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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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IMG Interviews X-Plane's Austin Meyer
11:17 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted an interview with X-Plane's Austin Meyer, the creator of the popular general aviation game. Here's a clip from Tim Morgan's interview:

IMG: Probably the biggest news in X-Plane's recent history has been its FAA certification as a training aid. The certification has meant numerous changes to X-Plane to make it more viable as a tool for training student pilots. How does this affect the future of X-Plane? Are there goals you have in mind for X-Plane as a training device?

AM:This does affect X-Plane, but not as much as you might expect. My goal for X-Plane has always been realism, and with me being a pilot and engineer, I have never needed FAA-certification to tell me whether or not the sim is realistic. In fact, the FAA-certified version of X-Plane is not any "more realistic" than the retail version. All I did was remove the cool stuff like Mars flight (which is, by the way, every bit as realistic as the Earth flight) and the Space Shuttle (which is, by the way, as realistic as any other supersonic flying in X-Plane), so, the FAA-certified version of X-Plane is no more realistic or powerful then the retail version. In fact, it's the other way around: I de-feature the FAA versions so there is no non-certified content in the sim.

Now, there has been some benefit to certification. Working with experts in specific jets and turboprops for certification has caused me to improve the engine modeling in the sim, and there is a trickle-down effect (which is actually a shower, not a trickle, because 100% of this engine-modeling code is used in both the FAA and retail versions of the sim). So the FAA-cert has allowed certain areas of the sim to flesh out, and this will continue though what the FA wants is more systems modeling, not a better flight model. The flight model for X-Plane is already fine, and is being used clear up to FTD-level six right now. That lets pilots train at a very high level of certification; we're talking about rescue pilots flying the EC-135 medivac helos on X-Plane here to keep up their skills.

To check out the entire interview, please follow the link below.

IMG Feature: Interview With X-Plane's Austin Meyer
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