Looking Back on FSWeekend 2024

Looking back on Europe’s largest flight simulation show.

Posted: 29-Mar-2024 @ 09:27z
Looking Back on FSWeekend 2024

Two weeks ago the FSElite team visited FSWeekend. Similar to previous years, this was being organised in Lelystad, the Netherlands, in the appropriate location of the Aviodrome Luchtvaart Museum. The museum offers an interesting backdrop to an event all about flight simulators, with a large collection of aeroplanes and aviation history. The event itself was slightly different compared to previous iterations, with a new organisation pushing the event and expanding it beyond what it has ever been. Together with Calum, Greg and Jordan I look back on the 2024 edition of FSWeekend.

This year’s FSWeekend was in many ways different to the previous two versions I’ve attended. It’s very clear that the new organisation of FSWeekend, headed by Niels and Jannes, has big plans for this show. Part of this was our very own ‘FSElite Theatre’ in which we hosted a range of developers to talk about their products and make some new announcements.

We were pleased to be the hosts of the ‘FSElite Theatre’ and worked hard to create a schedule that saw exciting new announcements, more details on existing projects and panel discussions on the latest in the industry. I think we ticked all those boxes, thanks to the amazing support from the developers and speakers. We had a packed theatre for many of the seminars and still plenty of people watching talks from the likes of MobiFlight, ToLiss and FlightSimCoach. It was also great to share the stage with other media outlets and community members such as Threshold’s Magnus, Jamie Paine (aka London_Controller) and CruiseLevel, really demonstrating that media and content creators can work well together.

Returning to FSWeekend for my second time was an absolute delight. I relished the opportunity to forge new connections within the community while rekindling old ones. Witnessing the boundless enthusiasm and expertise of software and hardware developers was truly inspiring; their passion reignited my own and left me motivated and excited for the year to come. The event served as a powerful reminder of the vibrant and dynamic community of flight simulation, leaving me eager to see how it grows in the next couple of years.

Having visited FSWeekend with a part of the FSElite team last time, I was excited to see how the show had changed and developed, given a change in leadership that the organisers had seen in the past 12 months. In the run-up to the show, I learned that streamers from the UK who hadn’t been to the show before were planning on visiting, and big developers such as PMDG were also going to exhibit their latest previews. It all added to the excitement and buzz before FSWeekend.

My initial expectations were exceeded as the show immediately felt like it took things up a gear; the first day seemed busier than both days combined from last year. We saw developers holding on to their latest development updates to launch them live at the show. The number of exhibitors seemed to have grown too and the entire show seemed to have been enhanced upon the prior year.

Similar to previous iterations of FSWeekend, FSWeekend offers a blend between hobby clubs, hardware builders and developers that make the software we all use for our day-to-day simming. The show used even more space of the museum than previous iterations, now also utilising the old, recreated Schiphol building. The largest part of the showfloor was taken up by developers new and old to FSWeekend, or returning after many years. It was very exciting to see PMDG at FSWeekend, showing off their highly anticipated Boeing 777 for MSFS, FlyByWire with their A380 trailer, but also Navigraph with their Charts annotations (a personal favourite of mine). I was also very impressed with the hardware community, and I’ve seen some really cool stuff in terms of panels that are relatively accessible and affordable while providing a very premium experience to use, such as the talented teams of Core Flight Technologies or simpleFCU.

The show itself was as organised as ever, with a number of vendors across the museum. It was split into several areas, each with a different focus. Some highlights for me were seeing Navigraph’s huge booth and finally having some hands-on time with FlyByWire’s A380. Having PMDG present at the show with a booth and a never-seen-before plane in public was a huge opportunity and showed that they are excited to be in front of the community.

My highlights of this year would be seeing the progress that the volunteer team at FlyByWire have made to their Airbus A380, experiencing some fantastic home cockpit builds, most of which are 3D printed, and getting the chance to see, feel and interact with the new developments in modular cockpit hardware to enhanceyour flying experience at home. The development of the show in just 12 months, leaves me with hope and excitement to see the show grow into something even bigger and better in the future.

In the last few years that I’ve attended FSWeekend I’ve seen it grow tremendously, and I don’t think we’ve reached the limit yet. The show welcomed nearly 5000 visitors, which makes it the biggest flight simulation show in Europe. It was great to see and connect with the audience that we all share this hobby with. It was also refreshing to see that so many people had made the trip from abroad, coming from places such as Germany, but also the US and the UK in the absence of Cosford’s Flight Sim Show.

In future shows, it would be great to see even more focus on community projects and hardware makers. It is great to see what bedroom developers make and then bring their passion to the show. It should go without saying that even more software developers at the show would also make a difference, including them doing product demos. With nearly 5000 people through the doors this year, it would certainly be a great marketing opportunity for any of them.

For me, it was also a way to connect with the European audience and learn a bit more about what they want from us as a media outlet. We know that providing content to the community is important and this show helped us learn a bit more on what to focus on in the future as we approach our 10th anniversary.

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