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Confessions of a Flight Sim addict. (page one)
- Peter Liddell (12.16.04)

     I don't know where it started, or when. It seemed so simple, flying my little Cessna around Chicago and it's wire frame buildings. Seems like only yesterday I was happily using the keyboard to fly the original Flight Simulator on our old 286. But it was almost 20 years ago now... 20 years of addiction.

     My name is Peter, and I’m a flight simulation addict. I flew that Cessna for 8 years... finally upgrading to Flight Simulator 4 with our new 386 computer in 1992. That’s when everything went wrong... I got aircraft and scenery designer fever. That started so simply... I thought the color of the default road was too brown, so I edited it. Then I found an aircraft disk with a 747 on it, bought that, but the paint schemes all looked bad, so I fixed them.

     1995, 486DX2, Flight Simulator 5 and internet connection. Compuserve was such a source back then in my weekly hour of surfing over a long distance dialup connection. I started hearing about these things called "Virtual Airlines". More I learned, more I wanted to join one, so I did, Epsilon Airways International. Sure the only flights were on the Learjet, but it was fun to actually compete with others for hours logged. ORD-BOS-SFO-MDW-MIA-SXM-ORD, done in 1 day (at 4x speed obviously) didn't seem like a long day even. Flight Simulator 5 seemed to be the epitome of flight simulation. Then along came Flight Simulator Flight Shop. I don't know how or where it started, but it started a landslide. Downloading aircraft after aircraft... I filled up our 2GB hard disk in only a couple months.

     Then along came Flight Simulator 98. Now this was getting serious! Epsilon wasn't holding my interest anymore, the Lear was becoming boring. So I resigned, and started looking for a new VA. I joined a couple, but neither of them really held my interest long. About this time I started using the Microsoft Gaming Zone (now MSN Zone). Here I met a fellow who was giving his VA away. Not knowing what I was getting into, I told him I would take it over. After giving it a quick rename, I went looking for some help. Well turned out people weren’t going to be satisfied flying the default 737-400 for long. I searched high and low for anyone with the skills I needed, alas I found no one interested. Then I met a nice fellow named Chris who offered to take over my VA and make me VP of his. He had aircraft and a great website, so it seemed like a good idea. The VA was called Destiny, and before long I was the top pilot. Chris asked me to write a schedule, and I did so, though the eventual size really overwhelmed me.

     Destiny lasted nearly as year, but then Chris gave it up. He was attending university and had no time. One of the other pilots, Adam Carlson approached me to write a schedule for his new VA. I agreed, though I told him the name he chose needed work. We decided eventually to call it Clipper Airways. I ended up writing a 2000 flight schedule, which went over amazingly well. Clipper picked up 25 pilots nearly overnight, and with the painted fleet coming online, we were well on course. However with half the fleet done, our painter vanished from the internet. After over 2 weeks of looking for a replacement, I finally decided to try painting myself, figuring it couldn't be THAT hard. Amazingly it wasn’t hard at all once I started. I painted a 757 right off the bat, finished it in under an hour. I also managed to log over 1000 hours of VA flight time by the end of 2000.

     Around this time I ran into a rather interesting fellow on the Zone. His name was Perrin Arno, and he was an Eastern Airlines fanatic. He was working on a VA based on Eastern. Perrin came across as a nice guy, and I thought to myself if Clipper ever died I had a good fallback. A few months later I befriended another guy, Daniel Ulvinen, whom I’d had an ill-advised on-air debate with on the VANF weekly show in late 1999. Dan was running an airline called Jetstream, and told me if I ever quit Clipper, I was welcome to join it.


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No portion of this website may be reproduced or duplicated without the prior written consent of Virtual Eastern Airlines
All logos and trademarks are the property of Eastern Air Lines, Inc.
2002 Virtual Eastern Airlines