To give some background for my Pro Flight Simulator Review I thought I would give you a brief history of the real flight simulator.
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In the early 1960′s commercial airlines began using flight simulators for the first time. Obviously it was very expensive to try to train pilots in real airplanes so the move to online flight simulator proved to be very effective. Also at this time it was not practical for the space program to send astronauts to the moon for training so they used flight pro sim programs as well. It is well known that flight simulation was used in the training for the moon mission as well as working out problems during the Apollo 13 mission. The military has only begun using flight simuators for the pc in the last decade.
Jump ahead to 1979 and we have the first real flight simulator for the pc being developed by Bruce Atwick who we will call the father of online flight simulator games. The first game he developed was for the Apple-II and soon after he developed a real flight simulator game for the Radio Shack TRS model 80. Microsoft actually negotiated a joint license with Bruce for the Flight Pro Sim game. In 1982 the first version of Microsoft’s best flight simulator for the pc was offered in stores. This flight sim game went on to become one of Microsoft’s best selling games ever, by 1997 they claim to have sold 10 million copies! In June of 1999 Microsoft Flight Simulator made the Guiness Book of Records with 21 millions copies sold!
Pc users love of the flight simulators for the pc forced them to run to the stores to buy new faster computers to be able to run updated versions of real flight simulators since they used so much resources.
Bruce Atwick started his own company Bruce Atwick Organization (BAO) in 1988 and up until 1995 created newer versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator in partnership with Microsoft. The last version of the real flight simulator he released was for Windows 95 and was called Flight Simulator for Windows 95. This ground breaking version included improvements such as better aircraft models , improved panels, more detailed scenery, buildings and such. The best part was that they managed to port the program to windows successfully improving framerates despite many enthusiasts worries that the game would suffer after trials with Windows 3.11.
That brings us to today, of course there were other versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator for the pc in between and other versions for the Apple and Radio Shack Platforms I did not mention. But I think we have a good idea of what led to the online flight simulator games we see today. Now there are many good quality online flight simulator games available directly for download today. No need to go to the store anymore or buy a CD. We can go to the vendor’s site and download the best flight simulator for the pc instantly!
Games have evolved tremendously and I played all of those games mentioned in the history. My first computer was a TRS 80 Model III. Geeze I am old I can truly say the newer versions of the game such as Pro Flight Simulator are very enjoyable to play. I mean for example it has over 20,000 airports and 120 planes to choose from! You can fly anywhere in the world even over your own neighborhood it is mind boggling to think about. The first games I played on the TRS 80 Model III were just Black and White lines really and much was left to your imagination. Technology really has progressed.
Anyway I meant to write a short blog post on the history of flight pro sim games but I got a little carried away (My wife knows I tend to do that)! Well in my next post I will write my Pro Flight Simulator Review and give you all the pros and cons of the product so you can make an educated decsion about this flight simulator for the pc.
I want to give credit to Jos Grupping from http://fshistory.simflight.com were I got much of the information for my article. He has a much more detailed history there including screen pictures of the first real flight simulator games.