REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 1, 1999 — Throughout its 17-year history, Microsoft Flight Simulator has kept pace with technology to offer the most realistic flight experience available on a PC. Microsoft today announced that this venerable simulation game has received the most comprehensive update in its history, adding more aircraft and scenery, as well as innovative new features that make Flight Simulator realistic enough to be used as a complement to formal flight training.
For advanced pilots, Flight Simulator 2000 offers several new aircraft — including the Concorde and the Boeing 777-300 — as well as a global positioning system (GPS), and the Jeppesen Sanderson NavData database of navigation and airport information. The product also features a real-world weather system, allowing actual weather information to be downloaded from the Internet and incorporated into the simulation.
For sightseers, 40 cities around the world are rendered in unprecedented 3-D detail, including London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Users can take off or land nearly anywhere in the world — the program supports over 21,000 different airports worldwide.
Throughout its development, Flight Simulator has become more than just a game — the simulation has become so realistic that many users have trained themselves on basic flight tasks and techniques using the program. For example, Navy ensign Herb Lacy logged nearly 50 hours at home using a modified copy of Flight Simulator 98 in preparation for his flight training. When he finally took to the skies for his training, he gave such an outstanding performance that the Navy is now evaluating the product for use in its formal pilot training programs.
“As the product became more realistic, it evolved into an effective training tool,” said Microsoft product planner Bruce Williams, a pilot and flight instructor who was inspired to fly by playing the game. “Many members of our team are also pilots, and we’ve used Flight Simulator to learn new skills and practice existing ones. Users have done the same over the years.”
“Flight Simulator 2000 raises the bar again, and the leaders in the world of aviation see its potential as a mechanism for attracting new people to aviation and for helping pilots stay proficient,” Williams said.
To make Flight Simulator 2000 as realistic as possible, Microsoft worked directly with aircraft manufacturers, pilot organizations, respected flight instructors, aeronautical engineers and other leaders in aviation. Cessna, Bell Helicopter, British Airways and other manufacturers contributed technical assistance to render realistic aircraft. Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc. provided a rich database of airport information, as well as hourly weather feeds from airports around the globe — the same data used in airliners, corporate aircraft and GPS systems. Flight Simulator 2000 also features personal instruction programs from top aviation personalities, including John and Martha King of King Schools, Rod Machado and Patty Wagstaff, who contributed to the expanded pilot’s manual and instructional video.
For the first time, Flight Simulator 2000 will be offered in two different versions — a Standard edition for general use and a more realistic Professional edition, designed for advanced pilots and aviation students. The pilot’s handbook and online help also feature articles, photos and other materials from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s vast archive, bringing the world of aviation closer to enthusiasts. Users can also join AOPA, which entitles them to receive the AOPA Flight Training Magazine and gain access to other information and services.