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13.06.2011  20:47

My passion

text: Stanisław "Stanel" Lisonek,

A long, long time ago, when I was a little boy, all my friends dreamed about becoming a fireman or an aviator. And I, ever since I can remember, have always been inclined toward the latter idea and have been trying to make these dreams come true in many ways. Today, despite the fact that many, many years have passed and life brought me what it brought me, my childhood desire is still the same.

While exploring fundamental knowledge in the fields of spelling, grammar, basic arithmetic and life sciences, I started my aviation adventure by making cardboard model airplanes first, which actually were quite clumsy at the beginning.

Then, together with my older brothers I constructed a bit more technically advanced but still crude copies of aeroplanes made mostly of wood, papier mache, wire and foamed polystyrene. Due to the shortage of the so called market supply I was using paint destined for leather colouring which had a lovely name, Wilbra, and was sold in a handy small bottles at a reasonable price. In my early teenage years I constructed my first model of a flying glider called Swallow. Even though its copy no. 001 wouldn't fly straight, later models performed much better in this respect. Subsequent Swallows and later also Woodpeckers conquered the skies of my district, Gocław in Warsaw, which at that time was also the location of a sport airport.

The next stage of my "aviation adventure" was the purchase of a Jena self igniting internal combustion engine (which I had bought with my hard earned savings) and the constructing of a captive aeroplane model called Breeze. This plane was practically indestructible. After each catastrophe in flight training it rose like a Phoenix from the ashes throughout the night .

When one day I was given a professional MVVS glow plug ignition engine produced by Polish neighbours, the Czechs, I began the construction of a simple-flying tethered model of JAK-18P. Life was really tough then and everything had to be "negotiated" and not just bought. So I had to "negotiate" the purchase of ethyl alcohol, amyl nitrate, castor oil, balsa, pumped wheels, metal plate and air pipes. To my sorrow, the plane failed to finish a full circle and it plummeted and buried itself in the ground, breaking its propeller and undercarriage. I got to the reconstruction of this model right away and fortunately the following days brought me only success. Even though the model was difficult to pilot, it flew wonderfully, which was a perfect reward for the time and effort devoted to its creation.

Finally, there came times of radio controlled models. Unfortunately I wasn't given the joy of playing them, for when I entered my adult life, I was forced to set myself a slightly different list of priorities.

I returned to "flying" just when the world was welcoming new appliances called computers. ZX81 was the first one to have the PSION company application installed on it, which I used with undisguised delight. It was a primitive simulation of landing a rather indefinite machine, which was written with the use of text characters and navigated on the keyboard.

Then there appeared aviation "scrolling shooter" video games for ZX Spectrum and ATARI 800 with the cult classic River Raid on the top. I encountered the first Flight Simulator at the time, when I already was a proud owner of ATARI ST. Subsequent simulator versions were available for our veteran PC. For a short time there was the reign of such simulators as Fly and Flight Unlimited. The latter one left me a souvenir – an unframed map of San Francisco's neighbourhood has been hanging on my office's wall till today. I became a real "simmer" with the invention of the so called Internet and more and more perfect versions of Flight Simulator with its numerous extras. The beginning of this passion is related to FS95, then FS98 and the following ones. Somewhere near the FS2000 version I discovered VATSIM and online flying. At that time my phone bills reached improbably high amounts of money. Fixed broadband connections were still to be invented. The function of Neostrada, which is one of the most popular broadband connections in Poland, was performed by 56 kb modem, which was capable of providing sound and video. However, it was worth spending all your money in order to meet people from all over the world, fly with friends from national virtual airlines and make friends with many wonderful people.

One day, flying with the group of a dozen or so friends above Alaska, Alan from Ireland said:

"Stan, it is really unbelievable. I come from Ireland, Kim from Australia, Eric, Matt and Paul from US, Martin from the Netherlands, Nandy from India, Mick from England and Leon from Southern Africa. We are flying above Alaska and a Polish man is telling us stories about it. We have been friends for a couple of years. And all this thanks to our hobby – flying".

I think this is one of these moments which remind you why it is worth experiencing the fun of virtual flying.

Today, looking at it from the perspective of time and considering my past and present life choices, with my job career apparently far different from my childhood dreams, carrying the full responsibility I can state with complete conviction that you should never give up even your most daring desires. Sooner or later you will be able to make your dreams come true, if not in the real world, then for sure in the form of a hobby. As for me, it is a hobby which gives me a lot of joy and a wide spectrum of opportunities.

Today I don't limit myself just to the role of "an aviator". I often test newly produced models of virtual planes, sceneries or addons with pleasure – the effects of such tests are available on my Internet website here under the tab "Reviews". "Stories" is a place of rarely known curiosities regarding the history of aviation. Ready to use flight plans are located under the "Flight routes" tab. The tab "Manuals" reveals user manuals for particular plane models and the hints under the "Tips and Tricks" may provide you with knowledge which is fundamental while soaring in virtual skies. Also, I would like to invite you to the "Gallery", where I present my favorite virtual world photos.

Additionally, I run a collection of video guides for beginners, called "Easy flying".

This way I try to provide my visitors with the necessary knowledge for getting satisfaction and having fun while using Flight Simulator. All simplifications and colloquial language included in the materials were used by me on purpose so that lessons would be easy and understandable. Those who are looking for full and professional instruction have numerous websites with forums and various literature to choose from.

Every day I wake up with the thought that if there is just one person who learns from my previous experience, then the time and energy which I used to describe it, apart from my personal satisfaction, will gain additional value. Another truth comes to my mind now, the truth which says that a human being learns best from his/her mistakes. Every day my hobby makes it possible to learn actively, to broaden your knowledge and gain new experience. I hope that you won't find many mistakes on my website, however, if any of you would like to support the contents which I present, don't hesitate to share your suggestions with me.

See also: PZL-104 Wilga Go up
A long, long time ago, when I was a little boy, all my friends dreamed about becoming a fireman or an aviator. And I, ever since I can remember, have always been inclined toward the latter idea.