This is a blog about the worlds of aviation and PC flight simulation coming together into something magnificent. I write editorials, short historical pieces on aircraft and tactics, news and events from the simulation world, technology and more.
Stormbirds turned three years old in April 2019 and the blog continues to be a place to go for reliable information on some of the big flight sims that I’m currently playing. I want to share my love of this hobby with you and help people find their way into flight sims. It can be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll join me in the virtual skies!
A passion for the hobby
When I was just a few years old I was introduced to Blue Max on Commodore 64. That first experience with a very basic flying game and my constant pointing at the skies whenever an aircraft flew over haven’t changed in decades. I’ve flown the greats from companies like Dynamix and their A-10 Tank Killer, Aces of the Pacific, and Aces Over Europe series. I’ve flown many of Microprose’ titles such as F-15 Strike Eagle II and Strike Eagle III as well as F-14 Fleet Defender, and I spent over a decade flying the original IL-2 series including IL-2: Forgotten Battles, Pacific Fighters, and the ultimate IL-2: 1946.
We’re now living in a golden time for people who want to experience the joys of flight but may not have the time or luxury to experience that kind of thrill first hand with the latest flight sims. We now have graphics and VR features that I used to only be able to dream of and current flight simulators range from the civilian focused Flight Simulator, P3D and X-Plane to the combat oriented IL-2: Great Battles Series and Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) all make the most of the latest technology.
No matter which sim you choose, you’re entering a world of flying and aviation with plenty of challenges, a wealth of information to learn, and a real passion for escaping into the digital skies for a few minutes or a few hours.
This is a hobby and one that I and many of you feel very strongly about. I hope to share that with you through this blog.
Thoughts on combat flight sims
Most of the coverage on this blog features combat flight sims. They can be fun and entertaining but I think it’s important to separate our experiences in the sim world with exploding pixels and the real conflicts that they sometimes represent. War is a terrible thing and its true horror is something that I feel requires constant study. Simulated combat flying is not like real combat flying but it does give us a chance to understand it a little better.
My goal with the blog is to promote the hobby of flight simulation first. While titles like IL-2 and DCS do have combat as the backdrop of the flying experience, I feel strongly too that flight simulators like these are much more than just shooting things on a screen. The flying, navigating, understanding the mechanical operations and the overall piloting experience matters and all of these together help to understand both civilian and military aviation.