As publisher and CEO of AVSIM, it is my pleasure to announce the winner of our 15th anniversary essay contest; "What AVSIM Means to Me". Before announcing the name, let me give a bit of background. We received a number of fantastic essays and all that were submitted deserve mention; and some will be posted in the coming weeks. However, one stands out. It stands out not because of the fact that the author's native language is not English, or that his grammer is perfect, or even that the sentence structures are probably not what we would look for in a contest like this. It is because of his age, his sincerity and the heartfelt content of his essay. It was really not a hard choice. His essay received unanimous votes from our staff.
Now, without editing, reformating or other manipulations, except for paragraph breaks, here is David's essay:
What does Avsim mean to me?
Essay by David Marx
When I checked the Avsim-Forum a week ago, I was really surprised by Tom Allensworth`s birthday announcement. Avsim becomes 15 years old! A really amazing fact for all flightsimmers, but especially for me.
“Why should the birthday of Avsim be so important to this guy?” you might go to ask. Well, the birthday of Avsim is so important for me, because it is accurately my birthday. But let us start from the beginning on.
The year 1997 is a historic year in history of flight simulation. No, not because of my birthdayJ, but because of the creation of two institutions which became very important for the nowadays flightsimmer.
I am talking about the established add-on-aircraft designer PMDG and about the common and most important flight simulation “platform” of this time: Avsim.
Over the years Avsim has developed to the ultimate website for flight simulation that no real flightsimmer should miss. Almost all important developers of our time are represented in the Avsim Forums. And even newcomers in developing, who would like to start with Freeware, or just ambitious flightsimmers, who want to share one of their latest repaints can use this important flight simulation platform. With the following lines I want to tell you my flightsim-career with Avsim and its meaning for my hobby and my aim the (virtual) cockpit.
Because of my father’s job at a German airline I got in contact with planes very early. In 2006 I started flying on the computer with FS 2000 and an (very) old joystick. I did my very first patterns in outside-view with the good old Cessna 152. After a while, I upgraded to VC-view and bigger jets. With the default 777, I made approaches to Chicago O`Hare with 4 yellow PAPI lights; and I was sure of its correctness! Over the time I augmented my flying skills and updated my simulator to FS9 only short time later. I made my first “as real as it gets” simming experiences and started to get into the world of flight simulation seriously.
For about three years now I am flying with FSX and of course with some hardware and software add-ons. After the time of surficial simming with the older FS-versions, I try to simulate the real world procedures seriously today.
Although many people think, flightsimming is a hobby for loners, I believe it isn´t. The worldwide community is connected by more things somebody would imagine. We interact in virtual airlines, in ATC servers like Vatsim or Ivao, or in forums where we exchange our flying knowledge. Especially this flight simulation forums have become very important for me and this is one reason why I can´t imagine my hobby without Avsim. In my opinion, it has the most widespread forum service for flight simulation ever, which is very comfortable for users, who do not want to jump between all the different websites to get informed.
Thousands of flightsimmers from all over the world are checking the Avsim Forums every day and I am really proud to be one of them.
Whatever people want to share with the community, if they need help, if developers want to announce their next project, or if we just want to talk about our last flight around our homebase, it will all be done in the Avsim Forums. Because of the great new features like making different groups or chatting in chat rooms only for flightsimmers you can really say that Avsim is the social network of flight simulation!
I want to give you an example how Avsim could help me with the decision to buy a new computer.
Before I started dealing with to find the best computer for flight simulation for me, my PC-knowledge was at almost zero. I started a topic on Avsim and within three or four weeks, my ken about computers was good enough to be able to arrange my complete dream FSX computer by myself. With the help of the Avsim Forums, I could reach hundreds of flight simulation enthusiasts, who helped me with the decisions for my new computer within a very short time. I believe that only such a big and common flight simulation platform like Avsim can reach this many people in such a short time.
But there is another feature which means even more for me: The Avsim file library. As a student I do not have the money to buy many expensive add-ons. But because I do not want to fly only with the default planes and sceneries, Avsim is a big help for me. The collection of freeware add-ons on Avsim is amazing! Not only for the most recent flight simulators but also even for train and driving simulators there are files for free download. But especially as a flightsimmer you can find freeware in each category. AI-traffic, airports, sceneries, or repaints can be found on Avsim. I believe there is no flightsimmer out there, who hasn´t downloaded a file from Avsim yet. But even if you want to share your first tries of modeling an airport, a plane or a scenery – Avsim helps you to spread it to all flight simulation fans all over the world. For me, Avsim is a publisher for ambitious private-developers and file library for flightsimmers in one.
And if you want to get some payware add-ons, Avsim helps you to find your favorite with free reviews of the products and a whole online store with hardware and software. The team around Tom Allensworth does a great job for the community by reviewing the most recent add-ons and this all as volunteer work!
As I do flight simulation for six years now, I am registered at many websites and forums. There are really many great ones, but there is no, which has such a widespread collection of topics and where you can reach such a high number of people and this all on one website, than Avsim. Because of the above named reasons, Avsim means for me communication between flight simulator enthusiasts through the possibilities of the most common forum in the community, an awesome number of great freeware files and free and independent reviews. Whenever I want to get some great freeware or I need the assistance of the whole flightsim community from all over the world, I know where I have to turn to.
I hope I will be able to celebrate even my 50. Birthday together with this great website and so I want to say now: “Happy Birthday Avsim!”