20 – What are some of the things you dislike in the AVSIM community, what do you wish would change, and what do you enjoy?
The AVSIM community today consists of over 152,000 members. That community writ large is a great positive force in our hobby. Our community is visited and listened to by every commercial provider and freeware contributor in the hobby (whether they want to admit it or not). I can’t possibly dislike anything about our community. It really comes down to individuals, not only in AVSIM, but in our hobby world-wide, that sometimes set my teeth on edge, so to speak.
I dislike the myth creators and perpetrators and those that have less than positive agendas when it comes to AVSIM. We have seen these “poison dwarfs” throughout our 18 year history. Some of the myths that have been created and perpetrated over the years:
AVSIM was founded by a company intent on taking over the world of flight simulation. What company? The one I worked for at the time of AVSIM’s founding? A marine electronics company? What interest would they have had in taking over the world of flight simulation? I really had to laugh at that one.
Tom Allensworth is getting rich from owning and running AVSIM. Really? I have never taken a cent from AVSIM other than to pay expenses for travel and lodging on behalf of AVSIM and its community. It is part of my hobby! In November of 2012, the Board of Directors voted to allow me to take a monthly “salary” from AVSIM, but that has never happened. I am a retired Director of a major U.S. company with a comfortable retirement income. I choose to turn all of AVSIM’s revenue into funds that pay the expenses of bandwidth, hardware, technical consultants, software acquisition and licensing fees. I do not need an additional income. Despite the facts, there are some out there that insist they know the “truth”. There was a guy out in Colorado that actually put together some wild assumptions about our revenue from advertising and donations and concluded that AVSIM was a very large income earner, as in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I wished! I can state without hesitation that nothing can be further from the truth. Our monthly income today is less than our expenses. I wished we had the revenue that some of these folks accuse us of having. To prove that to yourself, just take a look at the Donations Tracker at the top menu to the right.
Tom Allensworth is a bully. Why? Because the staff and I won’t tolerate your entitled self and your self-described “right” to do as you please on AVSIM? If so, then we are guilty as charged. I just love it when someone spouts off about “Freedom of Speech” and our response when we correct those that really believe they can say anything, at any time, to anyone. Interestingly enough is that often those who accuse us of violating THEIR freedom of speech are those that come from countries that don’t have freedom of speech at all or it is very limited. Again, simply read our Terms of Service.
We are unfriendly to commercial entities in our hobby. Really? Tell that to the dozens of commercial entities that have their support forums on AVSIM. If you mean that we won’t allow you to deceive, mislead or otherwise squash criticism of your products on the AVSIM forums, then again, we are guilty as charged. I should publish someday the emails I and our team have received from some companies in regard to our handling of complaints about posts on AVSIM about their products. On one hand we are accused of denying freedom of speech and on the other, we are being told to deny freedom of speech.
And the list goes on.
The one thing that I would like to impress upon readers of this interview is that if you see or hear a rumor about AVSIM, before swallowing it whole, post a message in the forums and ask us about that rumor. We try to be as transparent as we can be, and if appropriate, we’ll provide candid facts rather than rumour in response.
21 – If you moved back in time to 1997…would you do it all again?
22 –What does the family think of AVSIM?
I alluded to my “second best decision” in life earlier. My best decision in my life has been to marry my wife of now 24 years, Denise. She has been a rock for me and has suffered many lonely hours allowing me to work and support the health and wellbeing of AVSIM. The AVSIM community owes her far more than I could begin to describe. If anyone deserves to be paid by AVSIM, it is Denise.
23 - Where to now for Tom Allensworth?
As I said about Dale, the retired Marine Corps Colonel in the Peace Corps, the answer is simple; keep on keeping on. 18 years of my life (and those of many of our volunteers) are vested in this thing we call AVSIM. I suspect that they will have to pry the IP Board code from my cold dead hands…
So there you have it, the man behind the name, behind the Avsim pages and behind its name. The man behind the side of the hobby you enjoy. Is he right? wrong? I personally don't care, I am just glad he did what he did, glad he fought to bring back a website that serves so many people's hobby needs throughout the world, glad he got back up when everything seemed lost, and glad he provides with an outlet for my virtual aviation needs. The cost is....several hours of his retirement, and 100% of his passion.