Tuesday, April 28, 2009

International Flight Sim Consortium

News of this is already circulating around the web, but I also wanted to inform my faithful readers that there's s global effort being put together to promote flight simulation, the community and organizations in support of our hobby - and it's already got a name: The International Flight Sim Consortium.

There will be more news upcoming on this organization, its goals and membership requirements, but I wanted everyone to start feeling good about it already. Expect more soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A flight simmer's wet dream...

(Reported from The Associated Press and the Naples Daily News)

In the twenty-plus years that I've been a flight simulation fan (and the six-plus that I've been a licensed pilot) this discussion has been coming up time and again: "I'm an avid flight simmer - would I be able to land a plane if the pilots were incapacitated?" (also in various flavors, like "If the pilots died and there was rapid decompression..." or "if the pilots were passed out..." etc etc.)

I hadn't thought this could actually come to be a reality though... however, stranger things have happened, and according to this news item, a passenger was, in fact, able to land a plane in Florida, after the pilot died... granted, the plane was climbing on autopilot, and the passenger was a licensed (albeit single-engine rated) pilot... but still - in my book, this is worthy of a note!

So now we know! (I guess I'll start going on King Air rides more often now!)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The future of Flight Simulation

I guess everyone knows by now (unless you were hiding under some tree, vacationing in New Zealand or spending your winter sleeping in a cave like a bear) that Microsoft in a bold move, decided to close up ACES studios, the team responsible for development and publishing of the Flight Simulator series.

Lots of people have been asking me to comment on this, both as Microsoft MVP (Flight Sim) as well as because of my friendly relationship with several of the ACES developers.

I have to be particularly careful of what I say, not only because I've signed various NDAs, but also because I don't want people to be taking my words the wrong way or misinterpreting any comments to mean anything hidden behind the words.

If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that nature hates voids so there will be something to fill the empty space in the simulator market that the ACES closure left. Whether that will be by Microsoft (the official statement said they'll be considering all options) or by some other entity (lots of rumors about several ideas floating about), it remains to be seen.

I am confident, though, that Flight Simulator X (the product) has a LONG way to go still - the hardware is catching up already with the product, making more and more people appreciate the new and improved components that were its acceptance hindrance in the past, and frame rates are now above the specific point where people will start enjoying it rather than be annoyed by it.

As far as Flight Sim Labs goes, we feel that there's lots of undiscovered ground still to be seen - there's more sceneries coming out and with Mega Airport Heathrow X, Charles De Gaulle X (SimWings / Aerosoft) and JFK X by FSDreamTeam, already available in stores, our upcoming Concorde X aircraft will shine in its majestic glory!

(There are lots of other smaller airport sceneries available too - for our other - still unannounced - upcoming projects - hint hint!).

My advice, thus is this:

Sit back, relax and enjoy FSX! It will be around for a long time to come, still, so there's gobs of pleasure still to be found in flying it. If you haven't, yet, also take a look at the missions and try some flights by sharing your cockpit with a friend over the internet (yes, that's possible with FSX).