I have been involved with the virtual aviation industry almost from its conception. I have had the privilege in participating in many of the founding VA programs that were responsible for the propagation of one of the most unique personal and public on-line gaming experiences ever conceived from a single product. The virtual airline and those individuals who first introduced this marvelous hobby to us in the 90's not only gave recognition to Microsoft for MSFS not forgetting its beginning as a SubLogic product but the birth of an industry. All of us have benefited from the pioneers of FS add-ons. FSFW95/FS98/FS2000 much if not most was freeware. Times have changed as Microsoft upped the ante and presented us with versions FS2002 and FS2004 with the open architecture of these two products still in place we see the freeware industry brushed under the proverbial carpet and the commercial add-ons taking over. Just about any virtual aviation product you can conceive of is available. One particular add-ons still eludes us, that is to say it is not commercially available, it's expensive to build and from what I have seen with the exception of a couple product manufacturers whose products components are too rich for the average simmer's blood leaves this to individuals and their creativity. I'm referring to the Full Motion Flight Deck. I have spent the better part of four months researching the FMFD as an add-on to MSFS and found very little that excites me. Products that do excite me are those offered by Project Magenta, GoFlight and Precision Flight Controls, Inc. PFC and GoFlight, you will have to dig real deep and as functional as these products appear the hardware reassembles something very generic, If you're looking for Boeing, Airbus, etc., you're not going to find it. After a lot of research as I mentioned I came away disappointed. If you were to gather all the components from the various product venders including cockpit shells which are available, motion platform and numerous computer components, etc., etc., this project will cost you thousands of dollars. Here is a link to the most spectacular home built cockpit (B747-400) I have seen anywhere on the web and I can't give you a dollar amount, but I'm sure time and money is in the thousands.
I am announcing the formation of a real world company based in New Jersey (Shore area) NorStar Virtual Aviation Products, Inc. coming in June/July of 2004. It will comprise of a showroom (with an airport theme) NorStar will handle flightsim products A ~ Z exclusive, That is to say if it is not FS related you won't find it. And a manufacturing facility where we will build a commercially available Full Motion Flight Deck NS-FMFD. I chose to concentrate on a single product at this time the A320-200, with its fly by wire technology. Most important you won't need to mortgage the house or sell the boat.
NorStar Virtual Aviation Products, Inc.