Community has been at the heart of FSElite since day one. One of the first things we ever did was craft our Community Charter to highlight how imperative it was to us that we were not just another news site, but a new way to share information to the wider community. Whether you’re an avid simmer looking for the latest information or a newcomer to the development scene, our goal is one of the same; be the best source of information for the whole flight simulation community. 

We have seen many changes over the years, but our core belief has always remained the same. This is why we’re always trying to challenge ourselves in how we present content to you, our readers, and work tirelessly to make cool things happen. One of the cooler things was our investment to put together a neat party in the United Kingdom last week.

You may remember that last year, we threw a little party celebrating our new website launch. It was a bit of a last-minute affair (aren’t the best parties?!), but we felt we had effectively pulled off a gathering (in a pandemic, no less) that enabled a few developers, community members, and our team to get together. Whilst the site had some hiccups (and still does, but read on), the party itself was really cool. About 20 of us gathered for some drinks and food, followed by an afterparty in central Bath.

The feedback from it motivated us to go a bit bigger for the next year and possibly even take it to a larger city. After some amazing location scouting, we secured ourselves a party on a boat! Located in Reading (UK), the Bel and Dragon played host to the second FSElite party. This time, we invited 50 people from the community including content creators, developers, publishers, and as many people from our team as possible.

The night started with FSElite-themed balloons decorating the boat and the staff being super attentive. Prosecco on arrival for everyone, followed by some delicious wintery cuisine. Whilst it may have been a little early for festive food, mince pies were available for those who didn’t get a chocolate brownie (they went super fast!). Each guest (and their plus one) got a few free drinks, all while being able to let their hair down and engage with a range of people – many of whom had never met before.

Looking back, there was an immediate sense of community on the boat. Each person I spoke to at the event had a different reason for being there, but the theme of belonging really resonated with each person. It didn’t matter if someone was a developer making the next big aircraft or if they were simply a fan; everyone was pleased to be part of something where they could meet new people and engage in conversations that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. 

Considering we’re often seen as a community that operate in our own little silos most of the time, it was heartwarming to see everyone at the FSElite party find common ground and spend ages talking about all sorts of things. Not just flight sim talk, but also reflections on careers, personal lives, and other interests. I’m also pleased that developers and community members could meet so many of our team members who work behind the scenes to bring the news, reviews and content to all of our readers. 

The party after the party continued on that theme with plenty of laughs, stories to tell and more. It’s a night I won’t forget (but judging by the quantity of alcohol involved, maybe some of our guests will never remember what happened!).

The purpose of the weekend wasn’t just to eat and drink, but to also to gain a greater understanding of what the community expects from us. We have been doing this now for about 7 years, with each year bringing us new challenges and surprises. Everyone on the team is also acutely aware of the shortcomings we’ve had lately. Your feedback matters, which is why we spent the whole weekend listening, reading and learning what we can do next.

Prior to our eventful Saturday night, the Friday saw 10 of our team huddled together at The Curious Lounge in Reading looking forward to our future. Taking onboard our own internal feedback and what many of you are saying, we discussed a number of points about what we’re going to do to support FSElite for the next year and beyond.

As I said, we’re super aware of some of our shortcomings as of late. We also hope that our community members will appreciate that things outside of flight simulation take priority, and we must each balance our passion with other responsibilities. That said, our day of discussion (whilst much British-themed food was consumed) yielded really positive conversations that I’m confident we’ll deliver as a team. For those that weren’t able to attend, they voiced their views on a series of questions, all of which made for very similar reading to what we had discussed. I’m happy that many of our internal views match what the community are saying. This makes me confident we’re still in touch with the majority of people.

So what did agree upon? I’m not going to share everything, but it boiled down to three main points:

Improved and reliable infrastructure

Bolstering the basics to enhance

Staying motivated to deliver on our goals

Improved and Reliable Infrastructure

Top of that list is a smooth and reliable website. I am very aware of the issues that we’ve seen lately. We need to resolve this as a top priority item. Without a website, there’s no FSElite. Work is well underway to get this sorted once and for all. It’ll take a few weeks, but this time, we’re working to get it right. I’m not promising a smooth journey, but once we’re out of the turbulence, we want to be confident that it’ll be faster, responsive and without any of the reported issues that are frustrating. 

There’s other infrastructure things we want to get sorted too, but from an external perspective, the website is number 1.

Bolstering the Basics to Enhance

News and reviews are our bread and butter. We have all felt the pressure as of late that sometimes we are unable to deliver at the scale and pace we used to. There’s a magnitude of reasons for that, but we get that many of you started visiting us because of our commitment to being prompt at reporting. Our goal is to be back to that same level and also ensure we create more original review content to help you figure out what the best bang for buck is. 

Once we’ve strengthened those basics again, we can then focus on growing our content library to even greater heights. We had great discussions on what that vision looks like, so stay tuned.

Staying Motivated to Deliver on our Goals

FSElite prides itself on being ambitious. Since day one, we’ve wanted to be the best, biggest and boldest source of flight simulation news. In order to deliver on that, we need to stay motivated. Motivation comes from all kinds of places, which is why our third pillar is all about driving that for our whole team in order to continue delivering you all amazing content.

With motivation, comes passion. With passion comes great content. So we stay motivated, then our community benefits. It’s a win-win for us all and something that is crucial to our success. 

Our primary source of motivation comes from you, the community; when you reach out to us to let us know how we’re doing. We value your words and use them to drive us, whilst also using feedback to improve how we work. Please know that we always listen and will continue to do so. So whether at events, trade shows or if you bump into us out and about, we want to find ways you can get to know us even easier in the future.

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All-in-all, it is events like these that bring people together and come up with amazing ideas. We are intending to hold an event again next year (location: TBA) and we hope to see even more familiar faces. Whilst shows like FlightSimExpo, FSWeekend and Flight Sim Show are important for huge gatherings, there’s certainly something very meaningful about smaller meet-ups that really bolster that sense of community.

We’re now all pumped and excited about our future; we hope you enjoy the journey with us!