Pete Dowson

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Pete Dowson is a person that doesn’t need introduction. The FSUIPC is one of the most (if not the most) downloaded and used add on for FS. For several years FSUIPC allowed the built of fine planes and utilities for our Hobby. This author doesn’t even have a Home Page maintained by him but everyone knows where to get the newest version. I had the privilege of working with Pete in some projects and get the opportunity of exchanging E-Mails with him. I asked Pete if I can do a small interview that allow simmers to know a little bit more of the man behind FSUIPC, he agreed and this is it:

Pete Dowson is a person that doesn’t need introduction. The FSUIPC is one of the most (if not the most) downloaded and used add on for FS. For several years FSUIPC allowed the built of fine planes and utilities for our Hobby. This author doesn’t even have a Home Page maintained by him but everyone knows where to get the newest version. I had the privilege of working with Pete in some projects and get the opportunity of exchanging E-Mails with him. I asked Pete if I can do a small interview that allow simmers to know a little bit more of the man behind FSUIPC, he agreed and this is it:
================= 1 – Pete, for how long are you in Flight Simming?
Well I started ‘flying’ with the wire frame graphics version on the Apple, back in the late 70’s, but I didn’t get into programming anything for any versions until FS4. My main claim to fame these was a little DOS TSR (“terminate and stay resident”) program called “QuickScene” which speeded up FS’s loading of new scenery many times, making more complex scenery possible. Then there was the EPIC overlay I did for FS5, EPIC windows stuff from FS95 and since, and of course WideFS for FS98.
================= 2 – How FSUIPC started?
When flying FS98 I was using a number of programs which interfaced to it via FS6IPC. Programs such as EFIS98 and RealWeather, also FlightDirector98. When FS2000 came out I simply could not bear to lose these things, so I wrote an updated version of FS6IPC which worked with FS2000 and these programs without changing any of them. I knew how to do the FS6IPC interface of course, as I had already done a remote version of this in WideFS.
That was in September 1999. As this developed other folks also wanted to run FS98 programs, so eventually I made a first release, just before Christmas 1999. I got the FS6IPC author’s permission first, of course.
================= 3 – Do you have any idea of how many add-ons use FSUIPC? Do the authors usually contact to let you know about their FSUIPC based products?
Some do, some don’t. But I haven’t been counting in any case. Sorry.
================= 4 – Do you fly online on VATSIM or IVAO?
No. I did a little a long time ago on SATCO (?), but I am still using a dial-up connection and I don’t really like the idea of being on-line all the time. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I do like good ATC though, and I have used versions of Radar Contact throughout. The next version of Radar Contact is being developed and tested now and will be really something worthwhile! Of course, it will no longer be an Adventure Generator but use FSUIPC instead.
================= 5 – What are your favorite planes?
I tend to stick to the same planes all the time. I think it better to be a master of a few. I fly a Piper Arrow III on one of my PCs (for fun and VFR) and a B737-700 on the other — though I may well “upgrade” to a 747-400 there when I get a PFC FMC to free up a screen for a 4-engined EICAS.
But the external looks of the aircraft I fly don’t bother me much, as I don’t get out of the cockpit. And I don’t use any FS panels either, so the only FS part of the aircraft important to me is the flight modelling. For the Piper I have an Aerosoft GA-28R cockpit shipped over from Australia. This interfaces to FS through FSUIPC of course. When I fly the airliner I use 5 PCs altogether — Project Magenta instrumentation take up three, FS and the forward view is on one, and I have Jeppesen FliteMap on another. On the FS PC I use the PFC Jetliner console, pedestal yoke and matching pedals, and the Aerosoft MCP. All this interfaces to FS through FSUIPC or my PFC.DLL. There’s also an EPIC which connects a few other switches, a trim wheel, stuff like that.
So you see, the main reason I write all this software is for my own use!
================= 6 – How many mails do you receive in a daily basis?
It varies a lot. It is less in Summer and more in Winter, but averages somewhere between 30 and 80, not counting “lists” I’m on of course. I reply to all of them in the same day if possible. but my wife and I go on holiday about 4 times per year, a total of 6 weeks or more, and I do not go anywhere near any computer at those times!
================= 7 – What are the near future projects for FSUIPC?
I do not plan to enhance FSUIPC at all, really. I have not done so for a long time. All the changes for a long time have arisen from user requests or, just occasionally, my own needs. I like to get these things clear to give me time for other things from time to time! And in the months leading to a new FS version I cannot really accept any changes for obvious reasons.
================== 8 – What do you feel about the award presented by AVSIM?
It was a nice surprise. Since that announcement I have received a lot more emails, but now they are mostly congratulations or thanks or both. Normally most of my emails are asking for help, complaining about a bug, or wanting additions – even those that start off as ‘thanks’ often have a sting in the tail!
It’ll all go back to normal soon.
José Oliveira
AirSim Team
SimFlight Portugal

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