History

THE STONE AGE:

The Wing Walkers were formed on The Sierra Network (TSN) online gaming system in April 1992 by WWIron and a gentleman named WWRandy, shortly after news of the inclusion of a Multi-Player flight sim by the name of “Red Baron”. Only a few days later it grew in size to roughly a dozen pilots. From there it was decided that the Wing Walkers were to remain a squadron of fewer numbers
then typically seen on TSN. This was to ensure that the “caliber” of it’s pilots would remain at a high level. And so was created the Wing Walkers squadron… The beginning of an era!

THE BRONZE AGE:

TSN was in its infancy compared to other online systems such as GEnie and CompuServe. But TSN had something over and above these others….they had a customizable interface. It was a place where we users could graphically represent ourselves as an online persona. It was easy to use, and had the best WW1 flight sim available (Red Baron I). This is where the Wing Walkers began.

Many other squads developed as well. The WW’s were one of the first few to form, following suit after the AK’s (Arabian Knights). Through the dedication and hard work of the WW’s initial members, WWIron and WWBlueMaxx quickly became icons in the newly formed Red Baron community. WWBlueMaxx took the reins of the squad and the Wing Walkers were on their way to a great start!

Many squads flourished during this era (such as AK, JG1, BK, DP, FS and WFT to name a few), chivalry was abundant, and “hacking” hadn’t yet been heard of yet.

THE SILVER AGE:

With the dawning of over a dozen new squads, TSN RB became quite developed as a community by the end of 1992, and the Wing Walkers flourished. 1993 brought many new squadrons, some only lasting weeks or days at a time. Everyone wanted to be like the “established” squads of the Bronze Age. Good pilots waited out invitations from established squads, while the less talented created their own. Some of those squadrons grew (PS, BS, JG1, WM) but many, MANY more fell by the wayside as all the better pilots flocked to the older established squadrons.

‘93 also brought the “Sky Wars” tournament which was created by BKHavoc, as well as many other wonderful tournaments and competitions…a good number of which the WWs took top awards and honors for. Overall, times were still grand. But hacking and double-squading became more prevalent, and RB politics increased. Sierra then changed versions and out came TSN’s RB version 2.0.

THE GOLDEN AGE:

With the new 2.0 release of RB, came much confusion. Many established players refused to play 2.0 due to its excessive “lagging” (up to 7 seconds on average)! Many squadrons went through troubled times. Older pilots grew “used” to version 10.4, and didn’t want the change. So many members left for 2.0 to start their own squadrons. But as not everyone likes change, it was eventually understood that to fight well on 2.0, you needed to relearn how to fly. Version 2.0 also brought 2 separate aerodromes into the playing arena, which made play much more fun and less predictable. Fights were now happening at higher altitudes more frequently than in 10.4, and this was a GOOD thing! No longer did both participants have to take off from the same aerodrome. A “committee” was formed to judge new tournaments to be flown in the newer versions.  Things were looking real organized in the RB community! Chivalry still remained, and “poor sportsmanship” was almost unheard of in the older squads.

Durring this time, the Wing Walkers lost a few pilots. WWFokker created the “Flying Tigers”, WWIron had to meet military obligations, and changes were made within the squad’s ranks.

With the new TSN version also came a graphical drawing program were we held Strategy Briefings for new recruits, and we all developed “Opening Moves”. RED BARON continued to flourish on TSN until the end of 1994, when TSN announced a HUGE price increase to its customers the first of the year. Many pilots considered this totally unacceptable, and for some, this was to be their last year and they sadly canceled their TSN accounts.  Many established squads soon disappeared completely. The AK’s struggled with their direction, and the Wing Walkers offered a home (and their own wing), to any AK’s remaining who wished to fly under the WW banner. It was truly sad on Dec 31st, when EVERY pilot flew their last sortie…..the golden age had abruptly ended!

THE PLATINUM
AGE APPROACHES:

From 1995, and with all the advances in Internet technology, online gaming has became more commonplace. Most of the original RB pilots went to play WARBIRDS or AIRWARRIOR to continue their squadrons after the death of TSN. Others who were left solo joined existing squads, but the Wing Walkers were a “true” World War 1 squadron, and many of its pilots did not fly modern sims in the multi-player environment.

Some WW pilots gave up their careers as WW1 pilots, preferring to “wait it out” until another online Red Baron came to be. So the remaining members of WW were unfortunately forced to join other squadrons or chose to abandon their careers.

Which brings us to the Platinum Age:

THE PLATINUM AGE:

During 1997, RED BARON II finally made its debut as promised. With the release of RB2 and with WON.net to be one of it’s homes, this gave the Wing Walkers a medium to replant the squadron’s seeds. It then grew back into what it once was once again with the help of a few original Wing Walker pilots, and the enthusiastic leadership of WWBrian. In addition to WON many squadrons now preferred to run their tournaments, training and “wars” on Kali net, which provided an IPX platform and allowed more planes into the air than WON. At first the squadron was kept small, with squadron rosters still remaining at around twenty highly skilled pilots. During the initial months after Red Baron II’s release, a new online-only game called Flying Circus made it’s debut, where the Wing Walkers participated, and reformed kinships with past TSN squadrons like the Arabian Knights (AKs), Flying Tigers (FTs), Black Sheep (BSs) as well as the Jagdgeschwader I ( JG1s) squadron. It was obvious that the Wing Walkers now had a medium to replant the squadron’s seeds and watch it grow back into what it once was. During 1998, Red Baron II already started falling behind the technology curve. 3D graphics were “cutting edge”, and RB2 was playable only in DirectDraw. So through the efforts of Sierra and Dynamix the release of Red Baron3D MMP (Massive Multi-Player) was made available in October of the same year.

With the MMP patch, no longer were RB2 squadrons relegated to fightin on WON and Kali with the inherent problems of those platforms, frequent drops and caps on pilots. Red Baron 3D had brought us into the true Platinum age. Multiple units in flight simultaneously. Whole Squadrons taking to the air together where strategic planning joins equal footing with individual pilots skills.

During the time-frame between 1997 to 2001, the Wing Walker Squadron had seen many instances of the “Changing of the Guard”. Tradition was changed in some areas and many of the new Wing Walker COs had different visions on what the squadron should hold for its members. During these times, the squadron has grown from it’s original 12 members to 40+ members. It has also been reorganized first as a “virtual Tactical Squadron”, and then as a larger “virtual Fighter Wing” and more recently as simply a “virtual Combat Squadron”.


THE NEW AGE:

Wing Walker tradition has generally kept this squadron into the World War I genre of Flight Simulators, but in November 2001, with WWDragonrider at the helm, it was decided by the Wing Walkers to go from the Wing Walkers virtual Tactical Fighter Squadron to the Wing Walkers tactical Fighter Wing. This was due to the Wing Walkers finally broadening for the first time, from not only a WW1 Squadron, but also to a WW2 Squadron with the advent of IL2 Sturmovik by UbiSoft/1C MADDOX GAMES.

WWDragonrider became the first WING WALKER vWING commander and a squadron commander was created for each of the vSquadrons. WWFlybert became the WW1 vSquadron CO, and WWSandMan became the WW2 vsquadron CO, each acting as deputies for WWDragonrider. With the steep learning curve for IL2 Sturmovik, superb OpenGL graphics, and many other excellent features, this was one sim that was just too good to pass up. Now, not only in RB3D, but also in the IL2 arena, the Wing Walkers continued to make a name for itself.

THE NEW MILLENIUM:

Eventually even the best sims have to be laid to rest, and so it was with the Red Baron franchise. Interest in the venerable sim was kept alive within the WW squadron by a decreasing number of members, especially with the meteoric rise in popularity of the IL-2 series. Soon only a couple WW’s were still flying RB3D, in it’s fully matured and modded state. But that in no way way meant the squadron was in decline. Quite the opposite. While the squadron’s roots will be forever planted in the muddy front lines of World War I France, the WW squadron’s members showed how versatile they could be in adopting the IL-2 series as the new main squadron sim. The squadron grew, and gained many new members who helped shape the squadron into a new and formidable fighting force.

It was a good time to be a WW member. 🙂 The next decade, the first of the new millenium, was filled with virtual air combat and virtual camaraderie. The WW’s were strong and vibrant, and had a new home on the web to keep it’s membership in close contact. Old friendships were strengthened, and many new friendships were grown.

The WW’s never forgot their heritage, and when word leaked out from a small group of visionary developers in old Russia that a new World War I air combat sim was being developed, the WW’s eagerly stood ready to assist in the birth of this new simulation. “Rise of Flight” was almost slower to develop than the real aircraft were almost a hundred years earlier, but RoF has matured into a sim that is arguably more detailed and immersive than even the venerable Red Baron franchise had been. The maturation of RoF comes at a key point in time, as the IL-2 franchise enters it’s old age (IL-2 is still the most popular WW2 air combat sim more than ten years after it’s debut, but it’s age is showing) and the WW squadron membership wonders what is next.

With the growth of RoF has also come a new growth of the WW membership, again at a key time. New members with new ideas are leading the WW’s into a future with high hopes, anchored with a deep tradition of honor and integrity.

THE FUTURE:

The WWs will continue to bring chivalry, honor, and dignity to the skies over virtual battle fields. Wherever and whenever in time those battles will be fought, the WW’s will be there.