The popular flight model matching solution FLAi has been shut down. FLAi was used by many VATSIM pilots due to its ease of matching airplane models in VATSIM and displaying these in the users’ simulator. FLAi could also be used to add traffic to your offline simulator using traffic tools, as it offered one of the largest aircraft and livery collections in the community.
As per a statement on their website, FLAi is shutting down as a group of painters revoked permissions from FLAi to use their liveries as part of the software. Many of these painters and modellers are part of Alpha India Group (AIG) and as 90% of the FLAi liveries were created by that group of painters, the team no longer saw a reason to continue with the product. Furthermore, the team adds it was unclear how to move forward into Microsoft Flight Simulator with their add-on.
FLAi has long had permission to use the liveries by AIG, something that it finds very important. AIG was however of the opinion, that a third party planning on using FLAi in a new product, was doing so as a ‘conduit towards using work without permission’. This third party has since stated that FLAi won’t be required for any of it’s free products, but this did not change the mind of AIG. Another solution, allowing FLAi to work inside AIG’s own distributor, was deemed technically not feasible due to significant development efforts. The FLAi team then decided it would be better to shut down the project, as it clearly did not have access to one of its largest freeware creators’ content anymore, and wasn’t on the same page with this same freeware creators community.
The shutdown might come as a bit of a shock to the VATSIM community, who have long relied on FLAi. In a statement shared by the VATSIM Board of Governors, they announce how they are in touch with both FLAi and AIG in the hope of finding a solution that will allow members to continue using the high quality model matching service that FLAi has long provided.
People that already had FLAi installed, can continue to use it without issues. It won’t however be available for downloading from the website again, and further updates will also not be provided.
Article has been updated as of 11th Jan 2021 to better reflect the fact that the painters who contribute to AIG were the ones who revoked permissions, not AIG as a whole.