• Interview With Martyn Northall - Just Flight

    A new project is very challenging but also interesting for sure but what do you think is the most challenging and interesting aspects of a project and why?

    The most challenging aspect of any project is collating enough reference material. For the level of detail and complexity that is expected of products nowadays we need to have a huge collection of material including photographs showing every area of the exterior and cockpit. We spend a great deal of time negotiating access to real aircraft, all the way from the humble C152 at my flying club to the Fokker F28 which required a day trip to the Netherlands.

    The research trips are also the most interesting aspect of a project. We get to explore every inch of the aircraft and are usually guided by expert pilots and engineers. In the past couple of years, we have had full access to a 747, VC10, F28, Vulcan, 146 and a variety of GA aircraft. It's great fun for an aviation enthusiast!

    Just Flight - VC10     Just Flight - VC10

    What new potentials are you seeing in creating software for the new 64-bit platforms?

    The latest platforms are providing us with much greater flexibility in terms of adding more detail and functionality without hitting 'hard-coded' limits or performance issues. The developers of the platforms also listen to feedback from third-party developers and respond with changes to the core simulator that make our lives easier and add potential for even greater levels of detail, for example the addition of PBR materials to Prepar3D.

    This also presents some challenges though, and the gaps between Prepar3D v4 and the older platforms such as FSX:SE are widening, making it increasingly time-consuming (and thus costly) to develop an aircraft for those older platforms. Other developers have understandably taken the decision to focus on developing for only one platform for this reason.

    XP11 and P3Dv4+ are both very powerful platforms - Which platform would you say is the most challenging platform to create software for and why?

    Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, but as demonstrated by our products which are available on both, we can develop products to a very similar level regardless of platform, meaning that our customers get a consistent experience on all platforms. X-Plane 11 presents challenges with its regular updates, but those updates also provide numerous improvements and opportunities. X-Plane 11 offers more flexibility for developers but the Prepar3D team are also very helpful.

    Just Flight - Hawk T1

    What do you find the most rewarding to create, sceneries, regions or aircraft and why?

    We work hard to develop a wide range of products to appeal to as many of our customers as possible, but my personal preference is for developing aircraft. I love to learn all about the complex systems and quirks of each aircraft and see those accurately simulated in the finished product.

    Are you expecting to still support the older 32-bit platforms (FSX)?

    This is something I touched on briefly above. We intend to continue supporting 32-bit platforms in the short-term but longer-term we would like to transition to just 64-bit platforms as our customers do the same, as the latest 64-bit platforms provide us with the opportunity to develop better products. We keep an eye on the ratio of 32-bit to 64-bit platform customers to ensure that we are supporting the largest number of simmers as possible, and there are still plenty of people using the 32-bit platforms.

    The future of flight simulation - how do you think that will be?

    It's very hard to predict where the flight simulation market will go over the coming years but it's likely to continue to be quite split, with simmers using one (or several) of a variety of available platforms, for example Prepar3D, X-Plane 11 and Aerofly. There is no longer a single dominant platform as there was in the past with FS2004 and then FSX, and I think that is set to continue with Prepar3D v5 and Microsoft's new Flight Simulator, although there is currently too little information on the latter for any third-party developer to make a judgement on how that will affect them.

    Just Flight

    Do you have some new and interesting projects lined up in your pipeline that you could share with us?

    We're currently focused on the 747 Classic and PA-38 Tomahawk and have no shortage of new aircraft in development following those, such as the 146 and F28. Traffic Global for X-Plane 11 is now in beta testing and is looking very exciting, and we have just announced our next GA aircraft - the Robin DR400. Further down the line we have an iconic European twin-engine airliner, but more on that soon...

    You create high quality software but besides that, what do you think makes your products unique?

    Plenty really. Obviously the main one being the mission to ensure each product we develop and publish is of the highest quality possible and offers value for money to all users. That doesn't always mean add-ons that have taken 5 or 10 years to develop, that's just not possible for us but we ensure what we do supply doesn't leave people short and the work involved and included is of a high standard. We try and ensure nothing leaves the building/hangar unless we're 100% happy with it.

    We try not to leave it there too. We pride ourselves in looking after the customer and offering the very best possible post-purchase experience for all our customers. We try and treat all customers in the same way that we'd like to be treated. We engage with the community where possible and never shirk responsibilities. We listen and where possible we take on board suggestions and ideas, all designed to offer the best possible package to our customers.

    We believe we have learnt a lot in the 20 plus years of business and putting this into practice sets us up as 'the' place to shop for flight simmers all around the globe.

    Martyn Northall

    Shop Just Flight at the FlightSim.Com Store


    8 Comments
    1. Silver Simmer's Avatar
      Silver Simmer -
      No mention of the Tornado F3.
      Any adea when we can expect it to become available?
    1. squiremel's Avatar
      squiremel -
      I have quite a few Just Flight aircraft in my hanger for FSX and now Prepar3d v4 and have never been disappointed with any of them. Traffic Global is very worthwhile too. Just Flight seem to have quality, value and fun perfectly balanced.
    1. nortmar's Avatar
      nortmar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Silver Simmer View Post
      No mention of the Tornado F3.
      Any adea when we can expect it to become available?
      The Tornado F3 is due for release in the Autumn.
    1. jgmustang's Avatar
      jgmustang -
      Traffic Global is great as well as their other add-ons I have. I have the 757 Free MEUM and also the Hawker 748. I wish they had even more like the 757 previously mentioned because it flies great without being one of the complex aircraft that everyone is after these days.
    1. miriam's Avatar
      miriam -
      Very fond memories of being one of those very first developers back at the start of The Associates. "Virtually Incredible Panels" morphed into "The VIP Group", and my amazing team and I brought out the "VIP Classic wings" series of CDs till the turn of the century, produced and marketed by Mungo and his bunch! That is a long time ago isn't it? Nels, I remember you starting Flightsim.com too, we were in communication via compuserve originally. And let me tip the hat to PC Aviator while I am at it. They also were equally responsible for the best business experience of my life (so far!!).

      Well, time moved on.... Still an avid flightsimmer, I am a long way from the industry that I was proud to be part of the pioneering of. But, for those who remember those VIP years, I will share a personal note regarding the legacy of those times. Through VIP's growth, we saved a life. My wife and I adopted a wee girl from a Romanian orphanage in 1997. She's in her 20's now and still the apple of my eye and light of my life. Thanks to the former team members, dear old Mungo, and the rest of the people who unknowingly were part of that life-saving miracle.

      Best regards to all.

      Kenneth James Kerr
      Author
      www.ThisBookisthePerfectGift.com
    1. rogett's Avatar
      rogett -
      I've been avidly following Jim Keir's "Developer's diary - Traffic Global for X-Plane 11" since the beginning of the year. Early on, Jim mentioned that coding was being done so that versions for Mac and Linux users would be easier to create. I'm wondering whether the current beta testing includes versions for those platforms? According to their own usage data, Laminar Research shows approximately 36 percent of us are running X-Plane 11 on a Mac or Linux computer.
    1. ikbenik's Avatar
      ikbenik -
      I readed nothing about further releases for AFS2 as I'm a user of this FS. JustFlight has released the Duchess76 and recently the Arrow III & IV and C152. Are other planes planned to made available for AFS2?
    1. tja's Avatar
      tja -
      I had the pleasure of working with the team testing the Canberra, what an awesome product, and awesome group of people to work with. Like Martyn, I also have my PPL, and I fly when I can. Alas, I have had to move over to XPLane 11 in the last year, but I sincerely hope that more Justflight products get ported over to the sim.

      Martyn; if you read this, given the plethora of business jets that are being run off, would you ever consider doing the 1970's Hamburger Hansa bizjet? (Google this one if you have never heard of it). I think it would be rather a unique modelling topic, given some of the timeframes that you like to work in.

      All the best for the future,

      Andrew.
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