In 1992 Jim Sundstrom founded the first virtual airline called Sun Air in the CompuServe Forum. Other groups like Noble Air and America East Line (AEL) were to follow and the FS-Forum turned into an elitist community that allowed only few virtual airlines to participate. The US-American Bill Alderson became Vice-President of the AEA whose President was occupied as Windows-95-Beta-tester and was planning to transfer his complete virtual airline to the newly-founded MSN-network – which displeased many pilots including Bill Alderson.
Consequently, the founder of AEA was locked out from the FS-Forum and in October 1994 AEA pilots who were also still FS-Forum members founded Cyber Air Virtual Airlines under the leadership of Bill Alderson. Thus, Cyber Air can rightly so claim to be one of the oldest virtual airlines.
In 1996 some 40 pilots were registered at Cyber Air’s US hubs as well as at its European hub. With the rising attractiveness of the Internet Cyber Air kept growing and can meanwhile be found in the web at www.cyber-air.com.
Right to the end of the 20th century Cyber Air was flying by the motto “If we don’t build ‘em, we don’t fly ‘em”. Bill built the airplanes and distributed them free-of-charge to the VA pilots. These planes were amongst the best that could be had at that time.
With the launch of FS2000 the first complex airliners came on the market and started to take over the position of Bill’s planes. Today you can find lots of freeware-aircraft in fitting Cyber colours. You can also find specially created Cyber Air liveries for many payware aircraft.
In time the European hubs at Munich and London Heathrow opened up beside the US hubs in San Francisco and Chicago. Further on we opened new hubs in Sydney, St. Maarten and Johannesburg. All hubs had their own, realistic flight plans although there is no obligation to fly only those.
Bill Alderson handed over the leadership of the airline to Chris Schnaedelbach in December 2006. The various tasks in administering the airline were in international hands. The designer and administrator of the former webpage lived in Houston, Texas, died in Summer 2013; the “Vice President for European Operations” lived in Bristol, UK and the boss of fleet support resided in New Zealand.
Bill Alderson was still actively flying for Cyber Air Fleet Support”, the subdivision helping pilots who ran into technical problems on their flights or had an especially hard landing, overshot the runway or in any way damaged their planes.
Beside the hubs, we also had a SAR, fleet support and “Disaster Response Team” (DART) which quickly set up flights delivering humanitarian aid material to areas hit by natural disasters like earthquakes, floods etc. Furthermore DART-members have financially supported the international fly-for-kids event at Christmas and also regularly delivered Christmas letters to Santa Claus (who resides in Northern Lapland for the European kids and in Alaska for the Americans). Cyber Air had become an international venture of friends; politics, ethnic origin or religious denomination are not relevant for our peaceful hobby.
In 2015 the Airline introduced a online Virtual Airlines Manager system (VAM) which collected data of users flights recording via an Acars system called SimAcars. Data was displayed on the site allowing for automatic pilots’ promotions and full statistics. Pilots were also able to use their favourite aircraft to fly charter flights to any airport and have those flight hours counted. They were also able to fly a large number of scheduled flights listed on the website.
Up to date in 2021 we are still flying, now with just the 5 active hubs we are moving to a new website powered by phpVMS open source using vmsAcars to record each flight and report to the system allowing for accurate collection of flight statistics. As well an an upcoming new forum.
Unlike other airlines Cyber Air has never conducted any compulsory tests, check flights or the likes for their pilots. We are simply of the opinion that real life offers enough pressure and stress as it is.
It has always been a tradition for Cyber pilots to fly online we were a partner airline for IVAO (www.ivao.aero), but we now also use VATSIM (www.vatsim.net)
Cyber Air is interested in conducting the flights as closely to reality as is possible for the pilots regarding their experience, equipment and timeframe; i.e. we are happy if pilots use real weather and ATC.
The CEO and Christoph Beck, the EDDM Hub Captain, regularly invite pilots to a barbecue with home brewed beer, the so-called “CyBeer”.
It’s due to this tolerant and casual approach that there are also some real world airline pilots as well as hobby pilots flying virtually for Cyber Air. Professional ATC are members of our airline, too. It deserves mentioning that these real pilots and ATC are especially proud to pass their knowledge on to their virtual friends who very often also have become their friends in real life.
The European pilots have met regularly on Monday nights for online group flights in the IVAO or VATSIM network. Over the last few years groups of up to10 pilots flew around the world in 1 or 2 hour-long legs to discover all kinds of airports. Meanwhile, after flying around Africa we have done European capitals and use the spectacular Monday night ATC services.
In our group flights you find a group of international European pilots: there are German, English, Polish and Scandinavian pilots having fun together. We communicate via Skype and Teamspeak in the background which has also led to many personal friendships, international meetings and excursions.
Anybody who would like to fly in a relaxed, enjoyable community is cordially invited to join Cyber Air and make his personal dream of flying come true.
The official language is English, but the members of the German hub also speak German (when alone ☺)