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Microsoft To Join The Centennial Of Flight Celebration As Part Of EAA’s Countdown To Kitty Hawk Presented By Ford Motor Company

Microsoft “Flight Simulator” team to enable visitors at EAA’s 2003 interactive  touring pavilion to step back in history and virtually experience what only two men,  Orville and Wilbur Wright, have experienced - flight in the first powered, controlled aircraft

Lakeland, Fla. (April 7, 2002) - Microsoft Corp. and EAA - The Leader in Recreational Aviation - today announced that Microsoft plans to provide technology and support for EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk presented by Ford Motor Company. Microsoft is developing a computer model of the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer that will work in its award-winning “Flight Simulator” software.

This simulated aircraft will be a feature element of a unique, hands-on experience of the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer for EAA’s 24,000-square-foot Countdown to Kitty Hawk touring pavilion in 2003. To ensure accuracy of the computer model, the simulation will be based on EAA’s 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that is scheduled to fly at the exact moment of the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic flight on Dec. 17, 2003 at Kitty Hawk, N.C. for the world’s First Flight Centennial Celebration.

Representatives of the Microsoft “Flight Simulator” team and EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk staff unveiled plans for the computer experience from the Countdown to Kitty Hawk exhibit at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla.

“Through intensive scientific study and research, the Wright brothers unlocked the secrets to sustained, powered, controlled flight and changed forever the way mankind travels and interacts,” said Bruce Williams, business development manager for Microsoft® “Flight Simulator.” “We’re pleased to work with the premier recreational aviation organization, EAA, and to use our expertise and knowledge of aviation to re-create flight in the 1903 Wright Flyer. Through this simulation, paticipants will be able to travel back 100 years and experience the challenge and excitement of flying the first successful powered airplane.”

The model will enable the pilot to experience the 1903 Flyer just as Orville and Wilbur Wright did. To fly the virtual aircraft, the pilot will lie on his or her stomach in front of a giant projection screen depicting the sand dunes just outside of Kitty Hawk, N.C. The pilot then will use hand levers and a shifting hip mechanism to control the virtual Flyer and practice take-offs and landings. Those movements will control the Microsoft “Flight Simulator” version of the 1903 Flyer just as a computer joystick operates the flight controls on other aircraft in “Flight Simulator.”

“The simulation of the 1903 Wright Flyer will demonstrate the peculiar skills that Orville and Wilbur used to fly such an amazing aircraft. We hope it will be an eye-opening experience that will build greater respect for the Wright brothers among visitors to EAA’s touring pavilion,” Williams said.

To create the most accurate simulation of the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Microsoft “Flight Simulator” team plans to work with EAA to research the details of the aircraft, the site where the Flyer flew and historical accounts of Dec. 17, 1903.

“The Wright brothers are known leaders in innovation. We’re proud to be working with another modern-day innovator, Microsoft, to share the story and experiences of the Wright brothers with people around the world,” said Randal Dietrich, executive director for EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk. “The Microsoft ‘Flight Simulator’ team is uniquely qualified to help develop an experience that accurately represents such a historic aircraft.”

Microsoft’s simulation of the 1903 Wright Flyer is scheduled to be part of EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk touring pavilion that will premiere at the 2003 Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland. The pavilion is scheduled to make several other stops at significant events and celebrations such as EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2003, Ford Motor Company’s 100th Anniversary Celebration in June 2003 and Inventing Flight: Dayton 2003. The tour will culminate at the First Flight Centennial Celebration event on Dec. 17, 2003 at the Wright Brothers National Memorial near Kitty Hawk, made possible through a partnership with the National Park Service.

About Microsoft “Flight Simulator” |
“Flight Simulator” 2002 is the revolutionary new version of Microsoft’s highly realistic aviation simulation - the best-selling PC flight simulation brand ever produced.* “Flight Simulator” 2002 introduces many exciting features, including interactive Air Traffic Control (ATC), auto-generated scenery, challenging new aircraft - even a floatplane - and stunning visual enhancements that truly make “Flight Simulator” 2002 as real as it gets.”

“Flight Simulator” 2002 is available in stores now, by calling Microsoft at (888) 218-5617, or on the Internet at http://shop.microsoft.com/ for an estimated retail price of $54.95 (U.S.) for the Standard Edition, or $74.95 (U.S.) for the Professional Edition. “Flight Simulator” 2002 has an ESRB rating of “E” for Everyone. For more information, please visit the official site at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulator/.

About the Microsoft PC Games Group
The Microsoft PC Games group, part of Microsoft Game Studios, comprises many of the industry’s top development studios. Committed to publishing a diverse PC games portfolio, Microsoft Game Studios develops, publishes and distributes such award-winning franchises as “Flight Simulator,” “Age of Empires®,” “Links®,” “MechWarrior®” and “Zoo Tycoon™,” as well as original titles across all genres. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/games/.

About EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk presented by Ford Motor Company
Countdown to Kitty Hawk is the most elaborate celebration of the Centennial of Flight. The celebration includes the construction of the most accurate 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction (in partnership with Ken Hyde of The Wright Experience), education initiatives, interactive aviation programs including The Greatest Aviation Advancements and a 24,000-square-foot nationwide touring pavilion with inspiring multimedia, educational hands-on activities such as Microsoft’s 1903 Wright Flyer flight simulator.

The centerpiece of Countdown to Kitty Hawk will be the highlight of all activities associated with the Centennial of Flight. EAA and Ford Motor Company will re-create the Wright brothers’ historic first flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial near Kitty Hawk at 10:35 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2003 - exactly 100 years to the minute.

Through a historic partnership, Ford Motor Company is driving the Countdown to Kitty Hawk initiative. As one of the premier innovators of his generation, Henry Ford was fascinated by flight and shared a vision with the fellow inventors of his era including his friends the Wright brothers. In 2004, EAA’s 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction will be installed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. for public viewing.

For more information about Countdown to Kitty Hawk, visit www.countdowntokittyhawk.org.

EAA - The Leader in Recreational Aviation - is an international association with 170,000 members and more than 975 chapters worldwide. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or visit the Web site at www.eaa.org.

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* Source: NPDTechworldSM, August 1992-February 2002.  Based on total U.S. retail sales.

Microsoft, Age of Empires, Links, MechWarrior and Zoo Tycoon are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.




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