• Freeware Focus: Vladimir Gonchar

    Freeware Focus: Vladimir Gonchar

    Recently we had the chance to interview Vladimir Gonchar who has a long history as a creator of aircraft and panels. His earliest designs go back to the days of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator (CFS) and his latest are for FSX but most have in common that they feature classic planes, many from the biplane and golden age of aviation era.


    When did you start developing for flight simulators?

    I started developing in 2001 with the panel for CFS Yakovlev Yak-9 fighter.

    How many designs have you done?

    CFS panel--Yakovlev Yak-9 (yak9pnl.zip) based on pictures taken at Yakovlev Design Bureau Museum

    CFS2 Soviet Air Force Hawker Hurricane IIC (rushurri.zip) and CFS2 Soviet Air Force Hurricane IID (rushurr2.zip) - stand-alone packages based on the original plane by Mauro Giacomazzi and Corrado La Posta

    CFS2 T-28D-10, Det2A, 1st Special Commando Squadron, USAF (T-28D-10), stand-alone package based on the original plane by Tim 'Piglet' Conrad

    Optional panels and standalone packages based on D18S and AT-11 by Milton Shupe:

    FS2004 Optional VC Panel For D-18S (d18_opvc.zip) for

    FS2004 Beechcraft D18S Modern Panel (d18s_vcpanel.zip)

    FSX Beechcraft D18S 3NM Floatplane (fsx_d18s_3nm_fl.zip)

    FSX Beech C45H Expeditor Cargo Plane (fsx_beech-c45h_expeditor.zip)

    FSX Beechcraft D18S (fsx_d18s_n412k.zip)

    FSX Beech 3NM Expeditor N9540 (fsx_beech3nm_n9540.zip)

    FS2004/FSX Beech AT-11 Optional VC (beechat-11optionalvc.zip)

    FS2004/FSX Beech AT-11 N92KC (fsx_fs9at-11_n92kc_pack.zip)

    FSX Civilian Beech AT-11 New VC And Livery (fsx_civ_at-11_vc_livery_v2_.zip)

    FSX Beech C-45H Expeditor (fsx_beech_c45h_v2.zip)

    FS2004/FSX Optional VC For JBK DC-4/C-54 (jbk_dc-4_opvc.zip)

    Optional standalone packages based on the Golden Age Simulations freeware models

    FSX WACO ATO Taperwing (waco_ato_cf-bpm.zip)

    FSX WACO ATO Taperwing NC 8576 Package (fsx_waco_ato_nc_8576_v2.zip) new at FlightSim.Com)

    FSX/FS2004 Northwest Airways WACO Fleet

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    According to download figures it is the FSX Beachcraft 3NM float planes, FSX Beech C45H Expeditor Cargo Plane (fsx_beech-c45h_expeditor.zip), FSX Beechcraft D18S (fsx_d18s_n412k.zip), FS2004/FSX Beech AT-11 N92KC (fsx_fs9at-11_n92kc_pack.zip), FSX Beech C-45H Expeditor (fsx_beech_c45h_v2.zip).


    To be frank I have no idea why these projects are most popular. Perhaps because the originals are made by Milton Shupe, a very talented designer. And my works are just more options of the original project.

    What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    To make a panel workable as an integral system.

    What are some of the unique or special things your designs have or can do?

    I did not think about it. Generally all my works are just a compilation. Only a few gauges I can consider as unique. The most part of them are reconfigured products. Often it is a "what if" concept. Meanwhile working on any panel I am trying to make it as much as close to the real life origin. I am very much a pedant. To create one item I normally have to find not less than ten pictures of the original. And of course a short story about the plane I am working at must accompany the package. Actually what I like to work at most of all is a VC panel. For me personally an instrument panel is a major point of communication between a pilot and a plane, so it must be as much realistic and functional as possible. It is like eyes of a plane spirit.


    What are your favorite projects?

    VC panels for C-45, AT-11, C-54 and WACO planes. I like these projects because of their complexity. The task was to create brand new panels and adopt them to exciting design, to develop the range of brand new gauges for them and - in some cases - new procedures for engine start-up and to make my panels as realistic as possible (very close to original images I had found in the internet). This is a breathtaking creative work. As a former military analyst and a graphical designer as well (after my retirement). I like working with information and images compiling them in a proper way - it is real fun.

    What software packages and tools do you use to develop?

    Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator and FS Panel Studio.

    Who would you consider to be your mentors or inspiration in the development world?

    Milton Shupe and Tim Conrad. they made the the most succesful FS options of Twin Beech and T-28 Trojan respectively, which are my favorite planes. It is a very personal feeling which is rather difficult to explain, I just like them because of their work and because of their personalities.

    Do you develop payware/freeware or both and why?

    Freeware only. First of all I do it for fun. I work on my projects alone.

    What started your interest in real aviation and developing for flight simulators?

    My interest in real aviation started from WWII planes. I like these planes because I like propeller planes in general. And most of them, precisely those which appeared in 1943-45, I consider as a culmination of the propeller plane era, because a war as it is works as a powerful booster for a technical thought. They are real items of beauty and perfection.


    Do you have any experience in real aviation?

    I am a glider pilot. I started my glider training couse in 2005, got a glider pilot licence in 2007, have about 300 flying hours. I am a member of the 2nd Moscow Aeroclub (www.aeroclub.msk.ru), we normally fly in the area 130 km to the south of Moscow from early June through late October. In 2008 and 2009 I made 2-week soaring tours to the French Alps (La Motte du Caire).

    Any memorable flights in real life?

    Being a military cadet of the Military Institute of Foreign Languages I made several tours to the Atlantic Ocean (1976-1977) as a crew member of Tu-95 naval reconnaissance plane (in a role of board interpreter). Once on a 13,000 km route between Conakry (Guinea) and Murmansk, somewhere 400 km far away from North Africa coast, our Tu-95 autopilot failed. So I got an opportunuty - together with other crew members - for one hour to hold a yoke to control heading and altitude. Among other most memorable episodes are low level flying over US and NATO aircraft carriers in the Atlantic, night meeting with NATO F-4 Phantom interceptors ecscorting our plane over Northern Sea and of course Polar light.

    Have you ever considered doing flight simulator development full-time?

    All my projects are very spontaneous. First of all I must fall in love with a plane. I love classical aviation. And Twin Beech is a leader. For me flightsim development is just a hobby. Several years ago it was rather close to my job as those days I worked as a graphical designer. Today it is too far - now I am a yoga teacher.


    How do you feel about the future of flight simulation in general? What are some of the most important things a site or community can do to help the developers? What would you like people to know about you or your team and work?

    I think flight simulation is a good start for those who begin to feel a growing interest towards aviation. It is a useful and not so expensive tool to try the nature of flight from one hand and can be a booster in your creativity as a flightsim designer from the other one. As for me it inspired me to dig deeply into aviation history (normally I do a wide search on exact model - its history and technical details - before starting a project) and one day brought me to a glider club. As for your site I think it is already doing a lot for the flightsim world community.

    Vladimir Gonchar
    [email protected]
    View Vladimir Gonchar add-ons in the FlightSim.Com file library

    1. mslim's Avatar
      mslim -
      Excellent interview of a talented multi-faceted designer. I am a great fan of Vladimir's work. Thanks again for the wonderful freeware.

    1. amsterdamschipol's Avatar
      amsterdamschipol -
      Nice interview mate, i used some of Vladimir's work, they're very good!
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