FSWeekend Day 2

After a nice taxi ride with a very friendly driver that also acted as a tour guide we arrived at the Aviodrome right on time and I was greeted by Franz who organizes FSWeekend. Franz is a hardcore FS enthusiast, cockpit builder and on-line pilot with his club of dedicated simmers. He walked me through the entire show which took at least 90 minutes, and he walks pretty fast. While on the tour I met several significant contributors from the Dutch FS community, and certainly folks that have had a great impact on FS worldwide.

Frankly I was blown away by what these dedicated users have done and are doing. The home cockpits I saw are amazing, the commercially built cockpits are equally amazing and very professionally built, and the passion shown by these guys was incredible! I was also really impressed by the custom scenery for FS2004 that was on display and the flying skills and aviation knowledge from this bunch. Holland is a fairly small country, but if what I saw today is any indication, they are very into FS and making great stuff. I was so busy talking to people and taking it all in that I didn't use the camera I had strapped to my shoulder. I falsely thought I would come back later in the day and get some shots, but I was busy with presentations and interviews all day. By the time I was ready to do it everyone was packing up. I'm sure the FSWeekend website will have coverage for you to check out. One of the coolest cockpits I saw was an F-104 cockit using real F-104 components and a projector (beamer in Dutch terms) with the Captain Sim F-104 running. I'm a fan of this aircraft and seeing the cockpit along with the sim was very cool. When I touched the side of the cockpit to take a peek inside, it was vibrating with the sound of the engine, which just added to the overall feeling and immersion.

Before I go on, I must say I am absolutely terrible with names. I will be introduced to someone and literally forget their name within five minutes. I really have to consciously work at it to avoid the resulting embarrasement... While at the show I met several people that I had corresponded with on forums, this blog, the beta forums, or when working with developers. It was nice to shake their hand and put a face to their names. Although I'm sure I will leave out some important people (please forgive me!) I was pleased to see Francois at FSaddon, Arno one of our MVPs, Jos Grupping (runs the Flight Simulator History website and a very interesting guy), the team at IVAO, Mathijs and William at Aerosoft, Franz, and a bunch of other great people in the community (I should include links to their websites and such, but I don't want to be unfair to those that I have invariably missed). It really is humbling to meet and talk to people that have been so dedicated to this hobby. We make the software and enable much of this community to do the work, but it's these guys and people like them that do the hard work to take FS to the next level and truly make it a phenomenon. I sincerely believe we would not be where we are today without the community and this effort.

I did two more very well attended presentations. Considering I have no prepared script and I'm not a particularly good actor or front man, I think they went very well (and each subsequent one was better than the last). I think people appreciated my honesty and transperancy for where we are and the issues we have. I even managed to land the Cub on the School bus in the Loopy Larry mission while flying with the Xbox 360 controller in one hand, a microphone in the other hand (while periodically talking into it) all while standing way to close to and at a wierd angle to a screen that was about 50 ft wide! I was kind of proud of myself and I think the attendees were enjoying it as well. I couldn't really say much more than what is said in blog posts or on forums, but the personal connection makes a huge difference. Just like yesterday, people asked tough questions and I stood there and answered them to the best of my ability. I don't think many (if any) walked away disappointed, and if nothing else they should now know that I am listening and we as a team are working on the issues at hand.

Lastly a big thankyou to Mischa and Susan for guiding me through the weekend and making my stay very pleasant. Now if only I had two weeks to see the sights in Amsterdam! Although honestly I don't think I could stay away from my daughter and wife that long...

Tomorrow morning I head back to London where I will stay the night and then on Tuesday I get to spend a day at an RAF base doing some "research." Poor me... :) Which airbase exactly and what exactly I am doing there will have to remain a mystery.