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For those who decide to build their own Flight Simulator cockpit


This website gives you a lot of current information around building your own cockpit ... and this will change the way you fly a simulator!


As Real As It Gets

The History of de Flight Simulator

Waarom een 'home cockpit' bouwen ...? Ik zou nooit zover gekomen zijn als er geen software was als de Flight Simulator. Lekker achteruit op een vlucht in een Tripple7 naar Seattle ... ja, naar Boeing, kreeg ik het idee om op het moment dat mijn website aangepast zou worden aan de huidige tijd een plaatsje te maken voor een kort overzicht over de historie van de noodzakelijke software. Het begon allemaal op het moment dat ik dag kon zeggen tegen mijn brevet ... en de eerste PC op de markt kwam: 1980 ... en het was in dat jaar dat ik mijn eerste 'home cockpit' bouwde ... niet meer dan een schoenendoos.
Kijk even naar de historie van de Flight Simulator.

Why building my own 'home cockpit' ...? I wouldn't came so far if there wasn't software like a Flight Simulator. Sitting back in my chair on a flight in a Tripple7 to Seattle ... yes to Boeing, I got the idea that on the moment a would restyle my website it would be a good idea to spend a little space to the history of the necessary software. It all starts on the moment I lost my license ... and the first PC came on the market: 1980 ... and it was in that year I built my first 'home cockpit' ... not more than an shoebox.
Take a look to the history of the Flight Simulator.

1979 - Bruce Artwick and the subLOGIC Corporation

Bruce Artwick and Stuart Moment established the 'subLOGIC' corporation in 1977 ... and this firm offered a '3D microcomputer graphics package' that allow engineers, architects, designers, pilots and anyone else interested in 3D wire frame drawings to generate what the wanted on a TV screen.

The first version of 3D Graphics was available in BASIC and M6800 assembly language in august 1977.

End 1979 the Apple II was launched to the market using a 6502 processor.
The program was marked as number AB-3D1 (BASIC language version) or as A2-3D1 (assembly language version).
The BASIC version was distributed with a 'Load and Go' manual and 60 pages BASIC 3D Graphics manual. The programs were distributed on one cassette or 5.25" floppy disk.
The program was not only delivered with a manual but also a demonstration program was included! The demonstration program was the first public demo of the following worldwide famous 'Microsoft Flight Simulator'...

1980 - 'subLOGIC' Flight Simulator 1

It was beginning 1980 the first 'subLOGIC Flight Simulator' came on the market as: A2-FS1 on a cassette ... and yes, loading the program was not without problems:

Due to the cassette copy protection, the FS1 occasionally had loading difficulties which are easy to correct ...

1) Problem: ERR message after 15 seconds after tape start - Solution: Important is to wait until the pre-loader is ready and the program is loaded with a continuous tone that is not erratic.
2) Problem: Bottom 4 lines of text fill with garbage - Solution: Stop the recorder. You have experienced a bad load. Change the volume settings and try loading again (remember that the top 20 lines should fill with garbage).
3) Problem: 'STOLEN AIRCRAFT' message appears after a good load and short flight - Solution: Press RETURN about 12 times before entering loading commands. on a Apple Plus always hit return at least 10 times, CALL -151, then entering the loading commands.

... a normal start-up was approximately 2 minutes!

1980 - 'subLOGIC' Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II and TRS-80

Also in 1980 a next tape edition was released for the TRS-80-I and these version is followed by a 5.25" floppy disc version for the Apple II and TRS-80-I an III.

1982 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.0 for IBM-PC

In 1982 the first Microsoft Flight Simulator on 5.25" floppy was released and usable for the IBM-PC.
This by 'subLOGIC' created version had already 4 colours, a panel with 8 gauges and 20 airports in four scenery areas.
A 'look around' with 9 view direction, weather and slew functions and ... but still one aircraft: a Cessna 182!

1983 - subLOGIC Flight Simulator II - version 1

First release of the Flight Simulator II for the Apple II. This version is created by subLOGIC and comparable with the IMB-PC version. This is already a 6-color version and offers the Flight Simulator enthusiast 80 airports in 4 areas and a expanded scenery with more roads, rivers and mountains. The aircraft is a Piper Archer.

1984 - subLOGIC Flight Simulator II - version 1.05 and 2.0

New releases of the Flight Simulator II for the Aplle II, Aplle II+, Apple IIc, Atari 400, 600XL, 800, 800XL, 1200XL, 1450 XLD and the Commodore 64.

1984 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.1 - IBM-PC

In 1984 there were several new releases of the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.1 for the IBM-PC and Tandy. These version is still on 5.25" floppy.

System requirements:

  • IBM-PC with at least 64K bytes of memory
  • IBM Colour/Graphics monitor adapter
  • A disk drive
  • Optional: one or two joysticks
  • Optional: Microsoft mouse
  • Enclosed but optional: a keyboard overlay

1984 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.14 - IBM-PC

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.14 ... the first 3½ disk version!

BAO/Microsoft Flight Simulator 3.0

Bruce Artwick leaves subLOGIC and founds his own company: BAO Ltd. (Bruce Artwick Organisation).
Version 3.0 is the first version created by BAO and released by Microsoft ... only on 3½ disk!
This version is only developed for the PC and offers 16-colours EGA, a new panel and a high resolution scenery, good weather and daytime features.
Version 3.0 includes the Cessna Skylane Turbo RGII, Lerarjet 25G with retractable landing gear and a Sopwith Camel. Now you can fly over the panoramas of Chicago, New York or San Francisco and there are also stunts offered such as a flight under the Golden Gate bridge or an aircraft carrier landing.

1989 - Arcade Flight Simulator for Commodore 64

Begin 1989 brengt Codemaster de Arcade Flight Simulator op de markt. Deze 'actie' simulator is uitgebracht op tape voor de Commodore 64 en alleen in Europe te verkrijgen.

Beginning 1989 the release of a new Flight Simulator for the Commodore 64 ... Arcade Flight Simulator is an Action game, published by Codemasters, which was released in Europe on tape.

1989 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0

Flight Simulator 4.0 ... an upgraded 3.0? No, the in 1989 released versio 4.0 had identical sceneries of those in version 3.0, however the quality of the simulation has been improved!
Much better flight models, improved scenery, random weather generator and that feature offers more realistic flights.
The scenery was dynamic and the air traffic at the airport was realistically represented.
New was the Schweitzer 2-32 Sailplane with an instrument panel different from the others aircraft.

1989 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0B

FS 4.0B ... didn't bring anything new ... this version is just a bug fix release.

1990 - Aircraft & Scenery Designer

A large series of add-ons products were produced for FS4 between 1990 and 1993 and the 'Aircraft & Scenery Designer' integration module was very useful.
The module allowed FS4 users to build, on trhe fly from directly within the program, custom scenery units known as SC1 file which could be used within FS4 and traded with other users (FS Forum on CompuServe).
A&SD also provided the addition of the Aircraft Designer Module: directly within the program the user could select one of two basic aircraft frames (prop or jet) andproceed to parameter customizations ranging over 4 pages of flight envelope details and visual aspects.

Finally, A&SD provided additional aircraft including a Boeing 747 with a custom cockpit panel (which required running in 640 x 350 resolution).

1993 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.0

FS5, released in late 1993, is the first version of the FS series to use textures. This allowed FS5 to achieve a much higher degree of realism than the previous flat-shaded simulators.
This also made add-ons scenery and aircraft for the previous versions obsolete, as they would look out of place.

The FS5 scenery was expanded and included parts of Europe. Improvements were made to the included aircraft models, the weather system's realism and artificial intelligence. The scenery format was migrated from the old SCN/SC1 to the new and more complex BGL format ... and that is also the end of 'Airport & Scenery Designer'.
More noticeable improvements are the use of digital audio for soiund effects, custom cockpits for each aircraft (previous versions had one cockpit that was slightly modified to fit various aircraft), and better graphics.

1995 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1

In june 1995, Flight Simulator 5.1 was introduced, adding the ability to handle scenery libraries including wide use of satellite imagery, faster performance and a barrage of weather effects: storms, 3D clouds and fog became true-to-life elements in the 'Flight Simulator World'.

This Flight Simulator edition was also the first that was released on CD-rom and the last version for DOS.

In the fall of 1995 and the release of FlightShop nearly any aircraft could be built. The French program 'Airport' was also available for free which allowed users to build airport (FS5.1 only had 250 World wide) and other designers were doing custom aircraft cockpit panels.
This all made for a huge amount of 'freeware' to be released to be downloaded and added to the FS 5.1 simulator.

1995 - BAO's FlightShop

BAO's FlightShop (FSFS) is een onmisbare aanvulling voor Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1. FlightShop repareert niet alleen de vele bugs en toepassingen (zoals de geblokte kustlijnen en ATC mogelijkheden) maar geeft de gebruiker ook de mogelijkheid eigen vliegtuigen te ontwerpen.

BAO's FlightShop (FSFS) is a great add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1. FlightShop fixes not only the many bugs and incomplete features (such as blocky coastlines and ATC features) but allows users to create custom planes for use in the program.

1995 - Microsoft Flight Simulator ...

Met het uitbrengen van Microsoft Flight Simulator 95 krijgen we een nieuw logo te zien. Met af en toe wat kleuraanpassingen blijft dit het herkenbare beeld van de Microsoft Flight Simulator!
Since the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 95 a new logo is used.

1996 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 95

As Windows 95 was released in mid 1996, a new version (6.0) was developed for that platform. It did feature a vastly improved frame-rate, better haze, and additional aircraft, including the Extra 3000 aerobatic plane.
It also feauterd more 3D detailing, this could be noticed in many places such as Manhattan, meight, etc.
Instead of using the version number in the title, Microsoft instead called it 'Flight Simulator for Windows 95' to advertise the change in operating system.

This was the first version released after the purchase of BAO by Microsoft and after having physically relocated development of the BAO staff to Microsoft's primary campus in Redmond, Washington.
The BAO team was integrated with other non-BAO Microsoft staff, such as project management, testing and artwork.
Additional scenery included major airports outside Europe and the U.S. for the first time.

1997 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 98

FS98 released mid 1997 offered minor improvements, with a few notable exceptions: the simulator now also featured a helicopter (Bell 206BIII JetRanger), as well as a generally improved interface for adding additional aircraft, sceneries and sounds.
Also a revised Cessna 182 and Learjet 45 with a photo-realistic instrument panel and updated flight model was included. A major expansion was the scenery included in this release, including approximately 45 detailed cities, many located outside the United States, some of which were previously included in separate scenery enhancement packs, as well as an increase in the modeled airports to over 3000 World wide, compared witrh the approximately 300 in earlier versions.

This release included support for the Microsoft Pro Force Feedback joystick and was the first version to take advantage of 3D graphic cards, through Microsoft's DirectX technology.
With such combination of hardware and software, FS98 not only achieved better performance, but also implemented better haze/visiblity effect, 'virtual cockpit' views, texture filtering and sun sunrise/sunset effect.

1999 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 / 2000Pro

FS2000 (7.0) was released late 1999 as a major improvement over the previous versions and was offered in two versions: 'standard' and 'pro'. Although may users had high expectations when this version arrived, many were disappointed when they found out that the simulator demanded high-end hardware; the minimum requirements were a Pentium 166 Mhz computer, although 400 to 500 Mhz computer was necessary to have an acceptable frame-rate.

FS2000 upgraded its dynamic scenery, with more detailed models and AI that allowed aircraft to yield to other aircraft to avoid incursions while taxiing.
FS2000 included an improvement weather system, which featured precipitation for the first time in the form of either snow or rain, as well as other new features such as ability to download real-world weather.
New aircraft in FS2000 included the supersonic Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde and the Boeing 777. Also the addition of over 17.000 new airports, for a total exceeding 20.000 worldwide, was a milestone!

FS2000 was the last of the Flight Simulator series to support the Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 operating systems.

1996/2012 - FlightGear

Not only Microsoft was active on the Flight Simulator software market, also FlightGear, a free 'open source' Flight Simulator and X-Plane are good alternatives.
David Murr started the FlightGear project on april 8, 1996. The project had its first release in 1997 and continued in development, the most recent release is version 3.4.0 in 2014.
It has specific builds for a variety of operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, IRIX and Solaris.
FlightGear code is released under the terms of the GNU general public license, thus being free software.

'Flight Pro Sim', 'Pro Flight Simulator', etc. are simply re-branded versions of the FlightGear open-source Flight Simulator!

2001 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002

FS2002 (8.0) was released in October 2001, improved vastly over previous versions.
In addition to improved graphics, FS2002 introduced air traffic control (ATC) and artificial intelligence (AI) aircraft enabling users to fly alongside computer controlled aircraft and communicate with airports.
An option for a target frame-rate was added, enabling a cap on the frame-rate to reduce stutter while performing texture loading and other maintenance tasks.
New features: a 3D virtual cockpit and the external view featured an inertia effect, inducing an illusion of movement in a realistic physical environment.
The simulation runs smoother than Flight Simulator 2000, even on comparable hardware!

Anticipation was high for this version, because of its interactive AI traffic, ATC features and its release shortly after eptember 2001.
Due to the terrorist attacks September 11, the launch was postponed to remove the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in all copies, and the release date was pushed back to October 19, 2001.

2001 - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004

FS2004 (9.0) - 'A century of Flight', also known as FS9 was shipped with several historic aircraft such as the Wright Flyer, Ford Tri-Motor and the Douglas DC-3 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wright Brothers first flight.
The program included an improved weather engine, that provided true three-dimensional clouds for the first time.
The engine also allowed users to download actual weather information from weather stations, allowing the simulator to synchronize the weather with the real world.
Other enhancements from the previous version included better ATC communications, GPS equipment, interactive cockpits and more variety in autogen scenery such as barns, street lights, silos, etc.

FS2004 is released on July 29, 2003 and a service update (9.1) followed on June 10, 2004. The update included 160 bridges, missing or wrongly displayed in the original version, several corrections and performance improvements.

2004 - X-Plane

The most popular Flight Simulator on the market is the Microsoft Flight Simulator.
This may be predominately due to their early start with their flight simulator, which dates back to about 1982 or so.
Over the years, there have been many other upstart companies that have attempted to compete against Microsoft (Flight Unlimited, Fly and Fly-2K are a few examples).
All have failed ... except X-Plane, developed by Austin Meyer (Laminar Research), which has traditionally a relatively small market of fanatic users.
From the very beginning, the largest advantage of using X-Plane was the way the flight model is generated and the high frame-rate at which X-Plane can run.
In the past, Microsoft had scenery that was superior to X-Plane's as well many more add-ons. Microsoft advantage here largely died with the release of the first set of high definition, world-wide scenery disks on December 1, 2004.
X-Plane can be used in a wide array of situations, ranging from home use to commercial flight training. Different situations require a different software 'level'. Situations that go beyond the standard retail use requires the purchase of a USB 'key' (simply a flash drive) to unlock the specific features.

2007 - X-Plane 9

The improvement that most people will notice in X-Plane 9 is the scenery!
That's the reason X-Plane 9 comes on six DVD's and can take up to 80GB of hard drive space: the amount of detail is great and it appears that every single road in the U.S. is present.
This makes VFR flights possible and increases the realism of the simulation dramatically! Add to that accurate terrain, auto-generated buildings, water reflections, pixel shades, volumetric fog, birds and you have a very convincing environment in which to fly.
The plane models are generally the same as in previous versions but you can view the action from pretty much any angle, even zoom out (rather quickly) to a distant perspective: X-Plane 9 allows you to zoom from your plane all the way out to a picture of the entire Earth in a smooth transition; the daylight representation are even accurate from the orbital view.
X-Plane 9 supports older systems by providing lower quality options. Of course, then X-Plane 9 would look more like X-Plane 8, so you really need a more modern system to enjoy the enhancements of the newer version.
The sound is less impressive: although we do have accurate engine sounds and background radio chatter, the air traffic controllers still use computerized voices instead a having real people.

2010 - Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX

Microsoft Flight Simulator 10, also known as FSX, was released October 10, 2006 and is the tenth and final edition in the Flight Simulator franchise.
It features new aircraft, improved multi-player support including the ability for two players to fly a single plane, players to occupy a control tower available in the DeLuxe Edition and improved scenery with higher resolution ground textures.

FSX includes fewer aircraft then FS2004, but incorporates new aircraft such as Airbus 321, Boeing 737-800 and Bombardier CRJ700. The expansion pack, named 'Acceleration', was released later and includes new missions, aircraft and other updates.
The 'DeLuxe' edition of FSX includes the software development kit (SDK), which contains an object placer, allowing the game's autogen and full scenery library to be used in missions or add-on scenery. Finally, the ability to operate the control surfaces of the aircraft with the mouse was reintroduced after it was removed in FS2002.
FSX is trhe first of the series to be released exclusively on DVD-ROM due to space constraints.
It requires a significantly more powerful computer to run smoothly, even on low graphical settings. Users have reported that a powerful processor is more helpful in increasing performance than a powerful graphic card!
And ... tired of the default planes and scenery, you want FSX to look better, there are thousands of add-ons on the market!

2011 - X-Plane 10

Bijna vijf jaar na de release van X-Plane 9 hebben Austin Meyer en Laminar Research de reeds lang verwachtte X-Plane 10 simulator gepresenteerd.
Met zeer realistische vliegeigenschappen en een wat Austin noemt een 'plausible' wereld biedt X-Plane 10 een enorme verbetering ten opzichte van versie 9.

Nearly 5 years after the release of X-Plane 9, Austin Meyer and Laminar Research completed the long awaited X-Plane 10.
Ultra-realistic flight dynamics and what Austin calls a 'plausible' world, X-Plane 10 offers a significant improvement over version 9!
X-Plane has always been the 'scientific' flight simulator ... it had the most sophisticated back-end with realistic flight dynamics and weather replication! There are many moments in X-Plane 10 where if you would make a screen-shot, you would not know if it's real or not!

2011 - Lockeed Martin Prepar3D

We have been flying our virtual planes around the globe using Microsoft Flight Simulator FS1 up to FSX and really enjoyed ourself. However several years ago Microsoft sold the code rights to Lockheed Martin and since that time they have re-branded it to Prepar3d (P3D)
This simulation platform offers professional and the home-pilots a perfect simulator. The software is deliver with a development kit for scenario and landscape.
Prepar3D is available to the public through the Prepar3D website.

2014 - Microsoft Flight

'The sky's the limit! Now anyone can enjoy the fun, freedom and adventure of flight. Feel the power at your fingertips as you take to the skies and launch into thrilling missions and exciting challenges over the free-to-play Big Island of Hawaii. Take off today and fly into the ever-expanding world of Microsoft Flight'...

Februari 29, 2012 ... twenty-eight years after the debut of 'Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0' Microsoft Game Studios announces the internal development of 'Microsoft Flight'.
Microsoft Flight offers a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans to expierence the magic of flight.

2010 - Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX - 'Steam' Edition

Microsoft Simulator X 'Steam' editie is op 18 December 2014 verschenen. Deze 'Steam' versie is een heruitgave van de 'Gold Edition' inclusief de 'Deluxe' versie en 'Acceleration Packs'.
Steam is een platform voor online games. Veel uitgevers zijn inmiddels te vinden op dit platform. Door de lagere prijzen hopen ze dat er minder gehackt wordt.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition was released on 18 December 2014, and is a re-release of FSX Gold Edition, which includes the Deluxe and Acceleration packs and both Service Packs.

2018 - Prepar3D

Bent u er klaar voor ... 'Prepar3d en spreek uit als prepared ... '.
Ja, het door Lockeed Martin is een fantastische opvolger van de door Microsoft succesvolle software. Vooral de mogelijkheid om de vele addons ontwikkeld voor FSX te gebruiken heeft Prepar3D succesvol gemaakt.
Voor ons met gebruik van FSBUS Modulair 2018 een aanrader!

Prepar3D, pronounced as 'prepared' is a todays simulation platform that allows users to create training scenarios across aviation.
Prepar3D furthers the development of Microsoft flight simulator while maintaining compatibility with Microsoft FS X, allowing many thousands of add-ons to be used within Prepar3D.
We prefer Prepar3D as simulator platform in combination with FSBUS Modulair 2018!

... en today, we still fly with ... FS9, FSX, X-Plane and Prepar3D ...




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