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Neil Hill is no longer with us

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Just now, Wendy said:

I'm sure he's fixing the scenery in heaven and making everything more "efficient".


Neil's daughter, Wendy 






Wendy, I was fortunate to get to work with your dad a little bit on some of the projects he managed here.  A couple times he even took time to visit with me on the phone, to tutor me a bit, I suppose. 


And yes he was a bit demanding!  But always patient and always the teacher, with no shortage of encouragement.  I doubt very much that he will ever be replaced around here, but his work with live on, no question.  


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Thanks for dropping in Wendy. Neil was a much respected and loved member of the ‘Orbx family’ and we miss him too. His contributions to the hobby are being enjoyed by tens of thousands of people worldwide so his legacy very much lives on. All our best wishes to you and your family.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/14/2018 at 8:02 PM, Holger Sandmann said:

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.


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,



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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  • 2 years later...

I'm late to this - long gap from flight simming - and I'm very sorry to hear about Neil.  He was always very accomodating to requests, and I was delighted when he and his team had created some obscure out-of-the-way airfields I'd requested.  It brought quite a level of immersion to my simming, and I was always impressed with both the high quality and the number of airfields that were added at each update.  Thanks for the good work Neil, and happy flying in the Big Clouds!

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