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

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The Story

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 3&4 November 2007 in the Dutch Aviation Museum Aviodrome Lelystad  was again a huge success. Not in  the least because of all the work by our great chief Frans Broekhuijsen.

And yes, like in 2006 FS History was also present with a small booth. For an impression look here:

FS History-booth-2007

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 venue on 2 & 3 November 2008,   See you?


Reports of previous events
at the

Latest revision: 23-08-08

Introductionclick for larger picture

The year 1980, birth of a legend

In most publications about the history of Flight Simulator you will find 1979 as the year of its first release. Even the manual for version 2 (A2-FS2, issued in 1983 by subLOGIC) states: "his (Bruce Artwick's) first FS1 program for the Apple II was released in 1979". However, after a thorough search in cooperation with Marc-André Handfield from Canada, we could only draw the conclusion that the first release of A2-FS1 actually must have taken place in January 1980 and not in 1979!

We also know that FS1 for the Apple II (A2-FS1) came first and that the (rather more crude) version  for the TRS-80 (T80-FS1) was released subsequently in March 1980, as printed in the manual. Moreover the manually explicitly states that T80-FS1 is an improved version of A2-FS1. We might of course be wrong when subLOGIC used similar marketing strategies as Microsoft did with the last few versions, like releasing FS2000 in October 1999 etc. But for FS1 we decided to stay with the printed evidence.

So, at least until further proof otherwise, I will for now take the year 1980 for the birth year of Flight Simulator. If you have evidence that we are wrong, please let us know (if possible with a copy of the evidence). You can find my e-mail address on the Contact page.

BTW: after starting this website in 2001 I immediately started receiving many e-mails from fellow flightsimmers who wanted to relive the old times, if possible by trying them old versions hands-on. In order to fulfill their wishes  a companion website has been created by the name The Old Flight Simulator Vault. This website provides downloads of many of the old FS versions, from FS1 (1980) to FS5 (1993), with matching emulators that run on your current day Pentium PC. Instructions for installation and keyboard reference cards are available too!!  Visit the Old FS Vault.

1980-2005: 25 years of Flight Simulator

Whether it started in 1979 or 1980, it's fair to speak of a Legend, when we talk about (Microsoft) Flight Simulator. A legend that has been around since 25 years and is reportedly the program in the public sector, of which the most copies are sold. This website is dedicated to this legend and to its genius creator: Bruce Artwick. But let's not forget the important role of subLOGIC and Microsoft as distributors.

This website tried to describe the complete history of the development of Flight Simulator and the special world that has sprung from it, starting 25 years ago with the release of version A2-FS1 for the then popular Apple II, a few months later followed by a similar but graphically inferior version for the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80. Artwick's own firm subLOGIC not only did the the development, but also the marketing and sales, Microsoft wasn't yet in the picture until 1982, when the fist version for the IBM PC was released!  But first: how did it look like in the old days? See below:

Animation of the working of FS1 on the Apple II

N.B. The animated sequence above was made with the Apple version. This animation is included to give an idea of how the first version of Flight Simulator looked like in 1979/1980. It's not a real video of the running simulation. It's just a sequence of pictures, captured from the screen of an Apple II emulator, running the second release of FS1 (with "panel"). The actual frame rate is (was) much better, in fact the Pentium used had to be slowed down a factor of 1000 to be able to run the simulation at a reasonable speed.

The early FS-1 world of 1980 is 6 x 6 squares "large" and flat, with paper thin mountains as stage wings on one side. The airfield with "hangar" is in one corner with one runway, another airfield somewhere in the middle. The very first version already shows a kind of panel with  2 round gauges for airspeed and altitude and a 3D out-of-the window vies above. In fact the screen is a "bit" simpler, but not really different from that of the current version. . Due to the poor graphical resolution the TRS-80 version did not have the round gauges, but just 2 rows with the essential flight- parameters in numbers.

For about a year I searched the Internet, read FS-books and communicated by e-mail with a lot of other FS-fans to unravel the fascinating history of Flight Simulator. I met a lot of nice people, who were very helpful with information, material and encouragements. My thanks go to all of them; you can find their names on the "Acknowledgements" page and where appropriate. My special gratitude goes to Miguel Blaufuks, director of simFlight, who inspired me to persevere and kindly offered to provide the necessary disk space and bandwidth to house this website. Thank you all very much: without your help and interest this would never have taken shape.

FS History posters and video


Although this website contains a lot of pictures from the succeeding versions of FS, its main info is text. To satisfy the more visually oriented people I offer you the following videos. The first one is a sequence of posters from the respective versions, showing information about the singular versions in the form of a picture of the front of the box plus two screenshots from the simulation. The poster-session was recently renewed for the Dutch FS Weekend in the Aviodrome on April 16&17.

FS History videos

Then there are not one, but two new videos about the Development of Flight Simulator. Both are the result of a close cooperation between Josef Havlik (form the Czech Republic), Marcus Thompson. (Milehigh Productions, USA) and yours truly. The original idea is by Marcus Thompson, the basic data were derived (where else) from our own The Old FS Vault and Josef Havlik created many special emulations needed for creating the video clips of the separate versions. Marcus compiled the complete movie and added the sound. To see or download Marcus's FS History movie:

For the above movie we tried to keep the size as small as possible, at the cost of reducing the resolution to 320x240. Not completely satisfied we decided to try to create another movie without this constraint. In fact Josef Havlik did most of the work. This version is still under development. But the latest release can be downloaded from this website. It covers all versions from FS1 for the Apple II (1980) to FS 9 aka FS 2004 (Century of Flight, 2003). It includes some extra versions like FS II for the Atari 400/800, MSFS 2 for the Tandy PC, FS II for the Amiga and the peculiar FS II for the MSX computer (with "torpedo attack"). Because of the higher resolution it has become a very large file and will take some time when downloaded over a slow line.

The other pages of this website

The other pages contain the result of my quest in more detail. Most of the mist has been cleared up, but I'm far from being finished yet. There are still a lot of gaps to fill in and I need your help to do that. So if you think you can help me with another piece of information, a nice picture or a working copy of one of the earlier versions, that is not yet covered, please don't hesitate to contact me. And don't forget to come back to see whether anything has been changed or added.


If you like my websites and think they're worth a link on your own website, please use the following (transparent) logos with their associated hyperlinks:

Click on logo to open the Flight Simulator History website

Click on logo to open the Old Flight Simulator Vault

hyperlinks:  https://fshistory.simflight.com/   and   https://fshistory.simflight.com/fsvault/


Have fun,

Your webmaster: Jos Grupping, Overasselt, The Netherlands

The Netherlands

August 22, 2008

The start of a complete revision of the FS History website: The first item is the entirely renewed Timeline Page

November 15, 2007

At the AVSIM 2007 Conference I got a Reader's Choice Award.


I would like to thank my good 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.

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

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This website © Jos Grupping 2001 (joscmg@xs4all.nl)