by Jonathan M. Stern
When I began to tire of "playing" with Flight Simulator in the mid-1980s, I stumbled upon two books that transformed Flight Simulator from an interesting play thing into a serious simulation experience for me. One was a classic work from the 1940s called Stick & Rudder by Wolfgang Langewiesche. It is still readily available, and I recommend that book to anyone interested in aviation. The second book that changed my perspective was Flying On Instruments With Flight Simulator by Jonathan M. Stern.
Flying On Instruments With Flight Simulator opened up a new world for my use of Flight Simulator. I never before dreamed that flying on instruments with no "out the window" graphics could actually be fun.
I still vividly recall an experience that occurred shortly after I read Flying On Instruments With Flight Simulator in 1987. I was navigating a Lear Jet from Chicago to Detroit at night over a heavy overcast. As I descended into the cloud layer, my strobe lights began to flash in my eyes as the light was reflected inside the cloud. The flashing intensified my unease as a crosswind fought to move me off my course. My palms were getting sweaty and my heartbeat increased. When I broke out of the clouds to find the runway before me and made a successful landing, I thought to myself what a remarkable experience this inexpensive program has given me.
I bought a modem and began to seek out other Flight Simulator aficionados. I had heard that Flight Simulator was the best selling entertainment software of all time, but I found it very difficult to find other users on the on-line services. Finally, a small group of enthusiasts started gathering on CompuServe, and I became the first Section Leader of this group. That one small section of one forum grew into three sections and, finally, into an entire forum. As the simulation genre has grown with the PC revolution, so has our FSFORUM (Flight Simulation Forum) on CompuServe. It now has many thousands of members from all parts of the globe.
I might have lost interest in flight simulation years ago if I hadn't read Stick and Rudder and Flying On Instruments With Flight Simulator. It has been my pleasure to become friends with Jonathan M. Stern in the past few years, and now I'm very pleased to find that he has written a new, up-to-date book on flying with Flight Simulator. I hope that his new book will introduce you to the thrilling aspects of simulated flight in the same way that his previous book introduced me to simulated instrument flight.
Rick Lee, Associate SysOp
CompuServe Flight Simulation Forum (GO FSFORUM)
Charleston, West Virginia