First it was dinosaurs, then cars and trucks, then it was airplanes. Since age 6 I have loved flying and the machines that make it possible. At first I simply bought toys: commercial jets, fighter jets, proper planes, anything that flew. Every time I found myself at an airport or on an airplane (that I can remember), I was glued to the window. My interest in flying was only one of many interests as a young child, falling behind sports, gameboy and my brother Charles, to name a few. Only in 2004 did I buy my first flight-oriented game: Ace Combat 04. While looking back, it was more of an arcade game, still, it had me hooked for its sheer essence of being a video-game about flying [fighter jets] and jumping into dogfight after dogfight, putting me in the cockpit, at the controls.
     That same year, I was awe-struck moments after I saw a commercial for Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight (FS9); I was entranced by what it portrayed as the magic of flying. The commercial, which I can still remember vividly, showed all different types of planes and most importantly,the cockpit for each. I wanted to fly the jumbo jets, the Cessnas, the Spirit of St. Louis... with FS9 I could. Soon there after I bought a simple joystick and played. FS9, like all Flight Simulators let you fly anywhere in the world, in any plane you would like, real-time: I loved that.
     Two years later Flight Simulator X (FSX) came out and I promptly purchased it. For all of this time, while my interest in flight was evident, it was not obvious. Only until my good friend Ryan began talking to me about how he played FSX as well did I realize that I was not the only one playing these games. As time went on, we talked more and more about our individual flights, love for flying, and increasingly vast knowledge of the subject. Finally, one summer, we had a dream to build a Shack to make our dreams of flight possible. We began by connecting a few things to each other at Ryan's apartment and then flying around the world... The rest of the story is history.

Now that The Shack is what it is, I am proud to be one of the two co-creators. While I have yet to begin the journey of earning a Pilots License, I feel that, over the years of learning and discovery through either family, internet sources, books, or expensive Boeing-approved (these (systems, shape, everything) are nearly identical to the real-life airplane) Flight Simulator add-ons, I have gained a wealth of knowledge on a subject that many simply take for granted. By no means am I an expert, but I like to think that if there were ever a situation where the pilots are unconscious and the flight attendants wearily ask if anyone "didn't eat the fish", I could walk into the flight deck, take a deep breath, and get everyone down comfortably.         

 

Wallace Cotton