Welcome, fellow aviation enthusiast!

Maybe you’re a seasoned veteran (more on that latter term shortly) or, like me, have been learning from the ground up. My medium for doing this has been the 2020 release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. After reading about its development, not too long before its release that summer, I knew it would be one of the few things in life that would live up to its hype. My hunch was only emboldened by chats I had with a couple of pilots I met in my (non-aviation) job.

Spitfire over London. Courtesy: Alex Crosby

Knowing my current PC wouldn’t come close to being able to run the simulator, I made a new purchase, and it was well worth the upgrade. I’m purposely running the sim at 90% of its graphical capability, only because I tend to run a few other memory intensive applications while using it, but the quality is still astounding. Since then, there have been advances in graphics processing units (GPUs), but my set-up handles the sim admirably. (Without getting too technical, the CPU (central processing unit) basically handles the instruments and the autopilot. Everything else is done by the GPU.)

To take the experience to the next level, I began downloading as many third-party add-ons for the simulator that I could find – mostly airports, of which I have over 6,000 (either modifications of stock scenery or, in many cases, adding into the sim what isn’t there by default). Some are basic modifications of said airports; others are complete revamps to really bring them true to life. Thankfully, the former modelling approach is the norm, because when developers get very creative, the file size increases exponentially. Fortunately, through the use of a program mentioned on my Tweaks page, I only load the add-ons I need for the areas I plan on flying in that particular session, hence loading times are substantially reduced.

Courtesy: Mechanical Madness

On the Simulator page, I go into detail about what the software has to offer, so I’ll save your eyes here.

As I continue to learn what can be done in the world of aviation, I want to share the experience with those who are in the same cockpit. My hope is to rekindle the passion of veterans who would like to relive their careers in a much more relaxed manner. I’ve already taken (virtually, that is) my 90-year-old neighbor to one of his former Army stomping grounds. He was based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in the 1950s, and his comments on returning there can be read on the Testimonials page. Although Vets will be my focus, all are welcome to come onboard.

What I can offer…

To those willing to begin (or advance) their Flight Simulator career, I can assess your current PC and storage credentials to see if they can run the program satisfactorily. If not, I can recommend potential upgrades and get everything up and running for you.

Several aspects of the simulator require occasional maintenance, such as software updates, which can be quite hefty in size (and, for reasons best known only to Microsoft, finicky to download successfully). I often get the issues people mention in those forums but have found ways to remedy them.

Backing up data is imperative. If I lost all I currently have for the simulator, I can guarantee you I would not start over. I’ll be making sure your data is also safe.

In addition, developers are always working on airport modifications. As stated, I have around 6,000 modded airports (see Airports). If we divide that by the (at the time of writing this) twenty months the simulator has been out, that’s an average of nine releases each day. Plus, there are daily updates of existing sceneries.

As part of my service, I will provide access to all of my airport scenery. 99% of it is freeware, so I can’t charge for my making them available; the only fee will be for the time spent installing them on your system. This will be commensurate with the regions you choose, because (for example) the U.S., England and France have over 200 airport modifications, whereas some countries have but a handful. You obviously don’t need these mods to enjoy the simulator, but once you’ve flown with them, after going without, I think you’ll see the benefit.

Finally, as with airports, the aircraft on offer in the simulator is ever-expanding. I list all of the stock planes and a large selection of third-party offerings (both free and paid) on my Aircraft page. As I explain there, the “standard” tier of the simulator includes twenty aircraft. With the third-party options available, though, I found myself expanding my horizons and seeing which style of aircraft I found the most enjoyable. There are several stock aircraft I have uninstalled because I’ve found better options from the various developers. I have 25 planes in my virtual hangar currently, but I rotate between about half of those.

With things rarely standing still in Flight Simulator world, I plan to put together a monthly newsletter to bring all of the recent developments into one place. Even if you’re not currently using my service, you can e-mail me if you’d like to receive the newsletter.