Glad to see we are both getting the same sort of message, must mean things are becoming concrete. I understand that Beta testing is underway and client Beta's will be in circulation some time next week.
But first of all I have a humongous apology to make. I missed last night! I am sure you can all imagine how much I wanted to be there and only something big would have kept me away which it did.
I'll relay the story here as it is quite amusing, although wasn't at the time!
My car has been in the garage (main dealer) for some warranty repairs the past few days, yesterday it was ready and due to be shipped back to me on a lorry yesterday afternoon. I made sure someone was in and went out for an afternoon on the speedboat to forget a rather hassled day at work. Arrived home to find no car on the drive...a little disappointed I rang the dealer who confirmed that it had been picked up and dropped off.... I took another look outside on the drive and let them know it most definitely not there.
An hour later (about 8pm) they rang me to inform it had certainly been dropped off at Went Hill Park in Essex. Which is great...... Only I don't live there. In fact I live 120 Miles Away in Went Hill Park, Seaford. East Sussex.
Despite the late hour I told them to get their arse in gear and get the car back before the person they handed the keys to decided to go off on a joyride in my pride and joy!
Thankfully it all resolved this morning....after a very sleepless night. The car is back at the garage and has been checked over and I'm off to pick it up later.
As for the new pilot network I think it is going to be pretty good, Who's going to turn down a 20% discount on the latest gear eh? and as long as we get to keep the FPI software then thats ok by me.
One thing I have run by grant is the idea of a UK user group organising regional events and using their network, that all got the OK so I think we could be in business lads. Lets see what the testing brings.
As FPI started winding down Grant and Stefan were looking at ways to keep the system going. This is good news as Stefan is the software designer and he obviously wants to keep his work under development - one reason why they turned down offers from other online services for his stuff. The new system is going to be similar but also very different. To understand this here is the original email from Grant. Please don't come to any conclusions as you read - there is more to add later. Hello John,I As JHB is a long standing FPI supporter I would like to let you in on some still very confidential future plans. I must ask you to keep these details confidential for the moment. I am putting together a Pilot Club. People from all around the world can become a member of the club and take advantage of special member services. To give you a quick overview of what Pilot Club will offer it’s members: - Greatly reduced software / hardware : we will offer 15% to 20% reduction on leading FS add-ons (and that in time for FSX too ;-) ) - Club REAL events – every month we will organize events around the globe which club members can participate in (i.e. control tower visits, maintenance hall visits, Airbus visit, etc. – we have lots of contacts in these areas). Around the globe – as we are aware that UK members will probably not participate in an event organized in Australia – as an example. Thus, events will be organized in all countries where are main membership is located. - Reduced entrance costs at existing flight shows, conferences, exhibitions, etc. - Club Miles – whenever a product is purchased you gain miles and can cash them in against other products. We will also give away Club Miles for participation in events, or via contests, etc. - We will offer members exclusive downloads – also high speed downloads to commonly available products (freeware). Members will also have the possibility to preview (event test) commercial products before they are released (we have contract with several add-on manufacturers). - Club Communicator – a new piece of communication software currently being developed – more details later on this. Will also have special VA communication options! - An online flying network + Pilot tools (weather, charts, NOTAMS). - Universal Event Calendar - Member Card - Monthly give-aways - And a few other goodies we have just about finalized. So, what does all this have to do with FPI? Number 1: I am very lucky that Stefan Widdau (FPI’s software developer + founder) is onboard and developing all the software for us; Number 2: Pilot Club has taken over the FPI online network (software and servers). Pilot Club will offer Pilot Club members this network to fly on. Please note we are not trying to go up against vatsim or ivao. They are both very good at what they do and that is just fine. The Pilot Club network will be a relaxed network where VA’s could train their members, people can conduct group flights, people can just jump online and go for a buzz, etc. The ATC software + Pilot Client will naturally be available to Club members – but we can not / will not promote is as a Real As It Gets network. More over a relaxed come fly with us network for club members. AND, it is only one of the many services offered to Pilot Club members. It is not the main point of Pilot Club. Side note : Pilot Club membership will cost 1,99 Euro per month. At the moment we are currently modifying the server structure & software to function with Pilot Club. We plan to launch Pilot Club in the middle of October (if FSX comes out before then we will launch before then – but I don’t think that will be the case). I am going to need some ‘beta testers’ over the coming weeks. We would like to invite JHB to do this. All the software should work fine – if a bug does pop-up naturally we would love to hear about it. It will provide JHB with a known platform to continue flying on + plus we will be coming out with some new software with the guys can get a look at – and also inform us if there are any bugs in it ;-) The network will not show-up in ServInfo yet – but we will tell you know to modify it so that it does. We would ask all JHB pilots to not communicate the new network to the outside world before the October launch – but they are free to fly on it whenever they want over the coming weeks. We will be ready with the restructure by the end of next week. Thus, we can make the new software available to the group by then (it will be the same FPI express software – only known bugs have been removed and it will say Pilot Club instead of FPI and will have a different color). For JHB this would mean that the network would only go offline for a few days while we make the necessary changes – then its straight back online for you. Is this of interest for you? If yes, please let me know and we’ll promptly get things moving in the right direction. If you have any questions just let me know. Look forward to having you guys onboard! Grant Quite different isn't it? Some points to think about.. 1.The Pilot Club is a completely different organisation to FPI and is offering a much broader range of services. Whether any of these appeal to you is actually immaterial if you are only interested in the online facilities. 2. The online network is just part of the whole. Grant is providing it as just one of many services and it will come with no frills - no organised pilot or ATC structure. It will simply be an online network - effectively a global multiplayer network with ATC capability. It therefore becomes a rather unique system that we can evolve as we see fit to - which makes Alex's idea of a UK ATC/Pilot organisation very sound indeed. As Grant says it certainly won't be VATSIM or AVSIM but it could never be without a huge number of qualified pilots/controllers to get such a system up and running. I think we all must accept that this will never happen and that VATSIM/IVAO already have the best talent - and they have both evolved into real life and over complex facilities. 3. The intended charge of 1.99 per month has been dropped. It will be a free service. 4. The current FPI software will work on the new system but it is being rewritten. The new software will be a development of ATOC Express and ICP - both of which we have been invited to beta test. At the moment I don't know what changes are being made to this software. 5. Grant still has your email addresses from the FPI membership list. I have provided Stefan with a list of all current JHB pilots and he will generate new ID's and passwords for each to access the new system. I assume these will be posted to you all directly later in the week. As this approach is being made specifically to me as JHC Hub Captain I am not sure what steps Grant is making regarding the UK ATC element - but Kevin, John, Dave and Frank are already on the JHB payroll and should therefore have network access. My assumption is that Grant will (or has) approached Alex for inviting non JHB UK users onto the system - or may have to be reminded that controllers are still part of the new system. To some extent it means that we can carry on much as before and still have UK events running on an ATC network. What I can't answer right now is whether there will be any booking system or Events notification (either as web pages or a section in the Pilot Club forum). We will have to see how the system evolves and then see if we can ask Pilot Club for such things if demand shows they are a necessity. For now I'd not like to get into any discussion about the new Pilot Club organisation itself as that is somewhat out of our remit. Some of you may like the idea - and some may not. What is more important is how we see the new network and how we can work with it - both to our advantage and maybe to influence any newcomers to the system. bones bones@xxxxxxx http://fsaviation.net