerably from then on. Thankfully there are no cheats for FS.
I, as countless others, began my Flying career over Meigs Field, Illinois. I spent many hours learning the keyboard controls for every action. At home I could use the mouse, but whilst away I had to manage the trackerball, both resulted in much frustrationI can tell you! There was only one thing to do - A Yoke. This revolutionised the simulation, and Rudder Pedals shortly followed. Sadly the Laptop doesn't get much of a look in these days!
Around this time I started to access the Net, and having done a search for Flightsim, I latched onto the Fid and Son site. this single beginning led to many sites which offered a staggering array of FS related files. About this time I met a guy on the South coast of the UK (steve7fm), he quickly became my guru, and we spent our time discovering loads of sites.
I took out a subscription to Full Throttle the FS mag produced by M$. I have subscribed for a second year, but I would warn anyone who is considering it. It really is little more than paying Micro$oft for a sales leaflet. Some months I am staggered by the full page ads (mostly M$) and reviews of other games. I see a page and a half article in Nov 97's issue which relates to the FS 5.0 to FS 5.0a upgrade. OK it's in reference to a letter - but a page and a half in a 20 page fanzine??? Micro$oft - come on now! you're losing me! and many others no doubt.
Update - Summer 98 - The Full Throttle Magazine has been taken over by some real Flight Sim enthusiasts, It, over 3 publications has been transformed into a knowledgeable, informative and expansive Flight Sim resource - I recommend it highly. <www.ftmagazine.com>
Flight Simulator 6 was an eagerly awaited aquisition, and after using it for a few months I had overcome my initial doubts, and began to forget the nicer things from FS5. My Hangar now included over 30 planes, 10 panels and huge areas of Europe and the UK. I was basing myself equally between Biggin Hill and Cardiff. The excellent Flight Planner from Math Maessen is a must for any Simmer, I have followed each version through to v4.0b. The navigational side of flying was beginning to fascinate me and the ability to select a route based on lines on a map was essential, couple this with Wilco van Deijl's excellent Gpws adventure, and the simulation was as good as it gets! It was now possible to fly IMC pure blind navigation, exactly as it is done every day by countless commercial pilots.
I have persevered with a number of Plane / Panel changers, but none have got it exactly right for me so far! I have not, as yet encountered the Squawk Box / Pro Controller arena, as I am sure it's tempting to operate for hours - as the charges for Local Calls in the UK are massive in comparison to those in the States, it is impossible, simply another backward view from Industry and the Government here! I look forward to recieving the 1Megabyte per second Internet supply from the Electricity Board, I'm first on the list! tata BT. NTL Broadband has changed my views lately and I endeavour to link my multiplayer sessions with Roger Wilco.
Flight Simulator 7 has been a bit of a let-down in my opinion, 3D wise. I bought an 8Mb 3D board primarily for FS7, almost $500 worth and am hugely dissapointed in the zero improvement in performance, OK the graphics are improved but the framerate is 2 - 12 per sec (Not 30 - 40 as intimated). I am told that an increase in processor power is likely to be the single greatest frame rate improvement upgrade. I am not ready to upgrade at present.
I do like the new panels, although I am looking forward to more choice on the Net. Why 2 Cessna's? also I am frustrated by the Lessons / Adventures - many a time I have flown the lessons and snuck the autopilot back on, I'm now flying the adventure with great precision, Navigation done by the Virtual co-pilot, only to be told that I am "Leaving the Controlled Area"!! Adventure ends! now what's good about that ?? This is the crux of the problem - the Nav is unreliable! some transmitters are not even there! Cleverly, Micro$oft have avoided listing what is there, apart from some Aeronautical charts in the back of the Installation guide! Methinks they will allow the FS community to fix all this! or buy a copy of Sierra's Pro Pilot!
The greatest advances in Flight Sim 98 have been the amazing work by individuals on the Panel, Plane and Scenery front. These guys, either individually, Eric Ernst (Fabulous Panels), and the UK Design Team. are co-ordinating the creation of a fabulous scenery area.
All the files include superb Mapping, Terrain Features, Roads, Rivers, Cliffs, Unique Buildings, Static and Dynamic Scenery, Gatwick is a must for all Noble Gatwick hub Pilots. Quite frankly this is the best scenery, and is Available at <http://www.vfrscenery.co.uk>
I have since upgraded my computer, P450 with the VFR Scenery of the UK, and I am delighted. Couple this with the fantastic FSNav ( which I run on my previous machine networked) the flight sim experience is complete.
Visual Flight and GetMapping have taken the Millenium Map project, photographs of England and Wales, added them to terrain mesh and what you get is the most realistic, accurate and enthralling Flight Simulator experience available. Quite frankly, this is the single most important improvement since Bruce Artwick came up with the original core program. This scenery will become the "base" for all serious users and developers for the UK, worldwide. Great thanks indeed to John "Mally" Farrie. This great commercial scenery for England and Wales can be found here. <http://www.visualflight.co.uk>
Flight Simulator 6 was an eagerly awaited aquisition, and after using it for a few months I had overcome my initial doubts, and began to forget the nicer things from FS5. My Hangar now included over 30 planes, 10 panels and huge areas of Europe and the UK. I was basing myself equally between Biggin Hill and Cardiff. The excellent Flight Planner from Math Maessen is a must for any Simmer, I have followed each version through to v4.0b. The navigational side of flying was beginning to fascinate me and the ability to select a route based on lines on a map
Flight Simulator 9 was an eagerly awaited aquisition, and after using it for a few months I had overcome my initial doubts, and began to forget the nicer things from FS5. My Hangar now included over 30 planes, 10 panels and huge areas of Europe and the UK. I was basing myself equally between Biggin Hill and Cardiff. The excellent Flight Planner from Math Maessen is a must for any Simmer, I have followed each version through to v4.0b. The navigational side of flying was beginning to fascinate me and the ability to select a route based on lines on a map
Where to next ? is what I've asked myself, well, there was only one thing to do wasn't there ! But more of that elsewhere !!!
The Dangerous Flying Club was started around 5 years ago, when my flying buddy sent me a file of himself flying a Dash 8 inverted over Meigs Field. This was a revelation, it was so simple and we proceeded to try and outdo each other! So, the Dangerous Flying Club was formed.
These .vid files are very small and can be downloaded very quickly as they are just the start co-ordinates and control inputs! each file is placed in the Pilots directory, open FS (any version) to roughly the right area, with a similar aircraft, choose View! sometimes the Tower view is best! (toggle S) open the Video Recorder, select the Video and sit back and watch! Feel free to download any of the examples below, or to send in your own!
Don't forget this is not to be tried in real aircraft! haha
Maverick goes for it and flies under Tower Bridge
Maverick is the Pitts
Deathwish thinks he's driving a car
Deathwish flies under down down under
This surely is Madness over Meigs
This could be yours