The History of PGA

Once upon a time, along about 1997, there was a small Virtual Airline called Bay Area Charter, owned by Fred Brubaker. BAC pilots used Looking Glass's Flight Unlimited II, a relatively short-lived but fantastic flight simulator that was far ahead of its time both in scenery and flight model.

In short order, over 70 pilots affiliated themselves with BAC. The company eventually went public and were able to purchase shares in the company or used airplanes with the money they earned. Various pilots started a flight school to train new pilots, a flight line center to maintain planes, and even a credit union to help them through the lean times.

Unfortunately, as so often happens, real life came along and interfered with the fun. Fred was called away by his RW job more and more often. Finally, one day in August 1999, the pilots arrived at work to find a "closed" sign on the door and a padlock on the gate. The suddenly unemployed pilots milled about in the forum, wondering what to do. After a time, someone said they knew HTML, someone else said they'd help, and before long it was decided they'd start their own VA to take care of the client base.

And on August 31, 1999, Pier Glass Aviation opened its doors.

From wheels up, PGA was destined to be a different kind of VA. The RW history of the airline and the cast of characters who had developed in the context of BAC meant that every pilot was the best pilot in the world, and every flight was an adventure. The storytelling, seeded by Fred's original missions, took off. The news page reported on the pilots' exploits, and often disclosed twists and tidbits not known to the pilots at the time they made the flight... but which invariably would come back to haunt them in future flights. The result is that PGA became just as much about the story as the flying.

At its peak, PGA employed more than 200 pilots. New "stock" characters emerged, and the world grew took on a life of its own. However, despite sharing the load among several people, the strain of keeping up with the books took its toll. Participation and enrollment dwindled. A reorganization gave a temporary boost, and a trip to Brazil rejuvenated the ranks and gave some of us a heck of a story to tell...

Alas, ultimately The Boss had life happen to her, too, and updates began to be months and then years apart.

Throughout it all, a handful of very loyal pilots kept coming back, checking the forums, and posting a note or even a flight now and again. The Boss also never forgot, and kept renewing the domain, responding to the odd post, running maintenance on the forums, and beating back the tide of spam that threatened to overwhelm.

Then one day in December 2010, more than eleven years after PGA first opened its doors, there was a convergence of time, inclination, and a swell of interest. The decision was made to join the FSE world, and to try and bring PGA – which was now monetarily as well as morally bankrupt – back to life.

As the old PGA hangar at SJC had been seized by an acronymic government agency and then mysteriously burned to the ground, PGA tapped into some hidden fu... er, um, somehow scraped together the money to open a new FBO in South County...

And that's where we are today.

Stock Characters