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

Flight Simulator Timeline

Below you will find a chronological overview of how Flight Simulator developed over time.  The version history for the first decade is a bit confusing because of the different numbering by the two concurrent distributors subLOGIC and Microsoft. That’s part of the reason why I prefer to talk about “generations” in stead of versions. With generation I mean a collection of all versions with the same features. This is however not new, because for some reason or another both subLOGIC and Microsoft use the same term internally in the introductory chapters of their manuals as well as in the file-numbering!

Some people maintain that Flight Simulator History started in 1982 with the release of FS 1.0 for the IBM PC; at least Microsoft does. A this was the first version with a more or less “complete” panel and with scenery replicating real places and airports, one could agree this. However, because this version of FS is built by the same developer (Bruce Artwick) on the concepts of the earlier version 1 for the Apple II and TRS-80 one could as well argue that the history of FS starts in 1980. Taking the latter view:

 in 2005 we celebrate the 25th birthday of Flight Simulator

After all these years of research I am quite convinced that most of the data on this website are correct. But because of contradictions between my original sources I can't guarantee it. So if you have reason to believe that some of the data below are wrong, please let me know, if possible with that reason. Additional information and material is also very welcome. You can find my address on the "Contacts" page.


"FS-0" - engineering thesis by Bruce Artwick: 3D-graphics demo of the simulation of flight on the Apple-II .


Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment start subLOGIC to market graphics and systems software for microcomputers, amongst which the once famous "Night Mission Pinball" and the even more famous "Flight Simulator".

Jan 1980

First Generation: FS1 for the Apple II, 4 color/monochrome, with a 2-gauge panel (airspeed, altitude), on cassette tape.

Mar 1980

first release of FS1 for the Tandy TRS-80 (16 Kb), monochrome, without panel, on cassette tape.


new releases of FS 1 for the Apple II, with altitude-counter, enhanced terrain lay-out, "3D"-mountains and other structures. On 5¼” floppy disk.


new release of FS1 for the TRS-80 with enhancements, on 5¼” floppy

Nov 1982

Second Generation: Microsoft releases FS 1.0 (created by subLOGIC) for the IBM-PC: 4 color (+ dithering), panel with 8 gauges, new co-ordinate system, 4 scenery areas (20 airports) , 2 COM radios and DME (no ADF), 9 view directions, weather, slew, simulated aircraft is a Cessna 182.


first release of FS II for the Apple II by SubLOGIC, comparable to PC-version, but 6-color, solid filled, 4 areas, now with 80 airports, more roads, rivers, mountains, buildings, bridges, ADF, simulated aircraft is a Piper Archer. Nice manuals.


new releases of FS II (8-color) for the Commodore 64 and Atari-800.
Several new releases with some added functionality for all processors follow.


several new releases by MS of FS 2.1x for the IBM PC with the same functionality as FS II, including a special version for Tandy computers. The manuals for these and subsequent versions were first class.

Mar 1986


Microsoft releases FS 1.0 for Apple Macintosh. Monochrome 320x240 display (the first Mac did not have a colour monitor!) Despite the version number the first release of the Third Generation: an enhanced co-ordinate system and expanded and enhanced (buildings, bridges) scenery with 5 areas including120 airports; new menu system, multiple (detachable) windows and multiple views (including spot view) and Autopilot. The aircraft: the trusted Cessna 182RG and a new Learjet 25.


subLOGIC releases FS II (or as I call it FS III) for the Amiga and Atari-ST (built on the same processor as the Apple Macintosh). Functionally the same as the Mac version, except for the 16-color, 320x240 display and the non-detachable windows. The same expanded scenery and aircraft. Also comparable to FS 3.0 for the PC (1988), all together considered the Third Generation. Most important extra: the multiplayer option.


first add-on sceneries by subLOGIC, gradually covering the whole of the USA, compatible with both Microsoft and subLOGIC FS versions.


first non-USA add-on scenery (Western European Tour, with special Paris, London and Munich scenery) by subLOGIC


Bruce Artwick leaves subLOGIC and founds BAO Ltd (Bruce Artwick Organisation). He retains the copyright to Flight Simulator. subLOGIC goes its own way with the development of ATP (Airline Transport Pilot).

Jun 1988

FS 3.0 (part of Third Generation), created by BAO but released by Microsoft for the PC only: 16-color EGA (640x350), new panel, new high resolution scenery structure, better weather/time of day features, flight recording/analysis, multiplayer. Mediocre flight model. Comparable to FS II for Amiga and Atari ST.

Sep 1989

Fourth Generation: FS 4.0, an improved FS 3: much better flight models, improved scenery, random weather, dynamic scenery, approach lighting systems, "aircraft design" (experimental aircraft), Schweitzer 2-32 sailplane.

Jan 1990

FS 4.0b - much needed bug fix release (nothing new under the sun). After this release is a huge time-gap to the next version, leaving room for third parties to enter the FS scene with their own add-on developments.


A&SD (Aircraft and Scenery Designer), programmed by BAO, released by  Microsoft, features Boeing 747 with first “glass panel”.


version of MS FS 4.0 for the Macintosh: same functionality, superior but monochrome graphics, freely movable windows, compatible with add-on sceneries, no multiplayer.


SGA (Sound, Graphics and Aircraft Update) by Mallard, features the first Concorde and an enhanced panel for the Boeing 747 (800x600 resolution)!


SEE (Scenery Enhancement Editor), by Laemming Wheeler (Kikiware)


new series of add-on sceneries for USA, Europe, Japan and elsewhere by subLOGIC, Mallard and other firms.


AAF (Aircraft and Adventure Factory) by Mallard: including first "real" ATC.

Sep 1993

Fifth Generation: FS 5.0: 640x400, 256-color, new "true" world co-ordinate system, better mountains, buildings, aircraft, weather, sounds etc. First real textures, including photo real Meigs. Many bugs.

Feb 1994

FS 5.0a serious bug fix release


first version of Europe-1 scenery, created by the (Dutch) Alting brothers for BAO. Featuring incredible detail and dynamic scenery objects.

Apr 1995

FS 5.1 first version on CD-rom, many improvements, like: 32 x increased resolution, better coastlines, textures, night lighting and haze in the distance.

Oct 1995

FlightShop (Aircraft-factory and  Adventure programming with ATC ) released by BAO, including Boeing 747, DC-3 and an ultralight.

Jan 1996

BAO and FS-copyright acquired by Microsoft, Artwick stays on as consultant.
Apollo buys rights to FlightShop and Europe-1 scenery.

Jan 1996

SubLOGIC taken over by Sierra to produce ProPilot.

Aug 1996

Sixth Generation: FSW95 (FS 6.0): first Windows version, 640x480, easy installation, 50% higher frame rate, better haze, completely textured, new planes (Extra 300S), etc.

Aug 1997

FS98 (FS 6.1): 15 year milestone, higher resolution (1280x1024, 16 bit color), first true helicopter simulation (Bell JetRanger 206B)

Nov 1998

Microsoft releases the first version of Combat Flight Simulator, a military flight simulator, based on the techniques and standards used in Flight Simulator.

Sep 1999

Seventh Generation: FS2000 (FS 7.0): 3D-elevation terrain, better textures, all world airports and navaids database (Jeppesen), Boeing 737-400, Mooney, King Air and Concorde. But no shadows and many other bugs.

Mar 2000

2000b update for FS2000: most problems fixed, aircraft and ground scenery shadows are back,  better and smoother performance.

Nov 2000

Release of CFS 2 (Pacific Theatre), a new version of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator. Many small improvements.

Oct 2001

Eighth Generation: FS 2002 (FS 8.0), embellished version, in which many of the then existing wishes were fulfilled. Improved 3D-elevation (mesh-scenery), AutoGen buildings, trees, virtual cockpit with working instruments, AI aircraft at airports and in the air, "live" ATC. Smooth performance.

Oct 2002

Microsoft releases CFS 3 (Battle for Europe), the next version of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator. New graphic engine, virtual cockpits.

Jul 2003

Ninth Generation: FS 2004 (FS 9.0) - “A Century of Flight”. More or less the FS 2002 as we would have liked it. Great weather and clouds. Improved mesh and autogen, much better AI aircraft and ATC. Nice old planes in keeping with the theme, better aircraft in general. Very smooth performance.

Oct 2004

(FS 9.1) - Patch to version 9.1 by Microsoft, solving a number of problems, including fixes for crashes, Autogen and multiplayer support, improved mesh support and re-installment of missing bridges. New problems with existing add-on programs.

Latest revision: 03-09-05 16:22  


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.

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