In the cockpit of a DC-3 at the 2001 Australian International Airshow at Avalon airport near where I live. Five DC-3's were on display.
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I was born in Geelong, Australia, close to where I now live. Through the years I have lived in many parts of Australia and in other countries and have had many adventures in flying both powered aircraft and gliders as well as in my line of work.

I lived in Canada for five years and was married in Messina, N.Y. I have two daughters both born in Sydney.

My first airplane ride was in 1951, in a Canadian Pacific DC-4 North Star, from London, UK to Montreal, Canada. The aircraft was topped up with fuel at the US Army Air Force base at Keflavik, Iceland. Early in the morning somewhere over northern Quebec the outer starboard engine began to misfire. Looking through the window I could see black holes where the exhaust flames should have been, as the DC-4 outboard engines had no exhaust manifold. After about 15 minutes the engine was firing properly again but not before the fasten seat belt light came on and my heart had missed a few beats!

I remember reading the literature in the seat pocket on the North Star and of its good safety record, but it is the noisiest airliner I have ever flown in. The DC-4 was a great reliable aircraft though, as it needed to be, following the standard set by the DC-3.

My work in the 1960's as a Television and Radio Broadcast Engineering technician with RCA took me to many places, some remote. When a TV station had studio or transmitter problems requiring urgent attention it was not always convenient to wait for airline schedules so I trained and gained an unrestricted Private Pilot's License ... and then the flying bug really bit, to the extent that I joined a gliding club and gained the B and C gliding certificates.

Flying to work 1970's styleFlying to work, 1970 style. The Japanese Fuji FA-200 was an easy aircraft to fly. This was one of the first into Australia and I flew it from new. It was fully aerobatic, (Isn't that what everyone needs when flying to and from work?) and stressed to +6G's and -4G's.
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In 2001 I received a Trial Instructional Flight as a present and was in the right seat of a Robinson R22 helicopter for an hour. The instructor did not believe that it was my first time at the controls so it just shows what you can learn from the Bell in FS2002 and a kitchen chair fitted with a broomstick Collective.

I have been an Amateur Radio Station operator for 50 years with the call sign VK2RA. But when I look back to what I needed to talk to other Hams around the world, a 70 ft steel tower with a huge rotating beam antennae, compared to the ease that we talk to each other in DC-3 Airways via our computers and Roger Wilco, well, it's just so incredible!.

I was a member of Warringah Radio Control Club in Sydney where I built and flew radio controlled 48" trainers and a 98" wingspan glider. I was often alongside a retired Qantas 747 Captain who was flying his scale Bell heli.

The Commodore 64 was my first computer but my neighbour had an IBM and FS1, which IBM had contracted Bruce Artwick's Company to write. It was really something to try and fly the wire-frame Cessna from the keyboard. I bought my first IBM compatible PC at an auction but have built all of my computers myself since then. I have had all the FS versions since Microsoft took over sales and then the development of the later versions.

I thought my day was made when I purchased the first ATC voice and adventure 3.5" floppy by Robert M. Mackay and then "Flight Assignment A.T.P." by Bruce Artwick's company SUBLOGIC. This was a great ATC controlled sim (text at first then voice when add-on disks became available). To be controlled from Start to Stop and be vectored for ILS approaches was the ultimate to my mind. I still think it was one of the best Flight-sim programs which really tested your skills in all conditions. I'm sure those that used it would agree, for in its time it was a winner! The graphics weren't great but the ATC was superb, and it was all about flying properly.

Look what we have now. I'm so happy to be around to see and use FS2002 with its incredible scenery and aircraft, and Multiplayer, and VATSIM, and Roger Wilco and Real Weather ... the list goes on and on! And what better than to belong to a great virtual airline like DC-3 Airways and get to fly a great looking DC-3 by Jan Visser, along mind-boggling charter routes written by our own pilots. And what a wonderful group of guys and gals we have spread around the world made small by FS2002 and Roger Wilco. I'm forever grateful to my old Television workmate Arthur Robinson, DC3-214, who found this website and told me of it, thanks mate. Hope to see many of you in MultiPlayer and flying charters together in our Gooney Birds.

Ray Grigson
MultiPlayer Coordinator

22 January 2003

Ray Grigson