Well, not so long ago, actually! January 2002 was a significant date for two related reasons - it was the first time I had a play with Flight Simulator (2002 version) and was also the first point at which I realised that my health was deteriorating. Not that the two were related! By March I had stopped working (official retirement came about a year later) and my wife is firmly of the opinion that the only thing that actually kept me sane was the ability to sit at a computer for hours imagining I am flying about the world. A good excuse. eh?
Of Microsoft's offerings, I only ever flew the Cessna 172, trying to follow the flying lessons to learn how to fly. Flying wasn't so bad, actually, but landing was something else! I soon grew tired of the Cessna, and discovered that my all-time favourite aircraft, the Douglas DC-3, was available as an add-on free of charge in dozens of different liveries. I never looked back - I now have a seemingly insatiable appetite for add-on aircraft from the same era.
Realising this was all "take" and no "give", I resolved to develop something of my own to give to the world at large, and decided that Mike Stone's beautiful Bristol Britannia deserved a good quality panel. I learnt so much as I went along that it took over a year to develop - I just kept wanting to make it better. Meanwhile, along came Flight Simulator 2004 (with its own DC-3s!) and, later, Mike Stone developed a FS2004 version of the Britannia that kicked me into finishing the job. Along the way, I've produced all sorts of other add-ons, small and large. Long live free-ware!
With my health under better control now, I am less often confined to barracks so I have less time to "fly" and even less time to develop add-ons. Sorry about that . . .