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Dear all,

 

I'm very sorry to have to let you know that our colleague and friend Neil Hill passed away on Nov 12th in Lynwood, WA, from complications with MDS, a blood illness. According to his daughter his final days were peaceful, with his family by his side. He was 80 years old. 

 

As you may or may not know Neil was our ultimate "airport enhancement machine", tirelessly working on transforming the lifeless and often incorrect default airports into much more realistic renditions. We don't have a full tally of his work for Orbx but we're talking many thousands of airports for the FTX Regions alone. And when he wasn't working on the payware commitments he completed yet more content for the ever-growing FTX Global Airport freeware package.

 

In short, if you're visiting any of our FTX Region or freeware airports you're looking at Neil's work. 

 

Neil first approached me in February 2009 after learning that I was working on a small FSX landscape project covering the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. In his email he wrote "... I would like to let you know I would VERY MUCH like to help in reworking the airports. [...] I am retired so I have plenty of time". I gladly accepted his offer. The Olympics project later morphed into Orbx's FTX Pacific Northwest and included more than 400 airports enhanced by Neil, not a bad start...

 

And so it continued: with each new FTX Region I would send him a spreadsheet of all airports within the coverage area and he'd start pumping out the airfields by the dozen, usually finishing well ahead of deadlines and asking us for more ;-) 

 

Put another way, without Neil's initiative it's quite likely that the Orbx Regions would not have included greatly enhanced default airports, at least not every single one within a given Region.

 

Neil was assisted by other Region team members but he certainly laid the foundations for this particular component and his energy never waned. Even during his last months, being in and out of hospital, he kept on working on our current project, Australia v2, and managed to complete more than 600 airfields and airstrips, with the last batch submitted at the end of October. Judging by his file's date stamps the final airport he worked on was YIFY, Iffley, a small airstrip in Queensland.


We'll miss you, Neil, rest in peace.


291667525_NeilHillforumpicture.jpg.fc9f52267ef05b08dc50c415a16d0562.jpg


If you have stories or photos of Neil that you'd like to share with the community feel free to do so in this thread.


For the entire Orbx family,

Holger 

 

P.S. An online obituary has been posted at http://www.whidbeymemorial.com/book-of-memories/3661404/Hill-Neil/obituary.php

There will be a memorial service for Neil on December 14th, at 6:30 PM, at the Alderwood Baptist Church in Lynnwood, WA. 

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Oh my goodness. Thank you for the notification Holger.

Very sorry to hear this news on Neil. I'm sure the Orbx family will miss him as a collaborator, but all of us who have known him one way or the other over the years are also feeling this loss.

 

I did interact with him on several airports issues and he was always so quick and responsive.

 

Interestingly I know nothing about his "other" life outside of the flight simulation world so I can't speak about what other legacy's he has left this world but for sure his name and his legacy in flight simulation is well known and he was well respected.

 

Bryan

 

 

Edited by fltsimguy
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Hi Folks,

 

Yeah - corresponded with Neil several times over the years - always a perfect gentleman - fair winds and following seas - sir...

 

Regards,
Scott

Edited by scottb613

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A good friend and a tireless developer.  Will be missed greatly.  Neil got me into beta testing when the N. Calif region was being developed.  Since my daughter also lives in Lynnwood, I never missed a chance to stop by and see him and Marty (his wife)  every 3-4 months.  A perfect gentleman and great father.  I'll be in Lynnwood this Monday and wish I could see him for one last time.  Just shows you, cherish every moment.  RIP Neil. 

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Neil has left a giant foot print with ORBX with big shoes that will be hard to fill.

His legacy will live on for many years to come.

The idea of John's to rename "the old coots club" is spot on

 

Kevin 

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2 hours ago, John Venema said:

Neil will be sorely missed; his energy and enthusiasm put many of our younger team members to shame. His legacy will live on through the untold countless hours of enjoyment he has brought to people arriving at thousands of airports worldwide.

 

Even though Neil never regarded himself as being old, if the community agrees we’d like to rename the Old Coots Club the Neil Hill Memorial Lounge.

 

RIP Neil, our dear colleague...

 

My vote is YES! Great idea.

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The term prolific was a vast understatement when referring to Neil, always finished first on a region project (and asking for more) he has left behind an incredible legacy spanning all the FTX region packs and many more countless freeware airports, a true gentleman in all the many great conversations we had, both while working on regions together and also off project, we'll miss him greatly.

 

Blue skies mate.

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RIP Neil, you will be missed, thankfully your work will be with us for many years to come, a constant reminder of your great contribution to our hobby.

blue skies and tailwinds

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RIP Neil, always such a pleasure to work with and such a nice guy too. The amount he's contributed in scenery to Orbx is truly mind blowing, likely no one has more people using their scenery than him.

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Wow, sad news indeed.  His enhanced airports are a big part of the "secret sauce" which help make regions so enjoyable.  Add in all the freeware airports for Global and...  I can't even imagine the number of his airports I've visited over the years.

 

RIP good sir,

 

Scott

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This is sad to read indeed but what honorable remark/post you made of him Olger. I find to know about his collaboration to Orbx very interesting. The description equals passion for his doing (job) and it is nice to see the face behind such a splendid job. Thank you for sharing. RIP Mr Hill

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It's very sad to hear of Neil's passing.  My sincere condolences to his family.  Neil has left us with an amazing legacy in his superb personality, his efforts and his creations.

 

RIP Neil

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There are approximately 83,000 Orbx members and Neil's work has been experienced by all of us in one way or another. Now that is what is truly termed as a legacy.

I and many others would be humbled if our work affected that amount of people in our time on earth.

RIP Neil and thank you for providing me so much enjoyment as a result of your dedicated work to simmers over the years.

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Oh no.  This is horrible news.

 

I was fortunate enough to work with Neil on a few of the FTX freeware airports, and I can tell you, he was a real stickler.  But always offered encouragement and ways to improve.  Truly a class guy.

 

I hate hearing this.

 

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Very sad news. I corresponded with Neil on a number of occasions via the forums and email regarding FTX Global freeware airports and his "misfit" airports project. As others have said, he was a true gentleman who was passionate and prolific in his work. Among his many superb FTX Global freeware creations was a detailed, outstanding rendition of my local airport KBUY (a project he very kindly took on at my request), as well as other airports in my area. He also fixed a large number of "misfit" airports that I pointed out in his misfit airports thread. The work he did on these airports was excellent; he was meticulous (and fast!) in recreating the airports in accordance with their real-world counterparts and in ensuring the accuracy of his work.

 

Neil told me this once in an email: "I use the doing of these airports as something to keep me busy, and add (hopefully) to the enjoyment of others.  I'm 77 yrs old and NEED something to keep me busy and mind occupied." Neil certainly has added to my enjoyment and the enjoyment of countless others and left a great legacy in the massive body of airports he created for Orbx, and most of us here know little of his life beyond just this one small corner. I am glad to have had the opportunity to correspond with him and am very grateful for the work he did. Neil will be missed by many. My condolences to his family, friends, and the Orbx team.

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