Team Travels 

Famous Travels by the Team

MVP Summit 2008!
Read the thrill-a-minute recounting of what happens when people come to see us!

"Use the Hat Switch, Your Highness!"
Hal Bryan rambles endlessly about a recent Royal visit.

Hearing Voices

About Team Travels

MVP Most Valuable Professionals

ATC at AirVenture

Mike Singer, our intrepid Enthusiast Evangelist, is over at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, this week, and is blogging at Information Mike. He's just posted a great article about the air traffic control at Fisk.

To get an idea of what the air traffic controllers do at Fisk during AirVenture, here's just a sample from Mike's recent post:

The controllers at Fisk normally work in a variety of facilities around the mid-west, and you can tell that they're pros at what they do. The work environment at Fisk is a bit of a change for them though: sitting at a folding table in shorts, identifying airplanes solely with their eyes, binoculars, and requests for particular aircraft to rock their wings. While we were observing, about 100 aircraft per hour were passing by overhead.

In addition to his detailed description and photos, Mike has posted some audio from the control "tower" (actually a trailer) at Fisk.

You'll find the ATC post and additional updates from Oshkosh at Information Mike. Hal Bryan is also blogging at Coincidental Floss. If you missed Mike's article about AirVenture, it's here.

Welcome Jon Masterson!

We're happy to announce a new recipient of the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the Flight Simulator category, Jon Masterson!

From his profile:

Working in the IT industry for many years, my last corporate position was as Sales Director for a large multi-national IT Services Company. I have developed software since the early days of Personal Computers and latterly with Microsoft dotNET and C#. My interests center around Microsoft Flight Simulator and scenery design and development in particular. I am active in supporting the community on many forums and write utilities to help the community to enhance their Flight Sim experience.

Our congratulations and thanks to Jon and all of the rest of our MVPs!

Multiple Threads, No Waiting*

Not many people realize that the release of our Service Packs for FSX repesented the culmination of six months' work as part of a collaborative engineering agreement with Intel. Thanks to an article by Gamasutra's Lee Purcell, you can read all about it.

As our own Phil Taylor says in this quote from the article:

"The latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator X Service Pack 2 (SP2) is a great match for the extreme multi-core processing delivered by the new 45nm Intel Core2 Extreme processors. Flight Simulator X SP2 greatly increases multicore utilization and will scale as more threads are available leading to reduced load times as well as frame rate improvements and great visual complexity during flight. The Flight Simulator team at Microsoft is pleased to work with Intel to provide our end users with a great gaming experience."

For the whole story, be sure to check out the rest of the article!

Sponsored Feature: Microsoft Flight Simulator X SOARS to New Heights With Mullt-Threading

*- Okay, well ... a lot less waiting anyway!

Are We Missing any Airports?

Believe it or don't, even with nearly 25,000 airports in Flight Simulator X, we do occasionally get reports of one we missed. It's a big planet, after all! Anyway, our lead Designer Paul Lange posted a request on his blog the other day looking for details about airports that somehow or other didn't make it in to FSX. Read his post for more information, and remember ... he asked for it!

Making it all Worthwhile

A friend of ours sent us a link to an article in the Grand Traverse Herald out of Traverse City, Michigan that we wanted to call out here. The story is about Kevin Query, an 8th grader at a local Junior High School, who volunteers at the Munson Medical Center's Infusion clinic, spending time with cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

It seems that Kevin aspires to be an airline pilot, so when he visits the clinic, he brings his father's laptop loaded with Flight Simulator. From there, playing copilot and flight instructor, Kevin gives patients of all ages a chance to fly all over the virtual world. We'll be following up with Kevin to see if there's anything we can do to lend a hand, but, in the meantime our hats are off to a teenager who could teach us all a thing or two.

Read the full article.

New Flight Simulator X in-game home page

We're really excited to announce the new Flight Simulator X in-game home page.

You'll see it every time you click the Home button inside the Flight Simulator X game "shell."

The new in-game home page shows you articles and headlines from the live FSInsider site. In addition, if there are new service packs or other important information that could help you get the most out of Flight Simulator, we'll be able to tell you about them right there in the game shell.

Any time you click a link in the in-game home page, you'll come to the full article right here in FSInsider, in a new browser window.


Taught Me How to Gamble, and How to Roll the Dice

The dust is settled from the launch of Acceleration, things are winding down on Service Pack 2, and we're making some big behind-the-scenes changes on the Web site so that we can hit the ground running next month after a short holiday break.

P-51 Miss America at RenoOne of the biggest projects in the past few months was showing Acceleration just before release at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. It was a long trip, with a lot of hard work, but it paid off, and we had a great time.

Check out Hal's write-up on Reno—the latest in his "Thrilling Cities" trip report series—on his blog. It took me a while to get this posted here, but not nearly as long as it took him to write it. Like the saying goes, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Anyway, I thought it was worth the wait—hopefully you will, too.

The Adventures of AirVenture

Doing a show like AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, is kind of like moving into a new house. For some period of time before the event, everything else moves into second place - it just has to wait until after the big thing is done.

Well, another Oshkosh is done, and we're all starting to wake up and go after the things that piled up because of it ... Like the song says, we ain't foolin' around, cause we done had our fun!

The show was a great success for us, and as you can see from the comments by EAA president Tom Poberezny, we weren't the only ones who enjoyed it:

"After seeing the tremendous week of activity at EAA AirVenture 2007, I believe we can use the term 'the best ever' in describing this year's event. The number of aviation innovations and introductions we saw at Oshkosh were unprecedented, and there was a very positive feeling among pilots and aviation enthusiasts. In addition, exhibitors throughout the grounds noted strong interest and, in some cases, record sales."

Attendance: Estimated 560,000 - Increase of about 3.2 percent from 2006

Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft (and Hal saw them all ...) arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.

Total showplanes: 2,647. That figure includes 985 homebuilt aircraft, 1,014 vintage airplanes, 365 warbirds, 136 ultralights, 117 seaplanes and 30 rotorcraft.

Commercial exhibitors: 784

International visitors registered: Approximately 1,700 from 60 nations. (NOTE: This total includes only non-U.S. visitors who register at the International Visitors Tent, so the actual international contingent is undoubtedly larger.)

Total estimated campers (Camp Scholler drive-in camping area): More than 38,000.

Media: 887 media representatives on-site, from six continents.

Portable Toilets: 1180 (and 10,600 rolls of toilet paper!)

Hal Bryan, Abby Lin, Brandon Seltz, Brent Conklin, and Mike Lambert and I came from the "home office" in Redmond, and we offer special thanks to Dan Sallee, Justin Lamb, Katy Pluta, Leon Provencher, Matt Gamboa, Owen Hewitt, Roy McMillion, and Will Allen for volunteering their time to help staff our booth.

Special thanks to our friends at EAA, including Sue Christensen, Jeff Kaufman, Heidi Plato, and Jan Streblow. Thanks also to the long-suffering-but-always-helpful Jason at the Super 8 who managed to stay sane in spite of the best efforts of the Microsoft team to defeat him in a game of motel-Tetris.

A few of our attendees even found time to do some blogging while they were there - for a few stories and some photos, check out what they had to say:





Rolling out the 787

On July 8th (7-8-07) Boeing rolled out their new 787 passenger jet. Hal Bryan and I were lucky enough to be amongst those invited to the big event at Paine Field up in Everett, Washington.

"It was a strange thing to be led along a red carpet through the largest building in the world," writes Hal. "Especially as we were ushered past thousands of people who had actually built the airplane we came to see."

This--and more--in Hal's blog entry about the big event.

In the Studio

David Henry and Mike Singer recently flew down to Los Angeles to record voiceover audio for the missions in our upcoming expansion pack. Luckily they were involved in the recording, not the voicing (although they did apparently sneak into the booth at one point to record a new hit single, as caught on film, below).

Read Mike's trip report.

There She Is ...

Miss America, that is, and looking awfully good for someone in her 60's!

Our Lead Game Designer Paul Lange went to Oklahoma to take some pictures of an airplane, and ended up not only going for the ride of a lifetime, but getting to fly as well!

Apparently, Lange is Celtic for "Lucky $%*$(!!".

Anyway ... be sure to read about it in his blog, if you haven't already.

World Flight Adventure

A few weeks ago Mike Singer went to Miami to watch 23-year old Barrington Irving take off on his around-the-world flight. We've been working with Barrington as an offic1al sponsor of his trip, so Mike wanted to be there for the launch event.

"Watching Barrington take off into the late-morning sky," Mike writes, "watching him make several low passes in the fastest certified single-engine piston plane in the world, watching him finally leap into the sky and turn north as thousands of kids watched--this was without a doubt one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen."

You can read more on Mike's blog.

The One In the Sun

Never ones to refuse a trip south during the lingering days of a Seattle winter, Hal Bryan, Mike Singer, and I recently flew to San Diego to attend the Mutual Concerns of Air & Space Museums seminar. This year's event gathered together movers and shakers from air and space museums all over the world.

When airplane fanatics get together the lines between work and play blur a bit, but the trip wasn't all fun and games (although rumor has it Hal and Mike made a quick side trip to Sea World, apparently justified by taking a picture of the Mission Bay VOR while everyone else was looking at the fish).

Hal did a great write-up of the trip, which he turned into this article.

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