• Interview With Michael Pook

    Interview With Michael Pook

    Conducted by Dominic Smith


    Michael, when did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    I started developing for FSX in August 2013 but I've used FSX since 2006 (the year it was released). Believe it or not, before FSX, I had never used any other simulator.

    When I was a boy I was always very interested in aircraft and built (like many boys my age) plastic and paper models. However, when I started my profession as a teacher, other priorities took over and my interest in aviation took a back seat.

    With my teaching career now over and retirement in full swing (so to speak) I've found that my old hobby from 50 years ago has resurfaced. Now I can be that boy again!

    Antonov An-72. Note: on all pictures sets in the interview the left picture is the aircraft, the center picture is Michael Pook's improved panel and the right picture is the original panel for comparison.

    My developing "career" began, when I contacted Erwin Welker (later to be my mentor) about his panel update for the Messerschmitt Me262. After discussing flight simulation development with Erwin, I decided to try it for myself. Since then we have regularly worked together and the experience has always been pleasurable. Thank you Erwin for getting me hooked!

    Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    My work is based around updating old FS2002/FS2004 aircraft so as to be compatible with FSX. At first I would only replace incompatible gauges, but after a time (becoming more confident) I started to get more involved. Now, instead of just replacing incompatible gauges, I rework and enhance whole panels, particularly virtual cockpits, as I am a dedicated VC pilot.

    Junkers Ju90

    Before I go on, I would like to thank all the dedicated developers who have made it possible to enjoy this wonderful hobby.

    Many of the my first updates centered around Kazunori Ito's beautiful FS2004 models. Kazunori has designed a great number of aircraft for FS2004 and because of their quality, were just too precious to become obsolete. As well as these models, I also worked on FS2004 aircraft from Alphasim.

    Today, my work focuses on reworking panels of newer, recently uploaded models. These are models which I think could benefit from an enhanced or perhaps more realistic panel.

    Many of the older aircraft I enhanced didn't originally include a VC, so after I had found a way to add static VC's with non-functional gauges, I added them. I did this until I finally ran out of planes that I thought were worth updating.

    Albatross Stratojet

    Over the last few months I've been browsing through my collection of early 'enhanced' aircraft and have found many which I no longer liked. Since originally enhancing these aircraft, my techniques have (I hope) increased considerably, so I have yet again modified them. Examples of these are the Albatross Stratojet and the Fairchild C-82, both of which had VC issues (which I thought I'd never be able to remedy).

    Tags: michael pook

    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      Hi Michael, A great 'chat'& thank you for enhancing this fascinating hobby of ours.
    1. fcerven's Avatar
      fcerven -
      Hi Michael. great interview and thanks for supporting this great hobby. I had no idea you have improved on so many freeware VC panels.

      In the interview you say you were running out of VCs to work on. You are one of the few out there working on the VCs. I also noticed that your tastes seem to be more towards the military and small aircraft side. I have a request that may widen your interest.

      We have Ken Wiggington doing upgrades to the FSX 737 2D panel but not knowledgeable on how to mirror his changes in the 737 VC. We freeware aircraft users also use the 737 VC for the FSX 767, 777, and 787 by SkySpirit and TDS because nothing newer is available. It would sure be nice to have a 737 updated for these aircraft but I don't have the expertise you seem to have. I've tried. All that is needed is larger CRT spaces for the 3 main panel CRTs and a blank panel for an updated Autopilot.

      The width for the CRTs is there and the heigth could be gained by making the skirt behind the autopilot more square allowing the switches , etc. above the CRTs to be moved up. And the new Autopilot would come from G Munro's new 747 2D panel which includes VNAV capability. You can see what I mean by looking at the Airliners.net cockpit pictures.

      This would be a welcome update for the larger Boeing freeware planes in the simulator.

      What do you think?


      P.S. I use the VC exclusively because of Tracker IR.

      PPS - fcerven at hotmail dot com
    1. welker's Avatar
      welker -
      Hallo Michael,

      great interview! Your improvements and modifications are really demanded. I am sure you will find some more stuff to improve.

    1. CrazyDaveIowa's Avatar
      CrazyDaveIowa -
      Too funny, just watched Flight of the Phoenix (original) and found the Fairchild with his panel BEFORE this interview was posted.
    1. degeus's Avatar
      degeus -
      Hello Michael,
      I admire your work, but why not including Prepar3D V4 in your work. This sim has a fast growing amount of users and, maybe most important, many user-clubs, viritual airlines, developers etc switch to P3D V$ because of the 64-bit capabilities, resulting in pergformance and better graphics.
      The last couple of days I have seen some announcements of you restricted to FSX and P3D V3, and I certainly would have downloaded them if they were also for V4.
      Hoping to hear from you,
      Piet de Geus
    1. blapin92's Avatar
      blapin92 -
      Hello Michael, I tested your plane yesterday and it's not functionning in P3D V4.2
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