We’re well into 2019 and have already seen multiple releases, new announcements, and product updates. Flight simulation has become a huge hobby for many people over the past year and we’ve seen it change drastically over the course of 2018.
I can easily say that 2018 was one of the most successful years for flight simulation. The number of people involved in the hobby is at a high point, the number of high-quality products is increasing, and the community engagement is also doing extremely well. It’s all very exciting and the future is pointing at even more products, simulators, and add-ons to create an immersive experience regardless of your flying type.
We’re going to break down each month from 2018 and highlight some of the key events that took place. There were ups and downs, but by the end of it, we left 2018 in a better place than we started.
An Overview of 2018
Our friend, FSXLiveries.com kindly put together an impressive list of all of the articles we published, the number of releases and even broke it down into types. For our stats, we’ll be using this data, so it may be off a little depending on whether we covered it (likelihood is that we did, but sometimes one or two slip through the net).
In total, FSElite published 1569 articles during 2018. This then translated into the following statistics:
Number of Products Previews / Announced: 61
Number of Products Released: 82
Number of Products Previews / Announced: 152
Number of Products Released: 215
Number of Products Previews / Announced: 22
Number of Products Released: 52
These numbers include Aerofly FS 2, FSX, Prepar3D 1-4 and X-Plane 10 & 11.
January 2018 (131 Articles)
2 big releases took place on the first day of 2018. REX released SkyForce 3D and Captain Sim released their 757 Captain III Base pack for the world to enjoy. FlyTampa released updates for two of their scenery packages and Jetstream Designs released Nantes Airport for the simulator.
We embroiled ourselves in a bit of drama by publishing an article detailing why there were going to be two North American flight simulation shows during the year. Suffice to say, I think we all know that FSExpo turned out to be the more impressive show (more on that in June).
projectFly released a brand new website and client, featuring us, and has since gone on to provide frequent updates to improve the user experience.
Finally, we closed the month off with our annual Community Choice awards. They were met with a great reception from the community and we had some surprising winners. Developer TFDi Design won ‘Best Support’, whilst Ultimate Realism Package won ‘Best Freeware’. Watch for this year’s awards coming soon.
February 2018 (132 Articles)
We started February 2018 with our first of many Orbx events. West Coast Dash was intended to be a fun way to explore some new airports up the west coast of the United States. We had a bunch of people take part, some great incentives from our friends at Orbx, and we gave out plenty of prizes to pilots and ATC alike. We’re going to be doing more events like this in 2019.
Lockheed Martin also released version 4.2 of Prepar3D, which focused on dynamic lighting performance issues. Along with the incremental update came a bunch of developers also playing catch up to make sure their products were working correctly.
In aircraft related news, the FlythemaddogX from Leonardo Softhouse was released on February 20th, and we loved it so much, we gave it a 9.5/10. ToLiss released their A319 and Carenado made available their Fokker 50.
Sadly, February wasn’t all good news. FlightSimLabs were caught up in controversy regarding their DRM methods prompting ‘test.exe-gate’.
On the other hand, many new scenery products were previewed and released including Orbx Netherlands TrueEarth for Aerofly FS 2 and their CityScene series.
March 2018 (151 Articles)
March was very much a month for X-Plane in terms of releases and announcements. One of the most exciting announcements in March was TerraMaxx – a tool to give X-Plane 11 seasons. This was met with some love from the community. Orbx also stepped into X-Plane turf for the first time with the release of Meigs Field and also shared their vision for X-Plane airports. Bill Womack also confirmed he was rejoining the Orbx team.
April 2018 (106 Articles)
We started April by turning into FSElite – but not as you know it. Instead, we transformed into Farm Sim Elite. Reading the Facebook comments was super fun when we revealed this. Even putting it together with the team was pretty awesome. You can see the introduction page here. (which I still find amusing).
As the summer edged closer, so did the announcements for who was attending FlightSimExpo in Las Vegas. One of the more exciting announcements was certainly the confirmation that PMDG would be attending the event and sharing a “never seen before product”.
FlyTampa also released a surprise by delivering Corfu for X-Plane 11, all whilst X-Plane 11.20 was going through beta testing. X-Plane continued to thrive with releases from AirWorthy Designs, xEnviro 1.09 and further Orbx airports. The Hotstart TBM-900 was also shown off in great detail.
Drzeweicki Design released some new city areas and airports, JustSim released Moscow and Orbx released their first ever TrueEarth package for Prepar3D with the Netherlands. Whilst the technology was great, we had a few minor issues with it.
Sadly, April also saw the official announcement that Dovetail Games’ Flight Sim World would no longer be in development. Despite some promising trailers, frequent updates and add-ons available, the simulator couldn’t capture the market. The community sadly couldn’t get behind what the product could offer, but it did help to introduce a range of new people to the market. Although announced in April, it lasted all the way to May 24th.
May 2018 (91 Articles)
To celebrate our 3,000 YouTube subscribers, we held interviews with our video Producers. Patrick, Shane, and Osamah (who has since left the team due to personal commitments). We also featured some cool stuff from our Featured YouTube Community.
TFDi Design continued to earn accolades by releasing a performance update for their 717, Digital Designs unleashed their version of Tenerife South for the world, and A2A Simulations opened up a new store/website.
Also in May, a new simulator was shown off: Deadstick Bush Flight Simulator. We are still awaiting its release, and we’re still excited to see how that turns out.
Despite previous wrong-doings, FlightSimLabs was back to pick up the pieces and announced that they had implemented icing features for their upcoming A319-X product. This meant both a visual impact and also a physics impact if ice were to build up on the airframe.
We also hosted another event, but this time down in Australia. Dash Down Under was just as successful with pilots and ATC the world over supporting us.
June 2018 (105 Articles)
Needless to say, June was all about FlightSimExpo 2018 in Las Vegas. The Community Driven event was full of great talks, exciting announcements (GSX Level 2, PMDG Global Flight Ops, etc) and of course, our big reveal of DCTRY. We had plenty of developer interviews go-live, including those from Flightbeam, Infinite Flight and Lockheed Martin.
June wasn’t all full of good news either. Despite the controversy in February, FlightSimLabs was back in the headlines. This time their site was hacked, we had some tough dealings with them, and we were threatened with similar hacks from anonymous people. Luckily, since then, these types of dramas haven’t occurred (touch wood).
Other releases in June included the Carenado 690B for X-Plane, JustSim Antalya and LatinVFR’s Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
July 2018 (95 Articles)
July was certainly a quiet month for simulation fans. I imagine this was due to many developers relaxing after a busy few months at the beginning of the year or recovering from late nights in Vegas. The start of the month saw Captain Sim release a further update for their 757 Captain III series, and MK-Studios released some enhancement for their scenery products.
FSLabs released the A319-X, which was great for flights to 29Palm’s / Captain7’s Nuremberg. Milviz also released their DHC-3T Turbo Otter and Aerosoft (at long last) released their Airbus A318/319 collection.
Orbx was also pretty busy in July, announcing CityScene Barcelona, releasing Triengen Airport (LSPN) and the CEO himself, John Venema gave us an exclusive interview with his outlook on simulation in the future.
August 2018 (125 Articles)
August picked up the pace again with a bunch of new releases and updates. REX got their act together and released Worldwide Airports HD for Prepar3D V4, and LatinVFR released Bermuda V2.
X-Plane fans were excited for the release of the FlyJSim 727 and Laminar Research previewed Neighbourhoods for X-Plane 11.30. Shortfinal Design also released Airport Environment V2 for free for the community.
The drama was also present in August when previous POSCON owners decided to try and purchase VATSIM for $50,000. This obviously didn’t happen but didn’t go unnoticed by the community.
September 2018 (144 Articles)
The biggest news of September was that the PMDG 747-8 was finally released. It took longer than hoped, but the newest plane in the 747 fleet was available for FSX/P3D users. It released with a lot of hype thanks to our giveaway and packed a host of great features.
The Qualitywings Simulation Ultimate 787 was also given a nice update.
September also saw us leak details that Prepar3D V4.4 was going to bring Physically Based Rendering (PBR) texture support to the simulator. Although it wasn’t confirmed by Lockheed Martin at the time, we had strong supporting evidence. Turned out, we were right (and it would be officially revealed by us in November).
October 2018 (141 Articles)
October kicked off strong with Flight Sim 2018 at Cosford. FSFX Packages announced and released their 747 Immersion pack and revealed that ChasePlane was now version 1. Orbx also impressed attendees with their TrueEarth Great Britain South presentation. We also debuted the official ImagineSim Singapore trailer at the event. We also buried the hatchet and revealed some exciting new previews of the FSLabs A321-X and new upcoming features.
Our friends at Airline2Sim announced a new product Airport2Sim – a take on their training packages but designed for airports.
November 2018 (140 Articles)
FlightSimStore was experiencing a lot of issues. Reports of developers not being paid, store closures and more plagued November’s headlines. Whilst they had issues, other stores and developers were going all-out on their sales.
In more positive news, we conducted a new event type; “Low ‘N Slow”. We took off and flew all around the Rockies. Orbx was also kind enough to sponsor the event.
FSElite news continued as we unveiled our sister site, DCTRY. Out of testing and now in the hands of the community. Countless hours of work by many people meant that people had a great way of seeing their favourite airport in their sim of choice.
In terms of content releases, we saw MK-Studios release two very different airports, Aerosoft let people use their new Cologne (Klon/Bonn) airport and A2A Simulations gave out their Rain Effects add-on free to developers to implement in their products.
November also saw the confirmation that FlightSimExpo 2019 would indeed be in Orlando, Florida.
December 2018 (208 Articles)
We also gave away over 80 prizes to members of the community as part of our Holiday Grand Raffle.
We concluded the year by wishing the community a happy holiday season and also a happy new year.
Outside of just releases and announcements, many of the articles we published included reviews, competitions and original articles. Throughout 2018, we published 49 reviews – from scenery, aircraft and events – all trying to contribute some more value to the community.
This sums up everything that happened during 2018. Obviously, this huge success is thanks to everyone involved. From the talented development studios and publishers who create and distribute the content, and also to the community for supporting us and keeping us motivated to bring you all the details we can. We are confident that 2019 will be bigger and better than ever before and are excited to bring you along for the ride.