Our first mission, Lunch on Catalina Island, was a freeware mission that was uploaded to Avsim.com and has received over 4,700 downloads to date. This mission was mentioned in the January/February 2008 issue of PC Pilot Magazine as a “Star performer from the Internet” and was included on that issue’s cover CD in a collection of other “high quality freeware files”.
Our second mission, A380 Birthday Surprise, was also a freeware mission and was uploaded to Avsim.com. To date, it has received the most downloads of any FSX mission on Avsim; a record 11,194 downloads (as of June 2013)!
Inspired by our A380 Birthday Surprise mission, we decided to rent a Cessna 172 and fly from Half Moon Bay airport to the entrance of the San Francisco Bay. We flew over the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, just like in the mission. Being in a Cessna 172 however, we were not allowed to land at SFO so there would be no chance of arriving there at the same time as an Airbus A380! The sightseeing flight over San Francisco was very enjoyable, just like in the mission.
In the summer of 2009 we rented a Cessna 172 in Geneva, Switzerland and flew over three mountain passes to two different airports. The entire trip lasted over two hours. We used FSX to help us prepare for and visualize the flight route to the various mountain passes, making our actual flight that much safer. The experience was unforgettable!
An idea to create FSX missions from real-world flights and offer them as individual FSX add-ons was born. Our first series of missions as Vertical Studios, Mountain Flying in Switzerland, is a 3 part mission based entirely on our real-world flight experience from the previous summer. The combination of having flown the mission route in real life, use of actual Swiss aeronautical charts and real-world voice actors created a mission that provides the most realistic flight experience available.