Leen3131cs

Whats the average age of our community?

Whats your age?   

508 members have voted

  1. 1. Whats your age, I would like to know the average age of this community

    • 1-10 years
      0
    • 11-20 years
      16
    • 21-30 years
      45
    • 31-40 years
      92
    • 41-50 years
      88
    • 51-60 years
      113
    • 61-70 years
      96
    • 71-80 years
      45
    • 81-90 years
      10
    • 91-100 years
      1
    • older
      2


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A  question I really would like to have an answer to.

On the DutchFS forum in The Netherlands we have a dicussion about the age of the average flightsimmer.
Why?

We wonder, why there is less youth visiting sim-events in The Netherlands , year by year.

I estimate 75% of the sim-community to be 55+ years old in The Netherlands.

I wonder how is the situation here , on this more international forum.



Leen de Jager

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Well, here is one attempt for an answer: when I grew up, pilots were heroes who handled seriously complicated machines with hundreds of switches in difficult situations. Flying was still prestigious and exciting, even for a passenger. Pilots earned a good salary and were surrounded by flight attendants who had a glamorous job as well. Think of the movie "Catch me if you can".

If one grows up today, most airplanes are automated and much of a pilot's job is sitting around and "feed the dog" (if you know that joke about fly-by-wire). Flying has become a bit like cattle herding and there is nothing glamorous about the job anymore. Salaries are low unless you fly long haul. I know a pilot who flies an A320  for a Dutch company and has to live with his parents because he can't afford an apartment.

I still love flying, and I am sure that some younger people share the fascination. However, you really have to be drawn to this hobby. To be frank, I have a hard time explaining to our kids why I would simulate flying a modern jetliner. They get much more interested when I fly a DC-8 or a Connie.

Peter 

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In the US, I think the long-term outlook is abysmal...

"Over the past 20 years, more than 250 public-use airports have closed, leaving the total around 5,100, according to federal statistics. The number of licensed private pilots has dropped by more than 30 percent in that period, industry data shows."  While the remaining number seems massive, lets not forget how large of an area that covers.  I see favorites that I frequented often not being there any longer.  

“We’re getting gray hair or we have no hair at all, and if we have nobody to pass this on to, it’s going to go away,” said Jim O’Brien, 64, whose Jurupa Valley-based chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association put on two events in September for prospective pilots.

Add to that the record low numbers of retired military pilots pursuing commercial work in the airline industry, it appears to be a growth industry (cattle cars in the sky), with nobody to drive them.  Will be interesting to see how that unfolds over time.  

With real estate being more valuable for homes and office space than for general aviation, what we knew in the US as good times for GA has long passed.  Even with my gray hair, I try to keep the interest alive, like I'm sure everyone else here does that has a real world relationship to flying.

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Interseting 1.18% are over 100 🙂

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2 hours ago, ZKOKQ said:

Interseting 1.18% are over 100 🙂

I thought so too 😊

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, qqwertzde said:

Well, here is one attempt for an answer: when I grew up, pilots were heroes who handled seriously complicated machines with hundreds of switches in difficult situations. Flying was still prestigious and exciting, even for a passenger. Pilots earned a good salary and were surrounded by flight attendants who had a glamorous job as well. T

Certainly a reason, but I don't think that covers it all. As a kid, you don't think about pilots salaries or pilots reputation. When I was 10 years old, I was standing on the fence near the local railway station or airport. With a "find out how things work" attitude. Today you won't see any kid there. I don't want to generalize, but today many young kids are sitting in front of a keyboard or smartphone doing multiplayer games or watching ESports tournaments or whatever.  More passively consuming things than actively doing things outside.

Must not be like that. I know someone with an A320 sim cockpit who occasionally has a local kids group in the cockpit or does kids days. The kids actively learn what flying airplanes is all about, while sitting in the left seat. Learn about teamwork and how things work. All of them, they are on fire regarding Airliner flying. I'm currently building a cockpit myself and plan to do something similar.

To summarize : I think it's also on us 'old blokes' to get them involved.

Mike

Edited by mikealpha
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Interesting question. As far as I can see we are a pretty mature community,😀

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Posted (edited)

Most have addressed the issue from the "real world flying" perspective.  I'm gonna take a different approach.

I've done IT professionally on "real" computers since the earliest days of "home computers".  Back in the days of when (if) you had a desktop computer sitting on your desk, if it was in a "work environment", there was an IT shop who basically DICTATED what the end user could/couldn't do with the computer.  Software and hardware updates and things like security (anti-virus, firewalls, SYSTEM MAINTENANCE, etc) were done in the background for the end user...whether the end-user wanted it or liked it themselves.  The end-user could remain fat, dumb, happy (and uneducated about the technology) and still have a computer that functioned the way it was designed to function. I made a very good living providing that service for them.

Then came "home computers".  The end-user did not have the spoon-feeding IT support structure to "save them" from things like not using good security practices, refusing to do updates, keeping their OWN computer "clean" instead of bloated with bloatware, spyware, malware, and enough background applications running all at the same time to choke a pony.  Software developers TRIED to do those things for them, but the end-user "knew better" than to install "The Update to the Operating System", because "The Update Makes My Computer Run Poorly Now!!!"

Look at the statistics in the survey so far.  The "gap" seriously starts at the 30-years old and younger age group.  This is the "instant gratification" dividing line, where "consoles" and hand-held "gaming" platforms took hold.  Who needs a home computer for "games" when you can have a Nintendo or an X-Box that you can "play" with no end-user "computer knowledge" required?  Or more recently in the past 10 - 15 years, Smart Phones that will do almost everything you NEEDED a desktop computer for in the past?

Our flight sim communities are mainly composed of the pre-console generation.  We used home computers when they first came out.  But many, many of those home computer users never took the time to become fully educated about how to maintain their own computers, and we see that every day in these forums.  The flight simulator software released today is not designed to be run on 5, 6, 7, and 8-year old computers.  But way too many of our own don't or won't or can't accept that.  Then they complain about it when the real problem is with their own lack of knowledge and understanding about the hardware and software requirements of our hobby.

And today's 20 and 30-year olds?  Heck...why buy and have to learn how to maintain a "home computer" today when I can buy a brand new $800 - $1000 iPhone every year???  Heck, I'm not gonna waste $200 JUST to buy a new and improved HARD DRIVE for a darned "home computer"!  And don't even make me THINK about the $500 cost for a new CPU or GPU.  Why, that's ridiculous!  I can buy a whole new PHONE for that EVERY YEAR!

We....the "old folks" in our flight sim community.…..are a dying breed (literally).  By the time we are all dead and buried, flight simming will be done with VR goggles plugged into a wallet sized "Smart Computer".  Or just Wi-Fi'd to a "home entertainment" system that runs on "apps" the user needs no knowledge about whatsoever.  Screw desktops...and the requirement for any end-user to become self-sufficient in learning and knowing how to maintain anything as "complicated" as a desktop computer.

Just ask my nieces who are 30 years younger than me.  "Uncle Rick!  Why do you STILL use that computer????  That's STUPID!  Just get a new iPhone and iPad every year!!!"

Time marches on...….  😂

 

 

 

Edited by FalconAF
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6 hours ago, FalconAF said:

Just ask my nieces who are 30 years younger than me.  "Uncle Rick!  Why do you STILL use that computer????  That's STUPID!  Just get a new iPhone and iPad every year!!!"

Time marches on...….  😂

 

That's a valid argument indeed. I would add that Mr. Nadella and his crew contribute in  making Windows 10 maintenance as user-unfriendly as possible. 5 GB download with a certain probability "something" not to work afterwards twice a year, obtrusive Cortana, a billboard-like start menu, the suggestion to switch to their still half-ready Edge browser, my LAN password permission reset every time etc. etc. is not everyone's coup of tea. That's one more point forcing youngsters to change to mobile devices where MS missed the target.

Kind regards, Michael

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Posted (edited)

@Michael,

And that's the problem for us "desktop flight sim users" nowadays.  Microsoft is (has already) turned my PC into a MAC clone.  Everything is Apps, Apps, Apps nowadays.  But I can't really blame them, because the "customer base" for home computer users has changed.  Apps work fine for an application that is self-contained and requires no end-user intervention or knowledge in order to use it properly and in a way it is DESIGNED and NEEDS to be used.  But an "app" doesn't work at all for a core software application that is over 4 GB installed, and THEN also uses MULTIPLE OTHER "addons" that may be as large as 70+ Gigabytes in size (think some recent scenery products, etc).  Throw in multiple "addons" like complex scenery, aircraft, weather programs, flight planners, etc, and "apps" just don't do it.  Imagine trying to get a flight simulator installation that takes up over TWO TERABYTES of hard drive space using over (quite easily) 200+ "addons" (individual airports, aircraft, scenery, etc...like my P3D installation ALONE is) and making all of that ONE "app" that the end user wouldn't have to have any reasonable education and knowledge about how it all needs to work on a "home computer". There is no "instant gratification" capability in that type of "hobby" because it can (WILL) take time and knowledge to keep it all working correctly.  But it is moving in a more "hands off" direction with things like AF2/Steam, so some "new" flight simmers DON'T need to know much at all about "computers" to do it.  Just buy the flight sim and addons, then it's "hands off!!!" for the end user.  Just let the "streaming service" install and monitor updates, etc.  All the end-user has to do is start the program and fly. Seriously, how many things do you see in AF2 that can be "tweeked" by the end user?  No need or ability to do it.

But the fact is, much of the "knowledge" passed along in flight sim forums as "true" is blatantly useless, or at worst, just flat out inaccurate.  And even though much of that knowledge is passed on unintentionally by well meaning users, it still just muddles the whole community.  Case in point?  Here's an example I posted about not long ago in a different forum area.  Users LOVE to post "I found the solution!" posts, as if whatever they did on THEIR computer should be the "Magic Bullet" for everybody else.  The PTA forums are notorious for this.  "Use this preset!  Look how good it looks on MY computer!" posted along with a forum picture post or link to a screencap the user took.  But what the poster never thinks about before doing that is that anybody who looks at that picture using their OWN computer/monitor simply isn't going to see the same colors, brightness, contrast, gamma, etc, for almost ALL of the PTA settings used. MY MONITOR's settings will NOT be the same as THEIR monitor settings to begin with.  The ONLY way to compare what someone will see on 2 different monitors is if BOTH monitors are sitting side-by-side. And even THEN the same monitor settings on the same brand monitors my not show the same results.  I've lost count of how many times I've bought 3 of the same brand monitors for a 3-wide configuration, and HAD to make different settings on them to get the same results for each of them while they were sitting side-by-side right next to each other.  

What is the biggest "joke" in our flight sim communities today?  Picture Post forums.  What a picture poster sees on THEIR monitor can/will be nowhere NEAR what a forum user sees when they look at the posted picture using THEIR monitor(s).  Invariably, you will see responses like, "Wow!  What settings are you using?"  Then the user tries those settings and ends up posting back, "No, those settings are (too dark, too bright, too much contrast, not enough contrast, too green, blue, red, hazy, not hazy enough, the clouds are too dark, too light.....add whatever "visual" you can think of...).  And the same thing happens over and over again with posts concerning things like nVidia GPU settings, and even graphics settings within the sims itself (HDR, Dynamic Lighting, shadows, etc). And don't even get me started with "magic bullet" fixes like "tweeks" and Affinity Mask stuff.  It's a miracle most flight sim users EVER get their own sims to run properly with all the useless or just blatantly wrong "fixes" posted in forums.  Add a "tweek" and fix one problem...but create 2 new problems somewhere else.

Now...imagine we all had the same iPhones and iPads (or VR headsets) using the same display screens, drivers, and apps that none of us COULD or would need to "tweek" to get them to work "correctly" and display the SAME image qualities on ALL of the "screens".  THAT is the type of thing that will be different when all of us "old geezers" drop dead and quit using "home computers" for our flight sims. The statistics in this survey show that the 30-year old and under group is already making that transition. 

And whether anybody likes it or not, so is Microsoft.  Windows 10 is an "APP" Operating System for all practical purposes.  And that's fine...it works fine IF the end-user knows HOW to make it work with their NON-APP flight simulators.

But as long as some flight sim users still insist on using a 32-bit platform to try and run 64-bit software, their flight sim experience (for the most part) is going to be no better than it was using Windows 7 and a 4 GB memory limit.  And I have no problem with that...until they come to forums and chastise developers for making software addons that "won't run right" on their outdated systems.  That's just my pet peeve with flight sim forums nowadays.  If you are still using 32-bit hardware and software flight sims, what the heck are you even doing in a 64-bit flight sim forum section?  There SHOULD be separate forums for P3D 32-bit (prior to P3Dv4) and P3Dv4 64-bit versions of the program. And if a user asks a P3Dv3 question in the P3Dv4 forum, it should be mercilessly moved to the earlier 32-bit version forum.  But forums don't seem to want to do that, for fear of upsetting the community.  Well darn.  If I owned a real 1971 Cessna 172 (which I did at one time), I sure as heck wouldn't go to the (equivalent of a) Cessna Citation "forum" to ask a question about it.  And if I did, I would expect the Cessna "moderator" to tell me to get my butt in the right place to ask about my "product".  And if a Piper owner came to the Cessna forum to praise the laurels of "their Piper product", I'd boot their butts out of the Cessna forum with no mercy (can you say XPlane posts in P3D forums?).  Heck, I don't go to XPlane forums to display my "love" for P3D.  If I did, they should throw my butt out of their forums too.  

(OK.  Sorry for the rant.  It happens when my pain meds don't work well enough to let me sleep at night).  😫    

Edited by FalconAF

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I think flying is a slower and less "exciting" thing than most games, and ppl get hooked on the dopamine hits from the games.  And I'd hate for flight sims to become more game-like, except maybe adding missions and achievements like FSW was adding.  Those were lots of fun.

Win10 and PSDv4 are super nice, I think, and easier to set up and fly in than Win7 and FSX were.  And lots of ppl my age (22) still have nice PCs, there's a whole PC vs Console competition with gamers.  So I don't think less ppl my age flying is cuz they dont have nice PCs.

I think lots and lots of ppl in my generation are used to and maybe even dependent on an environment where everything is noisy and busy and "exciting".  I noticed that in music and movies, too. 😢

There's fun younger ppl talking about and showing flight sims to younger ppl though, like The Sky Lounge, Doofer911, and Froogle. So I think there's hope still.  Plus I think that ppl making nice pix and movies and even telling stories about their flights makes it interesting to more ppl too.

And I think vendors making nicer installers helps too; like Orbx has their super nice installer, A2A made all new ones now and a nicer store, etc.  All that helps make everything smoother and less fiddly I think.

It would be interesting to see what the age ranges were like 10 or 15 years ago too. Maybe younger ppl always were a smaller share, and ppl grow into wanting to do flight sims?

-Buffy

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Wow.  At the time of my writing this a little over 46% of folks are between 50-70.   I don't need to point out that is nearly 1/2, although one needs to keep in mind not all simmers stay on top of the forums.  Most folks 30-40 are working hard in the workforce and have a young family they may be trying to support, and as such extremely pressed for time.  All the questionnaire really answers is the age distribution of the folks who read the Prepar3D AVSIM forum.

I started my interest in Flight Simulation in 1983 with Bruce Artwick's Flight Simulator II for the Commodore 64 (8 bit CPU, 1 MHZ, 64K system RAM).   Kept taking a few buck to the K-Mart layaway until I had the $200.00 computer paid off.  Mom and dad looked at it as if it were just some new toy, but I went on to get my B.S. in Computer Science and have been working as a software engineer ever since.

My son, who just graduated from college, could take or leave Flight Simulation from the very start (early age)...even though at my urging he's done a couple if ILS approaches and he's really quite good at it.  It's just far to boring compared to blowing things up I suppose.

If the remaining industry players in the field eventually peter-out in 15-20 years, I'll just freeze my setup in time so I'll always have the sims and add-ons I paid for.   Unplug it from the Internet to make sure it doesn't try to update anything that might break something else.

Mark (almost 55)

 

 

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I'm 26 and I want to be an airline pilot. I love flying and everything about it. I've been loving it since forever. 

I'm just finishing a Master's degree in Business administration because well... With flying, you never know, right? 🙂 You won't pass medical and then what?

I want to start my PPL in the fall. Haven't figured out the money yet but I don't really care. It you really want to do something, you'll find a way (or an excuse). And, there aren't enough pilots nowadays, so I think that it should get easier to become one in the future. Airlines might start paying for the training, increase salaries even more and so on. We'll see I guess 🙂

 

It seems like I'm one of the youngest people here, which kind of surprises me. But not that much because people my age think that I'm kind of weird with all the flying and simming stuff. 

Great community here 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

I keep checking the ages of all those JustFlight forum guys that have birthdays on the day when I am looking, and I have noticed that a significant number (possibly as high as 50%) are older than me. I will be 51 years old on July 31 this year.

Edited by Christopher Low

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When I started this POLL I wrote: 

 I estimate 75% of the sim-community to be 55+ years old in The Netherlands.

As this poll has just 10 years categories  we cannot have a precise outcome.

Nevertheless , so far, my estimation for The Netherlands comes close to the result of this poll.

I asked for the age of X-Plane users , not using a poll like this.
Collected all individual ages and made a precise calculation.
The outcome :  evarage age 52 years  50+% over 51 , not many users under 30 years.

Age-wise spoken P3D and X-Plane have the same users-spectrum.

 

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Primary roadblock to getting younger individuals into becoming pilots is cost.  A PPL is prohibitively expensive these days when you consider that due to cost of living how many younger individuals still live with family.

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Posted (edited)

I was interested by this survey but wondered if it would be skewed by the fact that forums are generally an older crowd and social media attracts a younger crowd. I run a big XP11 Facebook group with close on 9000 members and decided to do a similar poll there. The results suggest there is a much higher percentage of younger users than the poll here shows. In my experience of running the group we have a huge number of young enthusiasts. These are the results, although its an X-Plane group I would expect similar results in a P3D or general flight sim group on social media. 

10-20  - 68

21-30  - 101

31-40  - 101

41-50. - 117

51-60  - 49

61-70  - 28

71-80  - 5

81-90. - 1

Edited by yidahoo
  • Upvote 2

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Its a Facebook-group and that explains more youth.
I am confident a P3D Facebook group will give the same lower average age.

 

Fact is regular fora like AVSIM have much more visiters than Facebookgroops as they tend to go deeper in  into detalis.
So the fact the Facebookfora give a lower everage age will not mean the average age will be lower than the outcome of this poll.
Almost all Facebookgroup visiters visit sites like AVSIM too.

People over 50 are significant less using Facebook.

Its hard to get a real good impression of the situation.

Collecting reactions on a forum is a slow process , its the visiter who comes by and has to notice the poll , to react.

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I think an interesting question as well is what age did you start and which sim was your first. Also, what system? 

For me, I had a sim on my Apple IIc.... I think it was Sublogic FS II. The year was 1985 and I was 5 years old. 

 

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On 5/29/2018 at 9:21 AM, yidahoo said:

I was interested by this survey but wondered if it would be skewed by the fact that forums are generally an older crowd and social media attracts a younger crowd. I run a big XP11 Facebook group with close on 9000 members and decided to do a similar poll there. The results suggest there is a much higher percentage of younger users than the poll here shows. In my experience of running the group we have a huge number of young enthusiasts. These are the results, although its an X-Plane group I would expect similar results in a P3D or general flight sim group on social media. 

10-20  - 68

21-30  - 101

31-40  - 101

41-50. - 117

51-60  - 49

61-70  - 28

71-80  - 5

81-90. - 1

I would agree, most of the younger people are on the Facebook groups involved in aviation simulation. 

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Posted (edited)

You also have to look at the fact the older crowd can afford to pay the price when it comes to this hobby when it comes to software and hardware. Flight Simming is not cheap. I stopped counting after awhile, LOL

Check out the Facebook pages when a high price Addon is released. 😛

Edited by Wise87

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This poll is about the average age on this AVSIM-FORUM.
Fact is the average age of the participants on social media like facebook is much lower.

The moment flightsimmers want to discuss technical things and looking for explanations , manuals and things like that the tend to come to the forums like AVSIM.
On  fora like AVSIM its more easy to find thinks who have been discussed and explained in the past, than in a Facebook-group.
Its not possible search in the past on Facbook..
The moment a flightsimmer gets real interested in flightsimming , not just playing with an airplane-game, he will turn to the traditional fora too.

I thinks its very hard to determine the real average age of the whole sim-community.

A poll on Facbook-groups give a much lower average age.
I have done several polls on tratditional fora like Avsim and X-Plane org and the outcome is an average age of around 50 years.

I visited flightsim events and noticed the avarage age of active participants, demonstrating, showing and explaining, to be................... around 50 years .

The average age is about he same at all platforms.

 

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On 6/9/2018 at 3:35 AM, Leen3131cs said:

I visited flightsim events and noticed the avarage age of active participants, demonstrating, showing and explaining, to be................... around 50 years .

The average age is about he same at all platforms.

Previous AVSIM demographic polls, that were set up by Tom using expensive commercial survey tools, showed the same results when it came to the age question. Believe the last major AVSIM Demographic poll was conducted in 2014.  Interesting to see the average age has not changed too much but recall 56 being the average in the past.  The average age may increase or decrease as this polling question gets more responses.

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Posted (edited)

Well, I just got back home from the FSExpo18 here in Las Vegas.  If I hadn't known the topic of the get-together was a flight simming convention, I would have thought I was at my 45th year high school reunion.  Seemed like all the under 30 crowd was either working the display booths or providing convention support.  Most of the people wandering around looking at all the cool stuff were within 10 years of my age.  I was half expecting the water dispensers to dispense prune-shooters.  😂

Edited by FalconAF
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Also just returned from the FSExpo18 and was surprise by the large number of RW pilots or students working on their PPL among the attendees. Good to see that!

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