10 Reasons to Visit FSExpo 2023

The largest annual flight sim trade show is just around the corner!

Posted: 30-May-2023 @ 10:53z
10 Reasons to Visit FSExpo 2023

FSExpo is just around the corner and at FSElite we’re super excited to be attending the industry’s largest annual conference and trade show. This year the event takes place at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston, TX.

Unfortunately, given the global nature of the flight simming hobby, a lot of attendees find it difficult to be able to attend events like this. With the rise of the internet and livestream video, we are still able to receive the latest news as soon as it is announced. However, nothing beats the experience of actually getting to attend one of these events.

For some simmers it’s a bigger commitment than others in order to attend. Maybe you already live in Houston, in which case it’s easy. Or maybe you live far away in another continent (like me) and have to take a 9 hour transatlantic flight to get here. However, if you do make the journey stateside, there’s definitely something for everyone to make your trip worthwhile. Here are just 10 reasons why you should consider getting yourself a ticket!

Hands-On Experience

Dozens of developers and creators attend FSExpo every year, but unlike some of the conferences and fairs you might attend for your day job they don’t just come with a roller banner and leaflets. On the main show floor you will get the chance to try out the latest hardware and software products, as well as (sometimes) whole new simulators. It’s the ultimate try before you buy experience! Furthermore, oftentimes developers will also be showcasing products that are still in testing or development, giving you a first hand look at the exciting new stuff coming down the pipeline.

10 Reasons to Visit FSExpo 2023
Developers like Honeycomb Aeronautical have previously shown off their kit on demonstration simulators.

Exclusive Product Launches

FSExpo has an area set aside for developers to give presentations, and in the past this has served as an area to make big public announcements on new and existing flight sim products. Sure you could get that news over the internet… but nothing beats being in the room to see it. This year we know that no fewer than 7 big announcements are going to be announced at the show. Why not be among the very first to find out about the latest advancements in flight simulation and come on down to the conference centre?

Engaging Seminars and Workshops

FSExpo is host to a range of seminars and workshops conducted by industry experts, developers, and experienced simmers. This year there were (among others) options to have a 1-1 session in a full motion simulator with a real-world CFI, learn how to create your own USB-enabled hardware (such as switch boxes and radio tuning panels), a flight planning workshop, and more. You could gain valuable insights, learn new techniques, and discover tips and tricks to enhance your flight simulation skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced simmer, there really is something for everyone.

Developer Interaction

One benefit of an event like FSExpo is the direct access to developers behind your favourite flight simulators, add-ons, and hardware. FSExpo provides an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with the experts, ask questions, provide feedback, and learn about upcoming projects. This interaction can deepen your understanding of the software and help shape the future of flight simulation.

Engaging with the Community

FSExpo brings together flight simmers from all over the world, showcasing the vibrant and diverse community of aviation enthusiasts that enjoy simulated flying. You’ll have the chance to meet like-minded individuals, share experiences, and forge valuable connections with fellow simmers, developers, and industry professionals. If you’re the kind of person who wants to play an active role in the FS community, or become the change you want to see within it, then attending FSExpo is a great place to start on that journey.

Engrossing Panel Discussions

It’s important to remember that while flight sim is a hobby for many of us, it is also a small industry. A lot of money can be made in this scene if you’re a talented developer, so naturally we, as a leading flight sim media outlet, are interested in the direction that this industry is headed. Fortunately, FSExpo has you covered there too. There are lots of informative panel discussions that cover a wide range of simmings related topics and these often include industry professionals, enthusiasts, and real world pilots discussing what comes next for our favourite pastime.

10 Reasons to Visit FSExpo 2023
A packed room attends a panel discussion at a previous expo

Flight Sim Community Meetups

There’s a lot going on at FSExpo, but once the conference centre closes down, I don’t think many people just call it a day and go home. You can usually find the nearby bars and restaurants teeming with attendees and exhibitors out on social events, and there are plenty of these events you can book ahead of time as well if you’re more the kind of person who likes to plan things out. Expo might be taking place during the day, but the fun does continue into the wee hours.

Unique Aviation Experiences

Not content with keeping your flying relegated to the simulator? Not to worry, FSExpo has a range of unique aviation related activities on offer. This year they are hosting the event at the Lone Star Flight Museum, which is itself an airfield. Attendees are welcome to fly in themselves if they have an aircraft, but if not then the museum is also offering experience flights in an old bomber for participants. They’re sold out now, but if you got in early this year there were also opportunities for airside tours at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. You could also join visits organised by the expo team to the tower at IAH, and to the where the center airspaces are controlled. For pilots who fly on VATSIM especially, what better way to pass the time than with a tour of a real air traffic control centre?

10 Reasons to Visit FSExpo 2023
Why not take an airside tour of a major international airport while you’re in Houston?

Discounts

Who doesn’t love a bargain? At FSExpo there are usually plenty going around. In fact, if you’re so inclined I’m willing to bet you could probably find discount codes at FSExpo (based on previous years) equal in value to the cost of your entry fee and ticket! At FSElite, we’ve been able to bag a few exclusive deals which will only be available in our booklet available at our stand on the show floor, so if you want a bargain be sure to stop by and enquire.

Keynote Speakers

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a developer, or a 3D artist? What about a content creator or streamer? FSExpo also plays host to a number of keynote speeches from key players in the industry and associated media who will be keen to share their insights and experiences with you. If you’ve ever fancied getting involved with building a plane or starting a Twitch channel, the professionals are all here to tell you exactly how you can get started and what to expect on your journey.

Summary

In summary then. Flight Sim Expo offers a completely unique opportunity for flight simmers to connect, learn, explore, and feel closer than ever to the fantastic community of simmers, devs, media, streamers, artists and more who comprise this rapidly growing industry. If you can make it to Houston without breaking the bank, you will NOT want to miss out on this exciting event that will take your flight sim experience to the next level.

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Matthew Kiff
Matt only discovered his love of flight sim with MSFS 2020, but has since made a career in aviation. As well as contributing to FSElite, he works as a flight data analyst, aiding pilots and operators worldwide in improving their flight safety.
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