FS-1 on the Apple II (1980) Meigs  -  FS2000

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On behalf of myself and all of you, FS-friends, who visit my website, I like to thank Miguel Blaufuks, director of simFlight.
He kindly offered to house the FS History website and take the burden of all the needed disk space and traffic.



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The last Dutch FlightsIm Weekend on 5/6 November 2005 in the Dutch Aviation Museum (or Theme Park) Aviodrome at Lelystad  was again a huge success. Not in  the least because of all the work by our great organiser Frans Broekhuijsen.

And yes, like in 2004 FS History was also present with a small booth. For an impression look here:

With more participants and more visitors then ever before in this fantastic venue this probably deserves the title Biggest FS Event in the World".

The next FS-Weekend will take place at the same venuein November 2006, hopefully with FS-X. See you?

For a report by Rob de Vries take a look at the website:


Latest revision: 16-11-07

Bruce Artwick

Read what the University of Illinois has to say about her famous former student:

Highlight from Spring 1996

Bruce Artwick is still flying:

and thanks to his software, many of us can too

Bruce Artwick, BS EE'75, MS EE'76 is best known as the author of the landmark program Flight Simulator, now in its fifth version, sold by Microsoft. He is also founder of two successful companies: SubLOGIC and BAO.Bruce Artwick 1996

 Before writing Flight Simulator, Bruce Artwick was deep into computer hardware, honing his skills in the basement of DCL (Digital Computer Lab). From those depths, he rose from the earth to the sky with Flight Simulator and, most recently, to faraway galaxies with his latest creation, Space Simulator.

Artwick, a native of Norridge, Illinois, attended Triton Junior College in River Grove before coming to U of I to study computer engineering in 1973. He switched to electrical engineering because he thought that in those early days of computing, the EE degree would be better understood by most people.

While he was a student, Artwick applied his interest in aviation and did research at the Aviation Research Lab while working as a technician in DCL. In 1975-76, as a member of the graphics group headed by Professor Bill Gear, Artwick designed graphics terminals in DCL. His thesis work was on 3-D graphics for flight simulation, and during the course of this work, he became a pilot.

Artwick recalls the many hours spent on the graphics terminals which he designed for the UNIX system in DCL. "We had one of the first UNIX systems in the country," said Artwick. "I worked with Al Whaley [BS'74, PhD'84] and Greg Chesson [MS'75, PhD'77] setting it up on the PDP 11, and I designed a lot of the multiplexor plug-ins. Ken Thompson [original developer of UNIX, from Bell Labs] was there." The multiplexors allowed terminals to be directly hooked up to the PDP 11, an early client-server system. Later on, Artwick designed parts of the dial-in system that allowed remote users to connect to the machine by 300-baud modem. "I learned more working in the basement of DCL than in classes," he said.

After graduation in 1976, at the beginning of the microcomputer revolution, Artwick went to work for Hughes Aircraft in Culver City, California. Because Artwick understood how to write graphics routines for microcomputers, and he knew the capabilities of their microprocessors from his PDP 11 work, he figured that he could do 3-D dynamic graphics on 6800-based machines as well. Artwick wrote a program and a few magazine articles about this idea. One of the magazine editors called Artwick and asked him if he sold the program because some of the readers wanted to buy it. So, Artwick founded his first company, in Los Angeles in 1977, and called he it SubLOGIC. The name was a reference to the logic circuits he had built for the PDP 11 in DCL.

 SubLOGIC's business strategy was to sell their software by mail. In two years, the business had grown substantially and Artwick was finding Los Angeles to be too crowded for his liking. So he moved part of the operation back to Champaign-Urbana with the assistance of his flight instructor, Stu Moment, BS BusAdmin, MBA'80. At that time, SubLOGIC was selling graphics packages to run on machines like the Altair 8800 and Imsai 8080. Customers were mostly computer hobbyists and scientific people.

In January 1979, Flight Simulator (FS) was launched for the Apple II. Then, as now, most of the users of FS were not pilots themselves. SubLOGIC continued to grow and came out with a number of different versions of FS and other entertainment programs. Their products were extremely popular on the Apple II, Commodore 64, and Atari 800, the home computers of the day. Early in 1982, FS became the top-selling software for Apple.

Artwick then got a call from Microsoft. Microsoft was working with another company that was coming out with a new computer that they predicted would revolutionize the industry, and they wanted to put FS on it to show off the machine's graphics capabilities. At the same time, Artwick recevied a similar call from IBM. He opted to work with Microsoft, and the new, revolutionary computer turned out to be the IBM PC. Artwick figures he had the first IBM PC in Champaign-Urbana. In November 1982, FS became the first entertainment program available for the IBM PC, and naturally it became a bestseller as well.

"Flight Simulator pushed hardware to the limit," Artwick explained. "PC designers used Flight Simulator as a benchmark for PC compatibility." Artwick worked with Compaq on the first PC clones, and in the process, actually found a bunch of bugs in the IBM machines.

In the late 1980s, SubLOGIC ran into hard times because the 8-bit market had shifted to 16-bit, so Artwick left SubLOGIC and formed BAO (Bruce Artwick Organization) to continue his FS work. The market for FS had expanded to include products for the Federal Aviation Administration, and BAO was producing other aviation-related software for things like tower control simulation for training air traffic controllers. BAO employed about 35 people.

In addition to software and technical papers, Artwick wrote several books, including Microcomputer Displays, Graphics, and Animation (Prentice-Hall, 1985), and Microcomputer Interfacing (Prentice-Hall, 1980).

BAO's latest creation is Space Simulator. It is reportedly the most advanced and complex simulation program ever created for the PC, and with it, the user pilots a spacecraft through the heavens.

Microsoft has been marketing BAO products all these years, but in November 1995, Artwick sold the assets of BAO to Microsoft, and most of the BAO staff moved to Seattle. SubLOGIC was purchased by Sierra. Artwick and five employees remain at BAO in Champaign, and Artwick plans to continue his simulator and graphics work. He also enjoys flying real planes as well!

Comments to: alumni@cs.uiuc.edu

Published with permission of the University of Illinois.



November 15, 2007

Last week at the AVSIM 2007 Conference I received a Reader's Choice Award.

I would like to thank my friend Frans Broekhuijsen, great organiser of the Dutch Flight Simulator Events in the Aviodrome at Lelystad for his nomination and all the AVSIM visitors for voting on me. I feel very honoured and will most certainly continue with this website. Please come back for a major update before the end of the year.

May 12, 2005

Added nice overview of the web statistics, based on the NEDSTAT counter and statistics.
Go to the Miscellaneous Page or follow  this direct link.

April 25, 2005

Renewed the Introduction page and repaired some broken links. Added a link to Milehigh Productions.

Just as most other leading FS organizations in The Netherlands FS History was present at the recent Dutch National FS Event on  April 16&17 at the Aviodrome. Look here for a small impression.

March 30, 2005

Small facelift, including a new logo, consistent with that of The Old FS Vault. Some small textual corrections and aditions. New FlipAlbum "Manual-covers" at the Gallery page.

February 20, 2005

Correction of the birth year of Flight Simulator. From the old information I was (mis)lead to believe that the first release of FS1 for the Apple II was in October 1979. However all evidence now point to January 1980 for that first release. So untill I receive real proof otherwise I will take 1980 as the birth year of FS. So I feel like I owe you an apology!

February 9, 2005

Update of Wanted List and Reactions Pages. Most wanted: volumes 1 and 2 of MicroWINGS Magazine.

November 25, 2004

This date marks the start of a big upgrade of the total website. The first changes can be found on the introductory page and the news page. Look for the links to some visual additions.

The first is a draft of a new video (in cooperation with Josef Havlik and based on an idea  by Marcus Thompson) about the development of Flight Simulator over the years containing video-clips of all relevant old versions. You will probably need a high speed connection for the 95 Mb download. The second is a copy of the poster-session, created for the Dutch FS weekend in the Aviodrome in October 2004.

Then there is interesting news about the ever so often requested downloads of old FS versions, for which a new companion site has been created:    "The Old FS Vault".

Look out for more changes and updates before the end of the year. For more information and other news see the NEWS page.

December 13, 2003

A complete revision of the Timeline, introducing the concept of "generations" and adding FS2004 (FS9).

The content of the central STORY has also been reworked as  introductory chapter of the "Good Flight Simmer's Guide", release 2002 by Mike Clark, published by PC Aviator.

Click to connect

For more information, click on the cover above.

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