Hear from inspirational people from around the world working in aviation and the flight-sim industry in general.

Matt Bromback

Airline pilot for Delta Air Lines
Director of Training – Positive Control Network

  • I love that the aviation industry is constantly changing and evolving. The technology and innovations that take place help connect the world, this to me is amazing.
  • I started flying simulators when I was about 12 years old. My very first simulator was FS5 back in the 1990’s.
  • Flight simulation played a huge role for me growing up. I was very passionate about aviation and this allowed me to grow my knowledge and curiosity. The biggest help flight simulation gave me was knowing how to read charts and talk on the radio before taking my first flying lesson.

Mitch Byers, Ehviator

Captain on the Beechcraft 1900 for an airline based in Western Canada

  • The adventure. Being able to explore the world is something I’ve always wanted to do, and aviation has allowed me to live this dream!
  • I started flying simulators first in 2006. That’s where I fell in love with flying. In 2008, I took my first flight in a Cessna 152 and the rest is history!
  • Quite a huge role. Lots of my supporters got to watch me grow up from a “pure” flight simmer into a real world airline pilot. Simulators supported me immensely through my IFR training!

Clifton Whitten

Air Traffic Manager, Boston ARTCC on VATUSA/VATSIM

  • Currently an instrument rated private pilot, in the final stages of commercial flight training, with the goal of CFI.
  • The comradery within the aviation community is unmatched. I have met some of my best friends through aviation. Also, the dynamic nature of aviation. No flights are ever the same.   It keeps things interesting and keeps you on your toes.
  • I started in the simulator, with MSFS v3.0, as an adolescent. Yes, I am that old.
  • I always remember being enamored with airplanes as a young child, but flight simulation really sparked my passion for aviation. I took a few flight lessons as a teenager, then stopped as interests diverged. I got back into flight simulation in my late 20s. I joined VATSIM shortly thereafter and eventually enrolled at vZBW as a air traffic controller. My flight simulator experience, and my experience as a virtual controller, has definitely contributed to my success as a private pilot. Coming into training with existing knowledge and experience in topics like aircraft system, airspace, radio communications, and the ability to read aeronautical charts has helped flatten the learning curve for me.

Sebastian Knoop-Troullier

Works in IT for an airline based in Texas

  • I love the feeling of taking controls of an airplane. The thrill of lifting off, the craziness of managing an ILS approach and breaking out at minimums, and the collective sigh of relief every time I touch down safely.
  • I started flying on the sim in the late 80s with Microsoft Flight Simulator v3. In Germany, GA was always expensive, so I did not start flying for real until 2013, at which point I lived in Texas and had access to lots of GA.
  • Flight simulation got me hooked. The graphics were crude in the beginning and the sound would make your ears fall off. Nevertheless, I give big credit to flight simulators for making me want to fly for real.

Dhruv Kalra

Developmental (Trainee) Air Traffic Control Specialist, FAA Minneapolis ARTCC
Air Traffic Manager, VATSIM Minneapolis ARTCC

  • The love started like most kids – face pressed against the glass at airports while traveling. This passing interest was nurtured by being taken on planespotting trips to the airport by family and friends, and later on through EAA Young Eagles flying and a handful of GA flights in airplanes owned by family friends. As rewarding as flying has been throughout the training process and growth into an aviation career on both sides of the mic, the greatest takeaway from my exposure to the world of aviation has been the lifelong friends and professional connections I’ve made along the way.
  • We had some form of simulator in the house all the way back to a copy of MSFS 4.0 when I was in grade school. I’ve been a sim junkie basically since I could read. I was given a copy of X-Plane 5 as a Christmas gift in high school and that’s when I seriously started following the flight simulation community that was rapidly exploding online. Having been a Mac user for many years, I stayed mainly involved on the X-Plane platform, and when XSquawkBox was first released in 2003, I discovered the world of VATSIM and online ATC. Through VATSIM I practically taught myself IFR procedures long before I ever held an instrument rating, and the network was the catalyst towards not only pursuing a career in flying, but subsequently in ATC after I became a virtual controller in 2008. I say with full confidence that had I not been a simmer, I wouldn’t be in the career I have today.

Josh Nunn

CFI at Skywarrior in Pensacola, FL. Trains Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard pilots in their introductory flight program
Deputy Air Traffic Manager and an ATC Instructor for Boston Virtual ARTCC

  • My favorite thing about flying is looking out the window! I love seeing things from the air! I also enjoy training new pilots and watching their skills develop.
  • I got into aviation by flying X-Plane on VATSIM.
    Flight simulation played a huge role in my journey to becoming a real world pilot. The idea of being able to fly all day for a living interested me so much, that I left my career as a chemical engineer to pursue a career as an airline pilot.

Jamsheed Lovelace

First Officer on the Airbus A320 family for an airline based in the United States
Training Administrator at Boston Virtual ARTCC, operating on the VATSIM network. Also “sh3ed” on Twitch

  • I love that it’s possible to soar into the sky and go in almost any direction you want. I love the systems and procedures that we have created that make it all work. I love that aviation has simplified our ability to travel and explore the vast world we live on; we can be in different lands and cultures faster than ever before. The views from high up are gorgeous, but the perspectives you gain from being miles in the sky can be life-changing.
  • I started flying in simulators first when I was a teenager, before any real-world flying. I started with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 but got more in depth with Microsoft Simulator X.
  • Flight simulation allowed me to explore and understand the world of aviation to a higher degree. Flying and controlling on online networks really motivated me to become a part of the aviation industry. I’ve been very lucky to have a very supportive community and family who have pushed me to where I am now. Without them, it definitely would not have been possible.

Andrew Miller

Air Traffic Controller (USA)
Mentor and Virtual Air Traffic Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

  • Aviation changes from day to day. Whether it is weather changes or traffic changes, no two days are the same. With those changes come new challenges to face to provide safe, orderly and expeditious traffic flow.
  • Flight simulation was a huge inspiration to becoming an Air Traffic Controller. Flight simulation was a great place to become familiar with a lot of the rules that Air Traffic Controllers use and put them into practice.

Jason Rosewell

Digital Marketing for Infinite Flight

  • Aviation has always been an interest and my late Grandfather was a private pilot, though he passed away when I was very young. After pursuing other goals in life and being an avgeek for years, I decided at age 39 that it was time to become a pilot. I started flight training in September of 2019 and passed my check ride in November 2020. I now fly a Cherokee 140 out of CNK4 as a hobby, and I love meeting new friends in aviation around Ontario, Canada!
  • Even with private pilot training, it still always amazes me that airplanes can leave the ground. Aircraft can be a gateway to so much fun and adventure whether you’re flying commercially to an exciting destination or flying yourself to a neighbouring airport. The aviation and pilot communities make this adventure even more fun.
  • I don’t have any desktop sim experience at all apart from a few botched landings at events like FlightSimExpo. I started with Infinite Flight in 2012. At the time, I didn’t even understand why you would need to use flaps.
  • As I worked my way through the ranks and new iterations of Infinite Flight on my iPhone 5s, it fuelled my love for aviation and solidified my need to one day be a pilot. Eventually, I made friends with the Infinite Flight team and my web development and marketing backgrounds came in handy when they asked me to be a part of the team. Staff having a pilot’s license is a huge asset to Infinite Flight so this was the time to turn my dream into a reality. How with my PPL, I have the best of both worlds!

Ashton Parks

Flight Simmer

  • In real world aviation I don’t have a job yet. Still too young to get a job at an airport.
  • I love actually flying planes and the freedom of it.
  • Originally, I started in the simulator and then started training for my visual certification.
  • Flight simulation is currently playing a journey in becoming a real world pilot as it allows me to practice what I was taught. My instructor said that he noticed a difference between when I had practiced and when I hadn’t.

Katie - KatiePilot on Twitch

KatiePilot on Twitch
First Officer – A320

  • The freedom, the responsibility and the challenge. No two days are the same and it’s a great feeling to overcome the challenges that face us every day.
  • Officially Flight Simulator if you count playing on my dad’s FS95! But really I flew first and then discovered Flight Simulation during COVID lockdown in 2020.
  • I suppose it helped me discover a passion for aviation. Playing on my dad’s PC at a young age definitely set the seeds for a future career in aviation – without it, perhaps I’d have taken a different path in life?

Joshua Marshall

Certified Flight Instructor
Member, Boston Virtual ARTCC

  • The freedom that comes from flying is by far my favourite aspect of aviation. Whether I’m a passenger or at the controls, the sensation of lifting off always excites me for a new adventure ahead.
  • I started in the simulator when I received FSX for my 16th birthday. After falling in love with all things aviation, and getting involved in the multiplayer community I set out to earn my PPL a few short years later.
  • I can wholeheartedly say I would not be a pilot today if it weren’t for the flight simulation community. Because of flight sim I was able to access a great group of like-minded individuals who helped motivate me to achieve my goals. I’m addition to the community, at home flight simulation is a great tool to practice new skills and perfect old ones. To this day, I encourage all my students to utilize flight sim to enhance their training experience.

Andrew (A.J.) Heath

Pilot (Captain) on the Airbus A319/A320/A321 at American Airlines
Owner and Founder, Positive Control Network

  • Regarding aviation as a career, I love the time off and the ability to go home and not really think about the job until my next trip. A lot of careers do not afford you that luxury. Regarding the actual flying part of the job, I like traveling to unique places, having fun overnights, being part of a crew, and looking at good scenery along the way. I also enjoy dealing with challenging weather.
  • I started flying home flight simulators in high school before beginning pilot training.
    It played a pivotal role. Without the simulator, my interest in the profession likely would not be what it is today.

Matt Bartels

Flight Dispatcher – United Airlines
VATSIM Vice President, Marketing & Communications

  • I love the beauty and humanity that come with aviation. There is not much more beautiful than looking down on the earth from an airplane or seeing a fully loaded 747 taking off on a long-haul flight. I love looking at those airplanes taking off or landing, knowing that every person on board has a story and that aviation is playing a crucial role in that story. In my job, I play a small role in telling that story, and keeping those people safe brings a great sense of accomplishment.
  • Flight Simulation played a key role in my journey to become a real-world aviation professional, and it still does. My interest in aviation was piqued at a young age through flight simulators and made me want to become a pilot or air traffic controller. Due to a disqualifying medical disability, I had to find another outlet for that passion. Again my involvement in flight simulators and VATSIM helped me find the Flight Dispatcher career, which I now consider my true passion, even more so than being a pilot or air traffic controller. Taking flight simulation seriously, taking advantage of every educational opportunity it presented, and practicing daily helped me immensely during my initial training as a flight dispatcher. Even today, utilizing study-level addon aircraft, keeping current on air traffic procedures, and even visiting airports that I have not been to in the real world gives me the ability to better understand the whole picture and perform better at my job.

Evan Reiter

A pilot on the Embraer 175, transporting airline passengers across North America
Co-Founder of Flight Simulation Association and Community Manager of Boston Virtual ARTCC

  • The fact that it always keeps you humble. No matter how long you’ve been flying, there’s always something to learn.
  • I started in FSX in 2007 and obtained a private pilot license a few years later. Flying for the airlines was never a career goal but my involvement in simulation, and the support of the simulation community at Boston Virtual ARTCC and VATSIM helped push me to the airlines.
  • I used my own simulator setup with FSX and then Prepar3D throughout my private license, instrument training, and even to prepare for “real-world” simulator training at the airline I now work for.

Ellise Christopher

Business Development Manager – Orbx

  • I have worked on many simulation projects in my past, from developing aircraft for flight sims to developing & implementing aircraft training platforms within the Royal Air Force.
  • I have always been passionate about aviation and it’s history since living at Biggin Hill. There is so much history engrained there and it really kick-started my passion.
  • I started flying Flight Sims way back in 1990 and haven’t stopped. Even back then understanding the principle effects of flight and how to handle the planes really fuelled me to learn more.
  • I have a few hours in a Piper Arrow II and can’t wait to get back up into the skies post lockdown. The sense of freedom of just being in the air is second-to-none!