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FlightGear started as an idea by David Murr in April 1996. He proposed that volunteers collaborate using the internet and other networks to develop a flight simulator that would be distributed for free. Curt Olson made a multi-platform release of FlightGear in July 1997.
FlightGear improved and was showcased at LinuxWorld in San Jose. The visibility of the project increased dramatically. There was much excitement as we experienced the 'Slashdot effect' for the first time.
New users and developers became involved and more improvements followed rapidly. As more powerful hardware and newer data became available, FlightGear has grown as have expectations of it.