This report is from long term community member and contributor, Chris Low and is republished here for your enjoyment. You can view comments and contribute your own in the Hangar Forum.
"My first ever flightsim show, and I loved every minute of it!
I arrived a bit earlier than expected, and I was at the entrance to Hangar 1 by 9:30 AM. There was another person in the foyer between the two sets of automatic doors, and very soon we were deep in conversation about various aspect of flight simulation. Several others arrived at the entrance soon after that, and I started talking to one of these new guys aswell. It was really interesting to hear what other flightsim enthusiasts had to say about the subject, and this was in fact one of the highlights of the show for me. Nobody in my family or circle of friends is involved with flight simulation, so I have never been able to talk to other like minded people until yesterday. It was a very enjoyable experience, and I will certainly be back for more next year!
Anyway, as I was talking to these two people, a queue started to form behind us. The first set of automatic doors was permanently open because of this, and I eventually noticed that plenty of other people were listening intently to our three way conversation. It was clear that others were also interested in what we had to say! I was talking about my recent "conversion" to P3D, the first guy that I met mentioned that his new PC was built by a group who had a stand at the show (Wired2Fire), and the second guy was talking about his very positive and amazingly realistic experiences with VATSIM. Very interesting stuff. I wish that I had taken down the names of these two gentlemen
So, we gained entrance to the hangar at last, and I decided to wander off to the right for a brief tour of the "outlying" stands (by that, I mean those that were not in the large open area to the left). I stopped to admire the view of P3D/FSX/X-Plane spread across huge display screens at various stands, and wandered past the second Just Flight stand where the new Tornado GR1 was going to be demonstrated. I suspected that the young looking guy sitting in front of one of the displays was Martyn Northall, but I wanted confirmation from someone else before I introduced myself!
I stopped at the PC Pilot stand, and started talking to a guy about a 727 that was in flight on one of the screens. I had noticed that the heat exhaust from the engines was being displayed, which was something that I had never seen before. He told me that this was X-Plane, and he subsequently showed me a high quality 757 with active weather radar. He also made a note of the raindrops on the windscreen, and that actually brought a smile to my face. The reason for that is because (IMO) nobody has yet matched Looking Glass Studios' depiction of raindrops on the windscreen (and side windows) in Flight Unlimited 3. Quite why this is the case is anyone's guess. Flight Unlimited 3 was released 15 years ago! In fact, I was so impressed with Flight Unlimited 3 (and also the FU2 San Francisco scenery that I used with it), that I gave up using MSFS for something like 8 years. I had been disappointed with MSFS ever since FS5 was released, but that is a story for another day!
Then I decided that it was time to go and introduce myself to a few people. I made my way to the Mutley's Hangar stand, but Joe (Lawford) was rather busy at the time, so I turned and made my way across to the Just Flight stall to see if I could finally meet Mark Embleton. I wrote a couple of articles (Flight Unlimited 2, and Flight Unlimited 3 freeware) for PC Pilot magazine back in August 2002 and October 2003 respectively when Mark was Assistant Editor of the magazine, and I had always wanted to meet him. He was so helpful to me at the time, and I had spoken to him several times on the phone, but never in person. I had an idea which of the guys Mark was, and this was confirmed when I heard him talking to another customer. I witnessed the same enthusiastic and helpful manner that I remembered from those phone calls over a decade ago I eventually introduced myself, and the long wait was finally over!
I then wandered across to the Alpine Systems stand, and the rather impressive setup of three 40" widescreen monitors displaying P3D v2.3. I was at that stand for quite some time, and spoke to a couple of other guys (in addition to the person at the controls). In fact. this was yet another highlight of the show for me. I love being able to pass on my knowledge and information of various aspects of flight simulation, and that was the case here as I passed on information regarding my experience with P3D. The person to my left was interested in how well P3D was running on my system, and if I had managed to get all of my FSX addons working with it. That is indeed the case as far as scenery packages are concerned (with the help of the Estonia Migration Tool), although I am waiting for the ORBx triple installers before I install individual FTX airfields. Sadly, a couple of my favourite planes are currently not licensed for use in P3D, although PMDG are apparently developing a P3D version of the 737NGX. Unfortunately, the Flight1 Cessna Citation Mustang is another story. Most people are probably aware that Flight1 have a strict "prohibited for use in P3D" policy as far as their addon planes are concerned, and the installer for the Mustang has been deliberately "sabotaged" so that the plane does not work properly. I think it's best that I do not comment any further about this, otherwise I am likely to "go off on one"
After spending a fair bit of time at the Alpine System stand (including trying to work out how my pathetic single 19" LCD screen would compare to the triple screen monster that I was looking at), I decided to have another look at the Mutley's Hangar stand. Eventually, I got the chance to introduce myself to Joe, although he was always very busy. He had a nice little setup with three monitors, and a yoke/throttle assembly. Whilst I am unlikely to ever run FS across three screens, it has made me think about whether I should upgrade to a widescreen monitor. In addition, it is worth noting that I only have a VGA (analog) connection betwene the graphics card and the monitor. I noted the really crisp and clear visuals on most of the screens at the show, and I suspect that this is because they were all using digital connections. I will have to remember that if I decide to upgrade. It would also be nice to have a proper yoke and throttle set (instead of my current CH Flightstick joystick), but I have a racing wheel and gear shifter clamped to my desk, so there is currently no room for anything else!
After a brief pause to go and get a jumbo hotdog for lunch, I returned to the main Just Flight stand to ask Mark Embleton where I could find Richard Slater and Martyn Northall (Just Flight). Mark told me that Rich was wandering around all over the place, but that Martyn was over at the other Just Flight stand (and not far away from that impressive looking Rolls Royce RB211 engine). So, I made my way across the hall, and finally introduced myself to Martyn. Another person came up to ask for advice, and we all had a short but interesting conversation about Oculus Rift, possible extra versions of the JF Canberra product, and future possibilities for Just Flight products in this series. Then Richard appeared, so I got to meet him aswell
At one point, I was at the main Just Flight stand for another brief talk with Mark Embleton. Someone asked him about P3D, and Mark actually handed him over to me, since he knew that I had recently switched to P3D from FSX. This guy was asking about a specific landmark near Gloucestershire airport that he used for real world VFR flights in the area. He was disappointed that this landmark (which he told me was an important one in the area for GA pilots) was not included in any flightsim that he had tested. This was a collection of three "golf ball" radomes. He didn't know the name of this facility, but maybe some member of this forum can identify it? I told him about the FSX Power Project freeware package, but that I didn't know if this landmark was included in the package.
It was then time for me to make my way across to the auditorium in the main hall for the Quality Wings presentation. There were only a handful of people there when I arrived, so I thought that it was going to be a quiet affair. However, I think Joe's clock must have been running fast, and by the time that 2:30 PM arrived, the auditorium was packed! This seemed to please Cory and the rest of the Quality Wings team, which was nice after they had made what were undoubtedly long journeys just to visit our little show! It was nice to see the team that built one of my favourite planes in FSX/P3D (the 146), and I will be thanking them on their own forum in due course. The presentation itself was very interesting, although it is unlikely that I will actually purchase the 787. It's a bit too large and complex for me The presentation finished after 3:30 PM, so I just had time to make my way back to Hangar 1 to say goodbye to the new friends that I had made before I made the 150 mile journey home.
This was my first ever flightsim show, and it was a very special experience. I will certainly never forget it"