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    Amateur flight simulator building has quickly become one of the most intricate and tedious hobbies in the world. This hobby has been QUICKLY exploding, with new builders joining the ranks almost daily. It becomes interesting to see who inspired who, and who had a hand in creating what. I figured it would be a good idea to begin tracking this before the hobby got TOO big. Keep in mind that the persons listed in this history are not trained flight sim professionals, they are individuals who are building at home purely for the love of flying.

Click here to discuss amateur flight sim building history and tell your story.

 

 

The following diagram illustrates the order of the early "home" builders, and many of their contributions to the community. The following colors are used to delliniate various things:

Note: Builders listed in this history only include those that have made themselves visible in the hobby. Along the lines of the Wright Brothers, we cannot acknowledge those builders who have not made themselves known.

 

  • Red Text - Red fonts are for builders who were the first to build their particular aircraft
  • Green Boxes - These individuals have made contributions to the flight sim community via some new application, device, or interface. Details are listed below the chart.
  • Blue Boxes - Software that has had a significant impact on this hobby is shown in blue boxes.
  • Yellow Boxes - Yellow boxes delineate companies, which have contributed significant services to the members of the flight sim community by providing custom parts to suit various requirements.
  • Colored lines - Lines are drawn showing who inspired each builder to begin. Most builders on this chart have inspired many others to build in more recent days, but since there were so few builders in the beginning, each builder inevitably became a mentor to those they inspired.
  • Thick blue line - The builders above this line, I like to call "blue liners". These simmers either use mostly real parts, or mostly homemade parts. Their sims were around before there were any companies supporting this hobby, so everything they made was by hand. There are simmers below the blue line that have done the same thing, but the majority lay above the line.
  • Triple Black Lines - For projects consisting of multiple developers, three black lines connect the participants.

     

    Contributions

    Here are some the major contributions that each of the above builders have made to the flight sim community:

     

    Sim Itterations - this is the number of times that a sim builder has basically started over. Usually this is due to new part sources or a change of aircraft type.

  • Randy Eskow - Randy was the first known person to build a physical flight simulation device at home (non-commercially). His first one was made mostly from cardboard and printed photos, but it got him on television and American Airline's newsletter. His later sims would consist of real aircraft shells, and +90% real aircraft parts. In 2001, he built the very first Jetstar sim, which followed his 737 sim. He was the third person in this hobby to use a nose section from a real 737 for his project.
    5 sim itterations - Read his story

     

  • Hans Keiner - ???
    View Web Site

     

  • Stamatis Vellis - ???
    View Web Site

     

  • Enrico Schiratti - Possibly one of the most important applications in the hobby (excluding Microsoft Flight Simulator) was developed by Enrico Schiratti. In it's early days, it was known as PFD (Professional Flight Displays). The PFD Team consisted of ??? but was later disbanded and reformed as Project Magenta. Team Schiratti consists of Enrico Schiratti, Stamatis Vellis, Katy Pluta ???. This team was one of the first to integrate LCD projection for the outside display.
    View Web Site

     

  • James Price - The heralded king of simulation... James Price has been the benchmark of realism and complexity with his home-built flight simulator. He was the first person to integrate his simulator with actual aircraft parts, and he did so through the use of the EPIC card. Matt Ford evetually helped him secure a shell from a 737 as well, making him the second person to obtain a real aircraft shell. Almost every builder to follow has been highly inspired by his works. He has worked with many of the flight sim companies to make more products available.
    4 sim itterations - View Web Site

     

  • Matt Ford - Matt Ford was the first person to purchase an aircraft nose section from a real 737 (to integrate with his simulator), and he has one of the most complex and accurate overhead panel systems of any builder to date. He began development of a very realistic Instructor Operating Station (IOS) in 199x, which James Price eventually continued developing.
    View Web Page

     

  • Kev Saker - A hoard of builders began construction after Saker released the documentation on his simulator. The report gave details on most every aspect of the simulator including one of the very first non-EPIC electrical interfaces. He was the first builder to develop an EPIC alternative electrical interface, therby reducing the price of amateur simulation significantly. He developed a solenoid tray which physically pressed the keys on a keyboard outside of the simulator to send the proper keys to Microsoft Flight SImulator.
    2 sim itterations? - View Report

     

  • Cockpit Simulations Inc. - This company was started by an individual named Ted Deller in 1997. He too was a sim builder and found a way to have replicas of cockpit components reproduced at VERY low cost. He worked with various "blue liners" to enhance the accuracy and functionality of the parts.
    View Web Site

     

  • Ray Sotkiewicz - One of the top rated EPIC masters, Ray founded Blue Side Up, which provides excellent information on the EPIC card. Lots of code is available there to help EPIC users get their sims functional. He also developed a device called the Quad Rotary Controller (QRC), which further helped the non-EPIC users.
    2 sim itterations? - View Web Site

     

  • Matthew Wietlispach - This was the first serious fighter sim builder. His sim is one of the few completely EPIC driven combat sims in existance, and uses mostly analog gauges. Matt has also been highly instrumental in the completion of many sims across America. He actually started in 1972, building "fortresses", which were various aircraft flight decks that required use of the imagination to "fly". Wietlispach began his flight sim "career" with SubLogic's Flight Simulator for the Amiga computer.
    3 sim itterations? - View Web Site

     

  • Robert Prather - Prather was responsible for the creation of the flight sim keyboard emulation interface, which was the second known "EPIC-alternative" (the first being Kev Saker's solenoid tray). He is also the creator of Pro MFD (Professional Multi-function displays), which complements Project Magenta by providing synoptic and diagnostic displays for various aircraft. His sim has also been used to prototype numerous devices for flight sim part producers such as Advanced Graphics Technologies, Flight Deck Solutions, and Go Flight Inc.
    3 sim itterations - View Web Page

     

  • Peter Cos - Peter has been instrumental in the commercialization of this hobby. He initially concentrated on three-dimensional digital modeling of the A320 flight deck, and eventually found a way to have these renderings transformed into realistic hardware. He is well known for his "flight deck kits", which include entire flight deck sections, rather than single panels like other flight sim providers.
    View Web Page

 


    
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