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Introduction

Did you ever want to fly with the real old versions of Flight Simulator and feel (again) how it felt in the early days of FS? Here is your chance. "The Old Flight Simulator Vault" contains all ingredients for a nostalgic and fascinating journey back in time.

For the past few years I have been scavenging the flightsim junkyards for working old versions of Flight Simulator. My first objective was creating screenshots for the Flight Simulator History website. If you haven't yet visited that website, please come and have a look. You will be amazed by what has happened over the past 25 years. But, having gone through all that trouble and having invested so much time and quite a bit of money, I thought it would be a waste not to make the most of it. So I decided to set up this separate little website to give you too the chance to a taste of the old times.

Got the taste?

Want to get a taste of the general picture? Want to know more about the development of (Microsoft) Flight Simulator over the past 25 years? Then pay a visit to the Flight Simulator History website and read the Story and study the Timeline. Or download one of the movies we created to give you a pictorial overview of this development:

  • for a nice small FS History video by Marcus Thompson, in cooperation with your webmaster and Josef Havlik visit Milehigh Productions
    On this website you can also find small separate clips of the different versions.
     
  • the FS History video (127 Mb) is a newer higher quality video about the History of Flight Simulator, created by Josef Havlik, in cooperation with your webmaster after the original idea by Marcus Thompson (Milehigh Productions). This video is based on live clips, from FS1 for the Apple II (1980) to the latest version FS 2004 for the IBM PC.
     
  • in the meantime Josef Havlik also created the new special edition FS History SE video, again more expanded (280MB).
     
  • the FS History poster-session (13,5 Mb); this is a copy of the poster session, created for the Dutch Flight Simulator weekend in October 2004 in the new Dutch Aviation Museum Aviodrome at Lelystad Airport. With posters of all relevant versions from FS1 to FS2004, showing the manual cover plus a few relevant screenshots. A new Dutch FS Event will be held in the Aviodrome on November 5 and 6, 2005. Want to know more about previous events, follow this link (mostly in Dutch).
     

The Downloads

On the Downloads pages you will find a selection of versions that have been around, starting with the early FS1 versions for the Apple (January 1980, see animation below) and TRS-80 (March 1980). They were both created by Bruce Artwick and released by subLOGIC, the little firm he started in Champaign, Ill together with Stu Moment. Then there is a selection of releases of the next version FS II for the Apple II (1983), Commodore 64 (1983) and Atari ST (1986). There have been more, but you can't have it all. But if you have something additional on offer, don't hesitate.

As I don't have the original computers these programs run on, I had to find emulators that run on a current Pentium PC and the appropriate disk-image of the particular FS version. So you won't need the old Apple II cassette deck, nor a 5,25" floppy disk. The downloads contain simple instructions for setting up the emulators and running the old Flight Simulators. Control key reference cards are available to be able to control the old versions. With respect to the emulators I only use free programs, preferably Windows versions.

Next to the above you will find copies of the early versions of Flight Simulator for the PC that subLOGIC (later BAO) created for Microsoft. From version 1 (1982) to 4.0b (1990) and 5.0a (1993). Again with control key reference cards and instructions. These are all MD-DOS programs. Some of them will run directly in a DOS box under Windows. Others need special software in order to run them on a current Windows PC. You might encounter some speed problems; after all, a current P4-3.0 is about 1000 times faster than a PC-XT from the time of MS FS 1.0. You don't need special hardware like joysticks or yokes and pedals. All versions can be flown from the keyboard. Which btw is still possible even with FS2004!


Copyright issues

Of course there are copyright issues involved. If I am informed correctly Artwick retained all Flight Simulator copyright when he quit subLOGIC in 1988 and founded BAO. When in 1996 Microsoft took over BAO, they acquired all FS copyrights too, including the rights to the old (subLOGIC) Apple, Commodore etc. versions. Since that time Bruce Artwick has been involved only as a consultant. I tried to do it the right way, writing letters to Microsoft for permission to put the old versions up for download. But none of them were answered. Yet they know who I am, as my FS History website is featured in their list of links. So it seems this is a non-issue for Microsoft.

Recently there has also been a movement to slacken the copyright on old versions of programs that are no longer sold nor maintained. The passing through of this type of program without commercial goals should be allowed now. Considering that the old versions have no real commercial value to Microsoft any more, but ever so more sentimental value to a lot of us flightsimmers, I went along with this download website. It is completely separate from my history site, as not to embarrass my generous host. I am not making any money from it, instead it has cost me enough. And I suppose that you will act in the same spirit, only downloading the odd version for your personal nostalgic flight in the blue or grey yonder of the old FS versions.

Credits

You can't set up a website like this without the help of a lot of people. I will mention them on the download pages where it's most appropriate. But I have to pay special attention to the two people who have helped me the most: Hubert Born from Germany and Josef Havlik from the Czech Republic. Both helped me with several versions and the associated emulators. I am sure that without their support and encouragement I would never have pulled through. So you probably owe it to them that this website indeed came through.

And of course I thank Miguel Blaufuks, director of simFlight, for providing the necessary web space and bandwidth needed for hosting both The Old FS Vault and the Flight Simulator History website.

I wish you many happy memories and much fun! To wet your appetite below an animated sequence from A2-FS1, the first ever release of Flight Simulator for the Apple II by subLOGIC in 1980. With already a 3D "view out of the window" on top of a simple panel. The world is also still a bit simple, so FS pilots had to have a strong imagination.

Your webmaster: Jos Grupping, Overasselt, The Netherlands
 

Animated pictures from FS1 for the Apple II (1979)
Animated sequence of pictures from FS1 for the Apple II (1980)
 


If you like my websites and think They're worth a link on your own website, please use the following transparent link-logo with the associated hyperlink to the main FS History website (http://fshistory.simflight.com/) :

Have fun,

Your webmaster: Jos Grupping, Overasselt, The Netherlands


Latest revision: 26.09.2008


 
Flight Simulator Microsoft
This website Jos Grupping 2001 (joscmg@xs4all.nl)