• Interview With Tony Varela Of GoFlight

    Interview With Tony Varela Of GoFlight

    Conducted by Ray Andersen

    About GoFlight And You

    Tell us a little bit about yourself and the sorts of things you have done or enjoyed besides flight simulation? (This can include jobs, education, interests, hobbies, accomplishments, places lived, etc.).

    From an early age, I had a huge passion for flight (from watching too much Top Gun I'm sure). A hobby that resulted out of this was building model airplanes, from WWII through modern aircraft. I also discovered my fondness for building, and through this, I ended up choosing an education in architecture, over aviation, mostly because it seemed safe and was offered more readily at my school of choice. After a long time in the design field, and a series of 'fortunate' events, I found myself working closely with the world of aviation, and now I couldn't be happier!

    Outside of work, I try my best to soak up all the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to backpacking and white water kayaking in the summer, I can usually be found outdoors on the weekends. The adventurer in me also loves to travel, and while it's nothing to boast about in the flight community, I have travelled quite a bit. I love meeting new people and experiencing new things at every turn.

       

    When did you first get involved with flight simulation and what got you interested in it?

    I really didn't get too involved in flight simulation until I worked for a company that worked closely with GoFlight. It was really unknown to me that you could do something like this on your home computer. I thought it was only reserved for the full motion sims you only see on TV. Once I started working closer with GoFlight, I jumped right in! I'd say it was interest and curiosity of flight from an early age that made the decision to get involved with GoFlight a no brainer.

    Do you have any real world aviation experience, fly any planes, or own any aircraft?

    Obtaining a PPL at the very least has always been an item on the bucket list, but, it has been more than just another line item. Being around flight simulators and pilots, I see the life style of it all and it continues to fascinate me to no end. I don't own my own plane (yet) and only started shopping around for lessons. I only have a few hours in a real plane taking more or less discovery flights.

    Who do you consider your mentors in the flight simulation development world and why?

    GoFlight wouldn't be where it is today without the talented team that has been assembled. The founder of GoFlight, Frank Bouton, and our head engineer Gary Moffett, both had a hand in starting ThrustMaster in the early 1980's. A few others came along with them and are still here today. They bring a wealth of knowledge and give me a lot of guidance in the way of simulation.

    Tell us about GoFlight - who founded the company, when, where, why, maybe a little history?

    As I briefly mentioned above, GoFlight was founded from a few guys who got their start with ThrustMaster. Frank Bouton and Doyle Nicholas worked together at ThrustMaster, before teaming up to start GoFlight Inc. GoFlight was founded in Beaverton, Oregon in 2000. At that time, there were joysticks and controls, but there weren't too many options, if any, for radio stacks and other flight controls. The GoFlight team set out to alleviate that problem.

    How many people does GoFlight employ and what are the key rolls?

    GoFlight employs a staff of eight people. Key rolls would include our engineering/R&D, where Gary is the lead engineer; Front Office is led by Tanya Long; and finally Marketing, which is my primary roll.

    How is the hardware/software development divided at GoFlight and why?

    From the beginning GoFlight has been a hardware developer and we have not had any interest in developing software. For this reason, our software development team has remained as a contract relationship with our out of house developers. We design and manufacture the hardware and then, through our team of contractors, they update the software interfaces on our behalf.


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