History of the FSweekend
Flight simulation in the Netherlands started in the eighties. With a complete other scene as it comes to computers as there is now. And without Internet.
The program Flightsimulator had been released for the Tandy, Apple II and a couple of other predeseccors of the PC. Some dots on a screen; that was all it was. Some time later Flightsimulator came out for the PC, Commodore and several other home computers. The PC came without Windows, had no mouse and Flightsimulator was based on MS-Dos.
Soon after that Flightsimulator was released for Atari ST. A rather revolutionary design as this computer was just like the Apple (it was essentially a clone of the Apple), equipt with a mouse and Windows and was reasonably affordable.
In Amsterdam a few Atari pilots, including myself, started to come into contact with each other and started meeting up. I got to know Mathijs Kok, who turned out to be empoyed at the same company as I was. He had been busy with some friends to perform flights (legs) together for some time. Those first years this took place in Mathijs Kok’s own home. He also came up with the name FsFan.
Mathijs would conjure up flightplans for us with a storyline which we performed ‘standalone’. We were grouped around his large table in his living with around 6 people at a time. Mathijs was rather strict and we really had to give our best. It was no game. All navigating was done by hand so it was hard work.
Think about it: network flying didn’t exist yet and nobody knew of Internet at the time. It was possible to join two Atari’s with a RS232 cable so joint flights could be made. Unfortunately that often fell apart: jumping aircraft and faltering connections…
The group of Atari pilots grew larger and from around the country they irregularly came together. More PC pilots joined FsFan. Mathijs moved to a beautiful yet small house in the centre of Amsterdam. It wasn’t easy to fit everyone in but it was a nice time and Mathijs a great host.
Next to flying legs which Mathijs put together for us, Mathijs thought up the plan to do an Interstate Race as well. This took place in his house too.
The firts Interstate Race was held in August 1991 and was won by the Red Team in which I was a member. 2 teams had entered and the race lasted 13 hours. All members flew 1 or 2 legs. I had a difficult landing in one of the last legs. The Captain of our team had overlooked this complicated landing en since I was far from the best teammember, it gave a lot of pressure with the whole team breathing down my neck. With loads of sweat in my hands I was able to land the aircraft safely. The team breathed in a relieved fshion and one of the other members took the last leg and Red Team was victorious. Mathijs and several others were in charge of the flight control centre and checked us out whether we followed the strict flight- and navigation rules. Crossing those lines meant demerits for the team.
In the mean time FsFan had become a standard within The Netherlands and abroad and Mathijs founded a bulletinboard. One could log on with a modem on the telephone line. Internet still didn’t exist, at least not via providers. Throughout the country and abroad board information was being exchanged through this bulletin. The bulletin board was in constant overload, often hours on end with a modem on standby on the telephone lines to recieve data. Pioneers of those times remember the beeps the modems produced during calling and connecting with the bulletin board.
In those days more FsFan groups emerged within the country and abroad to fly legs together. FsFan Voorschoten started back then and is still active today. Join them on their website for a look.
Those that hadn’t yet, had by now switched from Atari to PC with Flightsimulator. Developments of software and hardware were quick as lightning. Every two years a new version of Flightsimulator and new and faster processors and videocards were released on the market.
After 1991 a few more Interstate Races were held, now in the former Aviodome on Schiphol, where an audience could follow the proceedings. Following those races in the Aviodome, the plans arose within the circle of friends of the Aviodome and various clubs, to organise a day for those interested and of course Flightsim enthusiastics. This first ‘Flightsim’ simulator day in the Aviodome, still modest at the time, was held on October 4th 1998 but was well attended.
October 1999 saw a grander approach and a two-day event was born in cooperation with several large Flightsim clubs in the Netherlands. One of which was the club DFSO who performed a very nice Flightsim show. They had worked on it with all hands and for months and it was flawless. All new techniques that were available at the time for Flightsimulator were being used and displayed and it was a large succes.
Up until October 2002 these Flight simulator weekends were held with great succes at the Aviodom at Schiphol. Unfortunately Schiphol needed the space for the airport and Aviodome had to disappear. Instead the current Aviodrome in Lelystand was build. This way we could continue with organising the Flightsim weekends.
In consultation with all clubs conserned I took organisation on me and October 2004 was the time for the first edition. I came up with the name FSweekend as it is an exclusive name and it still is: google FSweekend if you like.
The website ‘FSweekend’ was build for visitors to find general info of participating clubs. As of now this new site is released with more info and in Dutch as wel as in English.
Rob the Vries, of simFlight.nl, has always been and still is of major influence as to the PR of the FSweekends. All reports he made of the weekends are still to be found of our website. Also the website of Jos Grupping is to be recommended. Several links are down unfortunately but a good insight is to be had of the development of the Flightsimulator: http://fshistory.simflight.com/
Just als FsFan, the FSweekend is not an official club, organisation, assosiation or foundation. Instead the FSweekend is supported by the entire Flightsim community in The Netherlands.
Organisation is in consultation with Aviodrome which hosts the FSweekend. I myself conduct communications between Aviodrome and the Flightsimclubs and organise in cooperation with all participants the facilities needed for the FSweekend.
Tot op heden zijn de FSweekenden een groot succes geweest voor de Flightsimmers uit binnen- en buitenland.
As of yet the FSweekends have been a great succes for Flightsimmers within The Netherlands and abroad.