For the first time, FSElite attended FSWeekend. We have known for a while that this was a large event for European simmers, but we were pleasantly surprised at how busy and full of life the event is.
Taking place in the Aviation Museum Aviodrome in Lelystad, FSWeekend certainly had the right backdrop for aviation and sim fans. The whole place is littered with commercial, fighter jets and other historical aircraft. My favourite element of the museum was the real 747 KLM classic aircraft parked up with the ability for people to go up in and explore. With the whole weekend event, you could easily spend a day looking at these beautiful birds and then spend another day trying them out in the virtual skies.
Whilst the museum is an impressive location, to actually reach the event is a bit more challenging. With no direct flights to the local airport, you can only really arrive via Amsterdam Schipol. If you’re flying in, you need to get on multiple forms of transport and from our experience, some services only run once per hour.
From our impressions, we noticed that unlike other events such as FlightSImExpo and Flight Sim Show, this show had a lot more hobbyists. Not to say that those in attendance at other shows aren’t interested in the hobby, but FSWeekend had a lot of opportunities to try out the software. Most of the software and hardware on display wasn’t new, but there were plenty of displays set up ready for people to give a variety of simulators a try. It was clear that the event was dominated by FSX users.
As for exhibitors, there were a nice variety of groups there. You had the usual big names such as Aerosoft, Honeycomb and Laminar Research, but the event was mostly made up of European and local groups. Whether that be virtual airlines, local simulation stores or flying clubs. One of the stand out surprises from the show was finally meeting the talented developers behind NL2000. As you may have seen, they also announced a new version of the product, and they were very keen to showcase it off to us.
One of the most exciting features for this year’s show was the ability to finally fly the all-new Aerosoft 330 Professional. The aircraft, which has been in development hell for the past few years was finally usable at the show. We have an extensive hands-on first impression coming up soon, so we’ll be sure to share that with you. Aerosoft also had their new CRJ Professional on display (video only) along with the developers from OnAir at the booth talking about their new tycoon management system. Whilst Aerosoft had a nice showcase of products, it would be nice if they had several more PC units for people to use. The single test unit they had was always busy and crowded and with the amount of booth space available, it would’ve been great to give more people a chance to fly the planes.
Suffice to say, it was a pleasure to finally get hands-on time with the aircraft. No event would be complete without have chance to speak to the developers of some of these products. During the event, we spoke to Mathias Kok about Aerosoft’s upcoming projects. With the backdrop of historic aircraft behind us, it was interesting to hear what we had to say and the lessons learned. That video will follow very soon on our YouTube channel.
Another busy area of the show was the virtual networks; VATSIM and IVAO. Both online networks were proud and present with plenty of representatives from both sides. Both teams were busy controlling the airspace and is always interesting to watch these guys doing events live. There were plenty of positive comments about the new VATSIM codec – from both pilots and controllers, so that is always positive to hear.
Beyond software were also plenty of cockpit builders and specialists. This certainly felt like the main attraction of the event with a fully modelled F-16M Simulator on display in the main section of the show. You could step into this stunning cockpit and fly this insanely fast jet with a huge curved screen for full immersion. It looked a lot of fun for those taking part. Sim Innovations were also at the event with a range of 737-800 kits available, which are compatible with the Zibo mod on X-Plane 11. Other highlights from the show include ProSim, CPFlight and Skalarki.
It’s not just exhibitors, there are also a handful of seminars. Honeycomb and Aerosoft were prevalent during the weekend with their presentations talking, of course, about the Alpha Flight Controls and also the new CRJ Professional. Finally, the Dutch VACC representatives gave a presentation on trying to inspire the next generation of controllers for the community.
Frans, the main organiser of the event said “FSWeekend was a great success, this is it always for more than the last 25 years.
It is a special event as it is accessible for all ages and experience levels. Whether they are young, old, experienced or brand new, FSWeekend has been designed to be an event for everyone to learn something new. The atmosphere makes it feel like a very family orientated event. With over 45 exhibitors, we have a great mix for everyone and for every level of flight simming. In total, we saw around 3,000 people attend from the Netherlands, Europe and beyond. We are already planning next year’s show and can confirm that FSWeekend 2020 will take place on November 7th and 8th 2020.“
All in all, FSWeekend turned out to be a great event, even as someone from the UK. For Europeans, it’s certainly a great opportunity to meet up, see some of the latest products on display and partake in community-driven events. We certainly had a good time, especially soaking in the rich aviation history surrounding the area. FSWeekend 2020 will be even more exciting with new simulators and even more new products to come in the future.
Special thanks again to Aerosoft for sponsoring us to attend FSWeekend.