(First-time poster, long-time reader…!)
I’ve been a big fan of flight simulators, from my very first simulator on the ZX81, over 35 years ago. Even though it was in black and white, and used ASCII characters to create the cockpit, I remember being completely immersed in the game.
Thanks to the necessity for me to have an Apple computer (firstly an Apple IIe, then a 512KE Mac) whilst studying Engineering at University, my sim experiences were very limited. I had MS Flight Simulator for Mac - which was groundbreaking compared to my ZX81 - but nothing in the league of what PC owners had. Eventually, Microsoft ceased production on their Mac version after 4.0, and the divide widened. FS95 graduated to FS98, then FS2004, and then FSX and P3D - but all on the PC.
Then, X-Plane came along. Finally, a flight simulator which could satisfy the needs of Mac simmers everywhere. And although initially the scenery wasn’t nearly as varied as FSX, the flight model was superb. Soon enough, a very strong community was born on http://www.x-plane.org
- with contributors submitting amazing aircraft and accurate scenery to populate the sparse landscape.
Fast forward a number of years, and I still have a Mac. And I still have X-Plane. Now at Version 10.45, it’s matured into a completely new and revolutionary simulator. And, with some very skilled programmers within the community, it’s now possible to convert FSX scenery to X-Plane (with permission, of course!). Added to this, accurate topography, overlayed with orthographic photos and OSM data actually creates a level of realism which is quite simply incredible. Funnily enough, I’ve succumbed to building a Quad-Core i7 PC for my son, who wants to be a pilot. It just so happens that X-Plane works much faster on a PC than a Mac!
I’ve not intended this to be an advert for X-Plane, but I think it’s had a bit of a bad press over the years from a lot of dedicated FSX/P3D fans, and hasn’t had the exposure it deserves. I really understand those so passionate about the sim, and I totally respect that. I do feel that there’s more than enough room for every simulation, though. Competition breeds success, and a continuing drive for realism and complete immersion. If you do get the chance, please take a look at what it can offer now - there’s some great links on YouTube (search for World2XPlane and Ortho4XP as two great add-ons for the sim).
Why am I posting on this site? Well, I’m an ex-pat New Zealander who has been living in the UK for many years. And yes, I do find myself missing my homeland. And even though X-Plane does have some great NZ scenery and aircraft, it’s missing some of the magical places that only FSX/P3D have available. And I really do hope that changes soon.
Companies such as Aerosoft, Virtavia and Carenado have made huge commitments to the simulator by making some amazing additions, and even I’m playing my part and have created an A-4K Kahu Skyhawk
for X-Plane 10 (see attached image).
What can we do? Well - for starters, I would love to see a dedicated area for NZ X-Plane users to connect on the NZFF website. And ultimately, this will undoubtedly give us a launchpad needed to encourage each other, and to collaborate on some great projects.
I know that together we can make a difference.
Thanks for reading - and I really look forward to hearing from you all.