• Interview With Frederick Zealor

    An Interview with Frederick Zealor

    MSFS Scenery Developer


    Fred, could I begin by asking about when you first started developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    I first started flying a flight simulator program in around 1976. This was when I acquired an Apple II Plus, which I STILL have; complete with all manuals and such, and in the original box!

    Frederick Zealor     Frederick Zealor

    My first foray into scenery development was in December of 1999 for FS98. This was to add a bunch of small, private airports for the Sacramento, CA area, which were sorely lacking in MSFS at that time. Moving forward to 2005-2007 (this time in FS2004), was again a desire to improve these airports (more like what I saw from a C-152). In 2016, using FSX/FSX-SE, I began making the small airports in Florida more realistic. This led me to being asked to join a flight sim club - The Ocala Flight Sim Club (OFSC) - a group of like minded, same age flight sim enthusiasts, and being asked to update several airports that had a personal interest in the membership (and others!)

    Could you tell us a bit about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    Most of the updates that I do are of small to medium sized, mostly private, mostly grass fields that Microsoft represented as a strip of grass and/or asphalt. I use AirNav and Google Earth plus any web sites I can find related to the project I am working on, to see what needs to be updated.

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    The funny thing that I have noticed...the first airport that I updated for Florida - X04, Orlando-Apopka Airport is the one with the most downloads!

    Frederick Zealor     Frederick Zealor

    Fred, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    Finding as much information as I can about an airfield project - and sometimes separating out the facts from fiction is quite a challenge. If it is not too far, I will sometimes travel to the field to check out details that I cannot find any other way. The telephone is also a great help - people involved in aviation will help anyone with an aviation question, no matter how odd that question may be!

    What have been your favourite projects to date?

    There actually have been three projects - FD04, FL19, FA40 - which were personal requests by flight simmers who owned, lived on, or had a personal interest in them. These three were personally very rewarding.

    Frederick Zealor     Frederick Zealor

    Fred, what software packages and tools do you use to develop your airports?

    The main tool that I use is Airport Design Editor (ADE) the fantastic program developed by Jon Masterson. I used to make my own 3-D structures and such back in the early 2000's but through lack of use, I have now forgotten how! I now rely on the fantastic libraries that FlightSim.Com and others provide for people like me, to use. Also, as I stated earlier, I use Google Earth and AirNav as info sources.

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

    I really feel that both John Loney and Ray Poole have inspired me to create as accurate a representation of my projects as I can.

    1. Johnny Boy the Pilot's Avatar
      Johnny Boy the Pilot -
      Great interview! Fred makes awesome scenery.

      It's just amazing what a little bit of scenery changes can do to an airstrip in FSX. with default scenery, you fly over those plain boring rectangle stock airstrips and you notice it, but that's it. You move on. It's like "Hey an airstrip." and then you continue your flight. When you edit the scenery and correct an airstrip to look like it's real life counterpart, there's so much more meaning to the airstrip and it brings the airstrip more to "life". It's more real, and when you fly over an edited airstrip, you don't notice and ignore, you take interest in it, "Gee that's a nice airfield, maybe I should try landing into there".

      So far Fred is the only other scenery developer that I've seen is trying to remodel most of the airports in a state, particularly Florida. I'm trying to do the same with Washington state, except my goal is to remodel ALL airports in WA state. Kudos to Fred.!
    1. W33's Avatar
      W33 -
      Really enjoy your work Fred!

      Excellent interview. Keep up the great work.

    1. svpst's Avatar
      svpst -
      I live in Central Florida and have downloaded most of Mr. Zealor's Florida airports, and while I used to fly heavy metal much of the time, with Fred's local airports I've been spending much more time hopping around his various projects. I grew up on a small local airport in the upper part of Michigan's lower peninsula and remember flying to small airports all over Michigan to Saturday morning Dawn Patrols and other local events. Brings back memories.
    1. bkesten's Avatar
      bkesten -
      There's either Ray Smith or Art Poole, but no Ray Poole.
    1. aviator66's Avatar
      aviator66 -
      Fred, got all you scenery for Florida. Thanks for making small airports for Florida. Two thumbs up!!!
      Dan Live Oak 24J
    1. Raceguy's Avatar
      Raceguy -
      Great interview Fred!

      We retired and moved to Florida in 2014 and live about 1 mile north of FA40, right in line with the runway. We call Saturday "Flyday" as there are quite a few GA planes passing over our house all day! We love it!

      I have all of Fred's Florida airports, checking daily for new ones, and was honored when he offered to update FA40 for me. During his research he found an article about a hanger fire several years ago at one of the FA40 homes with hangers and included the smoke and fire in the scenery! Now that is detail!

      Fred and I plan to meet in person so I can return the favor of his work on FA40 with a "flight" in my P-51 cockpit build.

      Fred, thanks again for all of your great work!

    1. fredz1939's Avatar
      fredz1939 -
      To Art Poole, I offer my humble apologies! Spelling has never been my strong suite, and I guess, neither is proof-reading. Thank you for the nice comments, I really have a great time doing the sceneries and it keeps my brain functioning (as well as it ever did!)
      Fred Z
    1. Art_P's Avatar
      Art_P -
      Quote Originally Posted by bkesten View Post
      There's either Ray Smith or Art Poole, but no Ray Poole.
      Well, Ray Smith certainly deserves mention as he's put out more airport upgrades than anyone I know.
    1. gunk's Avatar
      gunk -
      Great job on the Florida airports Fred.
      The OFSC members are using your airports and do appreciate your efforts.

      Thanks, again...

  • Recent Forum Activity


    Panel Lights

    Thread Starter: marsid1937

    Can any one tell me how to brighten up cockpit with panel lights. When I use cockpit I cannot see panels. Sid

    Last Post By: rudyjo Today, 03:59 PM Go to last post

    Saitek Cessna Yoke Problems

    Thread Starter: polishman

    Hello, I have recently bought a used saitek cessna pro yoke, and ive been struggling to find a solution to a problem. Whenever I turn the yoke to the...

    Last Post By: polishman Today, 03:33 PM Go to last post

    G1000 nxi AutoPilot question

    Thread Starter: geoffreyshiptom

    Bear with me, I am just putting a toe in the water regarding the G1000 nxi autopilot on the Cessna 172 Watching various videos I had the impression...

    Last Post By: geoffreyshiptom Today, 02:18 PM Go to last post

    After last update

    Thread Starter: mjmiller

    Everything has been working great until the last update. After the update when I startup the program and it goes to the first screen with the plane,...

    Last Post By: davidc2 Today, 01:16 PM Go to last post