Rick Lee's

A long time ago, in a galaxy far… well… back around 1988… I was a big fan of flight simulators, the World Wide Web wasn't invented yet, and there wasn't really any place on the online networks for guys like me to hang out. Along with a few friends like Jeff Horrocks of York, PA, Jim Ross of Alexandria, VA and Mike Barrs of Miami, FL, I helped create a place on CompuServe called the FSFORUM.  It was the first flight simulation online meeting place accessible internationally. (Click here for more history) When I finally gave up my sysop position on CompuServe in 1995, I went to work for Microsoft to set up their Flight Simulator Forum on the Microsoft Network (MSN). After so many years of running that type of forum I finally got burnout and quit in 1996. For part of 1996 and 1997 I kept my hand in cyberspace by helping Alfred Poor with his Q&A forum on the Computer Shopper section of ZDNet. I was out of the FS scene for a while, but I got involved again due to my fascination with the helicopter in FS98, which I consider to be the greatest addition to FS in 10 years... thanks Paul Donlan. 

A quick note about Microsoft FS 2002.  WOW.  Holy cow.... this is the FS we've always wanted.  Graphic accellerator cards have finally advanced to the point that home simulation is stunningly sophiticated.  Get a GeForce3 video card and get FS2002.  The results are mind boggling. 


Rick tries to look cool after landing at Hong Kong
That's me, Rick Lee, trying to look cool after landing a big-iron, full-motion-base 747-400
simulator into Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport… the infamous "checkerboard" approach.
Photo by Simon Hradecky. Thanks to Simon for getting me into this thing.

Rick in the Learjet 35 simulator
Rick again, in the Learjet35 sim, very pleased with myself and not
bothering to look cool at all after landing at Houston Intercontinental.
Taken at the 1994 MicroWINGS Conference in Dallas Texas. Simulator courtesy of SimuFlite.


Here is an article I wrote on how to build a "collimated display system" for your home PC which will give a sense of depth and 3d to any simulation or game such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, air combat sims, Nascar, Doom, or Quake. I've been using these for years and I know people all over the world who have built their own device and now wouldn't do without it.

Click here to read an article by John Amery and Harry Streid of Boeing on their research into using multiple monitors and fresnel lenses to create a mosaic dome display system using off-the-shelf hardware. Fascinating stuff. 

Here is an article I wrote on how to fly the helicopter in Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 and 2000. It's very difficult, but if I can become proficient at it, I think most anyone can. The download version below includes FS98 situation files, recorded videos of flight demonstrations, and scenery BGL files of three offshore oilrig platforms with helipads. If you think that flying this helicopter is impossible, you need to view these demos. Download the zip file for viewing offline.  

A Lesson to Remember.  This was written by Paul Donlan who wrote the mathmatical flight model for the Bell Jetranger Helicopter in FS98.  The article sheds some light on whether or not the Microsoft Flight Simulator helicopter is a good simulation.

How to fly Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 (or FS2000) Multi-Player over the Internet without going through the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone. You can connect with other FS users in multiplayer sessions over the Internet without going through any server. This will seem a little complicated if you have never done it before, but after you do it once, you'll be amazed at how simple it really is. You can establish a host session or join a session literally in seconds. It's all just a few mouse clicks away.

How to network two or more computers in your home or small-office using only the built-in networking resources of Windows 95/98. Want to play multi-player flight simulators, QUAKE, NASCAR, etc?? Home networking is cheap and fun! It's easy but somebody has to walk you through it step by step.  Thanks to Lloyd James for this clearly written primer.

A brief history of the beginning of FSFORUM on CompuServe.  Written at the time of
the forum opening.

The first PC flight simulator convention in the US.  Held in 1991 at Cornell University, sponsored by the long-since defunct organization, CPAA. 

A few eons ago, before there was such a thing as the World-Wide-Web, when I was sysop on the Compuserve Flight Simulations Forum, I wrote a regular column in MicroWINGS Magazine. Here’s a trip down memory lane… I have compiled some of the articles here  if you are interested in the Golden Age (or is that the Dark Ages?) of personal computer flight sims.


2/93 "Other people's brains" - Staff Profiles

5/93 Tom Kopke (Navy simulations physicist) interview

6/93 Commercialization of user-designed scenery

8/93 Dayton, OH - Stu "Mr Ed" Butts interview

10/93 "The year the Europeans came", Simon Hradecky interview

12/93 "Virtual Friends" 

1/94 "The Future Is Now, Almost"

4/94 Virtual Fly-Ins

6/94 "Global Village, or the Virtual Water Cooler"

7/94 "Browsing the Stacks", Library statistics

12/94 "FSFORUM Staff" 

Building Rudder Pedals - In 1989, before rudder pedals for Flight Simulator were commercially available, I designed and built a set for myself.  Here is a DIY, do-it-yourself article I wrote for PC-Pilot Magazine (I think there is another magazine now called PC-Pilot, but this one has been long defunct).

More articles will be posted here in the future.

Jon Solon & Bruce Artwick
Two great guys. Jon Solon (left), former Program Manager of Flight Simulator for Microsoft
and Bruce Artwick (right), father of personal computer flight simulation and a living legend in computing.
Taken at the 93 MicroWINGS conference at Cornell University.
(By the way, if you heard a rumor that Bruce died of cancer, it's NOT true.)


Flight Simulator

Links to a few interesting flight simulation sites:

  1. Apollo Software and AETI Hardware - Various flight sim software packages and really high-end hardware controls.
  2. Advance Simulation Systems - Very high-end hardware.
  3. A "Build Your Own Cockpit" Page - Stuff you won't believe people are doing in their basements..
  4. Cockpit Projects - Demonstrating what you can do with an EPIC card.
  5. Project Magenta - An incredible home cockpit project by my old pals Enrico and Stamatis. Their software now available to make your cockpit ultra realistic.
  6. R&R Electronics - Makers of the fantastic EPIC card which allows you to build a home cockpit or just improve your joystick control 1000%.
  7. CH Products - Really good yokes, pedals, sticks, etc. The USB line is revolutionary. I personally use the complete USB line.
  8. Computer Pilot Magazine - A great magazine from Australia. (woops.. update... they've moved to the USA)
  9. Flight Deck Software - Makers of IFT-Pro, an excellent instrument flight trainer program. I'm very sorry to report that Flight Deck has gone out of business.
  10. Flight Link - Makers of high-end hardware such as yokes and panels.
  11. Flight Sim Central - Mail order company for almost all of your flight simulator needs. Proprietor Aaron Anderson is a pal of mine and does a great job.
  12. Flightsim.com - Nels Anderson's excellent Internet FS site. Son of Xevious BBS.
  13. TradeIP.com - A great place to meet for multi-player flying via the Internet.
  14. Roger Wilco - A cool program that allows you to TALK to your buddies when flying over the Internet.
  15. Jeppesen - The company for aviation charts, and now an instrument flight simulation trainer.  Check out the new SimCharts.
  16. Keith's Virtual Helipad - One more guy with too much time on his hands, Keith has collected a lot of great helicopter stuff in one place. (Oh no! Keith's page seems to be gone and I can't find where it is moved to. If anyone knows, please let me know.)
  17. Microsoft Flight Simulator Page - Microsoft's own site.
  18. MicroWings - A "user group" and flight simulator magazine. It was gone for a while but now it's back.
  19. Flight Adventures - After FSFORUM dissolved on Compuserve, the able staff landed here. A very mature and friendly group of FS fans.
  20. simFLIGHT - A great overall FS forum on the Internet. A place for the latest news and honest opinions.
  21. Tekmate - Home of the Skunkworks, makers of great aircraft add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Sorry to report that Tekmate has ceased to be.
  22. ThrustMaster - Maker of programmable flight sim controllers and great driving-game steering wheels. (since the death of the founder, Buzz Hoffman, I am reluctant to recommend their products)
  23. ACESIM - A fascinating motion base for home use!

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