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Fourth annual "year in review"...

November 28th, 2003.  Today "the Mirage site" is four years old.  My sincere thanks to all the aircraft, panel, sound, and scenery designers, the aircraft repainters, and others who have contributed images and stories of the Mirage.  By sharing your creations and your interest in Mirage aircraft with the rest of us you have made this website possible.  And thanks also to those who have written to point out items I've overlooked.

The previous year saw 80 new aircraft and repaints added to these pages.  This year was down about 38-percent with 48 new releases but they were all top notch as I'll describe below.  As with last year, I've thrown in some images to break up the gray space.  But first let's do the numbers.

Aircraft Type11/28/9911/28/0011/28/0111/28/0211/28/03
  Mirage III  4142254  65 (11 new)
  Mirage 5/50  311132125 (4 new)
  Mirage F1  618253139 (8 new)
  Mirage 2000  911152932 (3 new)
  Mirage 4000  1  3  3  5  6 (1 new)
  "Other" Mirage  5162641  55 (14 new)
  Rafale  1  5  71018 (8 new)
Totals:2978111191239 (48 new)

So where did all these new aircraft come from?  Well, a lot of folks have been very busy.
  • Jason Ashworth released a new version of his Mirage IIICZ armed with a pair of Kikri missiles and painted by myself.  Jason's previously released Mirage III and Cheetah D aircraft were repainted by Jens-Ole Kjølberg, Manolo Machuca Medina, and Ricardo Ruffa.
  • There were no new Mirage aircraft from Denis and Daniel da Silva Oliveira but their Mirage III, Mirage 5, Mirage 2000, and Kfir aircraft did receive quite a bit of attention from repainters including Daniel Borrego, Eduardo Fadul, Mukherjee Kalyan, and myself.
  • Kirk Olsson spent this past year working on his exceptional F-16 Falcon but Manuel Marín Carrión, along with some help from Pablo Fernandez de Bobadilla and myself, released a series of repaints of Kirk's Mirage F1 in the original Lagarto camouflage colors and the current overall gray scheme of the Spanish Air Force (Ejercito d'Aire Español).
Rafale by Cyril Pioffet. In December 2002 Cyril Pioffet released his Rafale A, C and M set for FS2002.  Five aircraft models were included with three textures sets,
a new set of sound files and a new instrument panel with custom XML gauges.
Cheetah C by Jason Ashworth. Jason Ashworth released his latest Mirage offering in April 2003 with his Denel Cheetah C.  The package included three different visual models.  Several repaints followed including the colorful "Spotty" by Jens-Ole Kjølberg.

Mirage F1C for CFS2 by Kirk Olsson and Chuck Dyer. Chuck Dyer released the first three in a series of Mirage F1 by Kirk Olsson for use in CFS2.  The F1B and F1C-200 also included new textures by Kirk and myself (above).  Chuck also released a new instrument panel and an extensive array of modern weapons for CFS2. Super Etendard by Romain Lucas. Romain Lucas released an exceptional GMax Super Etendard during the summer featuring three visual models and three texture schemes.  The package also featured a photorealistic instrument panel with new gauges by Romain, his brother Laurent, and Eric Marciano.

Several new instrument panels were released for all models of the Mirage and derivatives by
  • Chuck Dyer (Mirage F1),
  • Jens-Ole Kjølberg (Cheetah C and D),
  • Ernest Laverdure (Mirage 2000),
  • Romain Lucas (Super Etendard),
  • Eric Marciano (Mirage F1 and Mirage 4000 update),
  • Cyril Pioffet (Rafale),
  • Thinus Pretorius (Cheetah E),
  • Marcel Ritzema (Super Etendard mod), and
  • Denis and Daniel da Silva Oliveira (Mirage IIIEBR, Mirage IIIRS, Kfir 2000).
  • The Scenery page grew a little this past year.  There were only four new offerings but they are all very well made and add quite a bit to the overall experience.
  • Lorient Lann-Bihoué BAN (LFRH) by Jean-Jacques Herve
  • Colmar-Meyenheim AB (LFSC) by Frédéric Hauger
  • Naval Air Station Valkenburg, Netherlands (EHVB) by Marcel Ritzema
  • Los Llanos Air Base, Spain by (LEAB) by Manuel Marín Carrión
  • Several new pages were added to the Galleries.  This was made possible thanks to contributions by Jason Ashworth, Y. Raymond, Leigh Jackson, Nick (Nikos) Delhanidis, and Thinus Pretorius.

    In May the website was featured in the new ezine, FS-InFlight Magazine.  The editor is a big Mirage fan and a long time visitor to this website.  You can read the article here.

    FS2004 (FS9) was released this past summer.  There were several improvements in the overall experience but we also lost a lot in the area of 3rd party add-on compatibility.  The biggest victim was all of the aircraft not designed using GMax or FSDSv2.  They all still fly fine but they lost their animated parts.  That meant no more extending/retracting landing gear or speed brakes, no moving control surfaces, no opening/closing canopies, etc.  A few aircraft did survive the upgrade but none completely.  The Rafale series by Cyril Pioffet made the transition intact as did the Mirage 4000 and Super Etendard by Romain Lucas.  However, all three of these lost the excellent radar capability of Eric Marciano's freeware radar/HUD gauge because FSUIPC became a payware product with FS2004.

    That turned into a long list after all.  I hope I didn't overlook anyone.  If I did, you have my apologies.  Please

    The website was down for a couple of days in June as the hosting and Domain Name renewal ran into a glitch.  But in the end it was all worked out.  I still recommend without hesitation as a very capable host company and their annual hosting package is a great bargain.  In September a milestone was reached with our 200,000th visitor.  Thank you everyone for making that possible.

    So what's on the horizon?
    Cyril Pioffet continues to work on his Mirage 2000.  The aircraft is being designed for FS9.  Part of the delay in releasing is due to the lack of an SDK for the gauges.  From my viewings of this aircraft during development it will be worth the wait.  There will also be several repaints available at the time of release as well as at least two versions - clean and fully armed.       Mirage 2000 by Cryril Pioffet.

    If you haven't already done do so, make a bookmark and be sure and stop by again.  This next year promises to be a good one for Mirage fans.

    Header photograph © Swiss Air Force.
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