• FlightSim.Com Member Focus: Mario Donick

    FlightSim.Com Member Focus: Mario Donick

    Mario Donick uses X-Plane as his main simulator, and sometimes P3D and Flight Sim World. As well as flying both simulated and real aircraft, Mario also writes reviews, tutorials and manuals for FS MAGAZIN (German bi-monthly print magazine) and aids add-on developers, such as vFlyteAir, and on occasion, Aerobask). Mario also provides X-Plane customer support for Aerosoft and works for a (non-flight simulation related) communications service provider. He has a PhD in communication studies and provides independent research on the perception of simulations and games - especially in relation to virtual reality and flight simulation.

    Mario Donick

    Hi Mario, could I begin by asking you how you got involved in flight simulation?

    Hi Dominic, first of all thanks for having me in this interview.

    I think the "promise of flight simulation" was, in some way, part of my free time since I was a child of about 10 or 11 years. I grew up in Eastern Germany (the GDR), and after the fall of the Berlin wall, I got a now-obsolete GDR computer called a KC 85/3 ("KC" for "Kleincomputer" = "small computer"). It had 32 KB of RAM, a very slow U880 CPU (which was a clone of the Zilog Z80) and a built-in BASIC interpreter. Because it also had a 320x256 screen resolution with 16 colors, it was capable of having some simple games on it (which I had stored on plain music tapes). One of these games was called "Cockpit", and it was written in BASIC.

    Interpreted BASIC was very slow, and unlike its highly popular Western counterpart, the Commodore 64, the KC85/3 did not have sprites, so the best games were developed by individuals talented enough to understand the mysteries of assembler. Unfortunately, "Cockpit" did not belong to these; it was a dead-slow, very simple game where you had to takeoff, fly for some fixed time to a fixed direction (controlled with cursor keys), and then drop some packets over a desert. Objectively, there was no sense of flying at all, but when I took off for the first time, I shouted to my mum: "Look, look, I'm flying!!!" (and then I crashed, because I wasn't paying attention).

    After sometime I gained a few programming skills in BASIC, and after reading about "real" flight simulators on the C64, decided to create my own (still on the old KC 85/3). It had more realistic instruments, but it was still way too slow. I never finished it, but it was fun to try.

    The first real flying game I played some years later was "Gunship" on the PlayStation 1. It was a helicopter war game, with some realistic aspects and I played it a lot.

    Tags: mario donick

    1. utahkid's Avatar
      utahkid -
      How do I download XPlane? Is there a cost? Is it easy to fly?
    1. Nels_Anderson's Avatar
      Nels_Anderson -
      You can purchase X-Plane at the publisher's web site:


      Is it easy to fly? Well, no...at least not any easier than it is to fly a real airplane. The whole point of a flight simulator is to allow you to experience what flying a real plane is like.
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