Air Warrior – Vague Memories from the Early Days of Virtual Flight

Syp, in his role as the Game Archeologist over at Massively, has not one but two GREAT posts up about one of the early powers in online gaming, Kesmai.

Granted, my enthusiasm for Kesmai is such that even a favorable passing reference to them gets you to at least one thumbs up.  But here we have two posts full of details and memories.

His first article covers the Island of Kesmai, one of the early ancestors to modern MMOs, created in parallel to MUD1,  while the second article covers the life of the company with a heavy focus on their game Air Warrior.

And while I could complain about his failure to mention MegaWars III and Stellar Emperor (a game I won at one point) along with some other titles, like Stellar Warrior, I think I will just join his nostalgia parade by adding in my own memories of Air Warrior.  All that comes after this could have been his for his article if only he had talked to me… and when you read it… if you read it… you’ll have to decide if that is a warning against ever talking to me!

The Next Generation of Games – May 1989

I have mused a bit on Air Warrior in the past.  Now I am going to try and dig deep into the recesses of my brain for really old tales.

I will say up front, to avoid repeating it with every entry, that these are all “as I recall it” memories, many of which I am sure have been distorted by the passage of time.  Some of them are, no doubt, flat out wrong.

These are thing that happened from 1988 to 1990 in my personal timeline and involve the original versions of Air Warrior running on GEnie.  If your own personal time frame is different, think a minute before you tell me, “Oh no, that is not the way it was!”  This isn’t Air Warrior II or Air Warrior III or the AOL or Game Storm version.  This is the really old shite!

I was a party to many of these things below, though surely not as many as I remember.  Time does that.  Feel free to correct or add to my recollections in the comments.  But don’t call me a liar, I swear all this is true to some degree!

On with the show.

The Game

Like any good PvP focused multiplayer online game, Air Warrior was divided into three factions.  These were named A, B, and C.  Each side had its own set of airfields.  On the original, asymmetrical map the fields never changed hands, though could be put temporarily out of commission.  In the revised symmetrical maps (one of which is pictured above) there were contestable airfields which could change sides.

Each airfield was defended by an NPC anti-aircraft gun that was brutal, but which could be bombed to put it out of commission for a short time.  In addition jeeps with a machine gun mount could be driven out onto the airfield, though this may have come later in the game.  Tanks were also available to capture contestable airfields.

In the early days of the game, planes were identified by the pilot’s number. (Mine was 3103.)  You could see who you were fighting.  This made it easy, at times, to avoid the good pilots (e.g. 5186, 3799, 5940).  Later that was changed and you could only see the type of plane being flown, not the pilot.  After that, you just had to stay clear of the Spitfire at 20,000 feet waiting to pounce on you.  Same people.

The game ran at a speed of half real time.  It was felt, among other things, that shooting at enemy planes… which were just single pixel black dots at anything but very close range… would be too difficult at the speeds WWII aircraft flew.

As soon as a plane flew within visual range of you, it put up an icon in your field of vision with the distance.  This seems like a recipe for disaster.  How could you ever surprise anybody?  Yet somehow we did.  It did help that you had to actually look in the right direction, so you wouldn’t get an icon in your front windscreen for somebody behind you.

Proposed Pacific Theater 1990

There was also a map, a sample of which is posted above.  In the upper corner of each of the grids, when the map was brought up in game, there was an icon indicating how many friendly and how many enemy planes were flying in a given grid.  This was a simulation of early radar intercept tracking.  It told you where you might find enemy planes without actually putting a big red arrow in the sky.

The Planes

The most commonly flown planes I saw were the Spitfire and the Focke-Wulf 190.  The Spit had speed, maneuverability, and the firepower of two 20mm cannons.  The 190 had even more speed in a dive and four 20mm cannons, allowing a quick, clean kill.

At one point, the Bf-109K was in the game with incredible speed and hitting power, but it got knocked back to a G model at which point there was nearly always a better plane to fly to do what you wanted to do.

The Japanese Zero also had a pair of 20mm cannons and could turn inside of any other plane it faced.  If you could tempt new players into a turning fight, you could kill them easily with the Zero.  On the other hand, any pilot who knew what he was doing and had a faster plane… and almost everything was faster… could have you for lunch by using speed.  And the Zero needed precious few hits to kill.

The P-51 Mustang was flown surprisingly infrequently.  I recall the night that Jerry Pournelle came to try the game.  While he was flying off in the wrong direction, never to be seen again, he complained on the public channel that if the game were at all realistic we would all be flying P-51s.

On the other hand, the F4U Corsair, a later addition to Air Warrior, was flown quite a bit.  It also stood in for the P-47 Thunderbolt, which Kesmai did not bother to introduce to the game as the two planes would perform close to identically in their model.  Or so they said.

The Corsair was big and heavy but fast in a dive and well suited to zoom and boom tactics.  It could play the vertical game.  The guns were a bit light relative to the 20mm cannons, but adequate.   And the Corsair could carry a pair of bombs, so was useful for fighter bomber operations, like taking out anti-aircraft guns, tanks, and jeeps.

Likewise, the P-38 Lightning found work as a fighter bomber, though it was a bit more fragile

In addition to single seat fighters, Air Warrior also allowed you to fly bombers.  You could fly a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-25 Mitchell, or an A-26 Invader.  The pilot also acted as the bombardier and could switch to a bomb aiming UI for the bomb run.

In bombers, other players could occupy the gunner positions.  The pilot had to stay in his position, but gunners could change to any unoccupied gun position in the plane.

The B-17 was sometimes abused because of its numerous gun positions.  A full B-17 would bomb the NPC anti-aircraft gun, land on the enemy airfield, and camp the aircraft spawn point.  This was not an easy thing to pull off well and a lot of B-17s went down attempting it.

The A-26 was the the over-powered bomber in my mind.  Fast, but with two rear facing turrets, a pile of guns fixed forward, an 8 x 500lb bomb capacity, and the ability to drop them one at a time (as opposed to four bomb “sticks” in the B-17), it made for a serious bombing platform.  I would climb to 20,000 feet, turn towards the enemy airfield lined up on their runway, open up the throttles and put the plane in a shallow dive.  I was tough to catch and if you went head on I had a lot of guns to play with as well.

There were also other special planes you could fly.  There was a WWI zone where you could fly biplanes (and the Fokker Dr. 1 triplane) against other pilots.  In the original version of the game, the WWI zone was part of the same map as the rest of the game, it was just really far away.

The German Me 262, a WWII jet fighter, was also available in the game, though its use was restricted to special events.  During one such special event, one pilot took a fully fueled Me 262 and used its speed to get to the WWI zone, where he shot the hell out of some biplanes.  Or at least tried to.

Later the F-86 Sabre and the MiG-15 were introduced, though like the Me 262, they were for special events.  You could, however, fly any of the planes in off-line practice mode.  You could dive the F-86 and break the sound barrier.

The Plane Models

While you started out facing forward, you could use keys to turn your head various directions.  As you looked out, part of your view was obscured by a black silhouette that represented your plane.  So there was a big black engine and dashboard when facing forward (with a gunsight of course), wings when looking left or right, and the back of the cabin and tail when looking backward.  The keys could be combined, so you could look forward and left for 45 degree angle view, with a combination of the black areas obscuring your view.  When looking up, all was clear, while looking down got you nothing but black, the bottom of your cockpit.  Down was only there, I imagine, so it could be used in combination with other keys, as what aircraft had anything at the bottom of the cockpit?

You could create bitmap artwork to replace the black silhouette of your plane.  Some people made some amazing looking artwork for the game, all in 72dpi bitmap.

Spitfire Artwork Scanned from GEnie Live Wire

The enemy in that picture… an Me 262 I would guess… is damn close to be showing up with such detail.

Of course, if you think about it, you can spot the opportunity to abuse the system by creating artwork that does not obscure your vision at all.  Fortunately Kesmai had heard about Wonder Woman’s invisible plane and put in a check.  If your artwork did not obscure a required percentage of the screen, the default black silhouette would load instead.

P-51 Mustang artwork on a Mac II

If you look closely, you can see that the P-38 in that picture is only 53 units… feet? yards? I don’t remember… away, which is very close for air combat.

Still, there were possibilities.  I toyed with ideas, like making an art set that would turn my plane into a high-winged monoplane, all the better to see (and pounce on) people below me.

And then there was the F4U Corsair.  Did you know that it did, in fact, have a window at the bottom of the cockpit.  And Air Warrior supported this, allowing a small percentage of the floor to be open.  I used this to create a graduated bomb sight that would let me use the two-bomb Corsair as a level bomber to knock out ground targets.


In the early days of the game, before my time, when they were still nailing down the flight models, there was the era of stall fighting.

As I heard it described, during this time one of the viable ways to get on an enemy’s tail in a turning fight was to drop your flaps, put down your landing gear, set your wings perpendicular to the ground, and pull back on the stick.  All of this would put you into an impossibly tight turn with little or no loss of altitude.  If you opponent wasn’t doing the same, you would turn inside of him and be able to line him up for an easy kill.  And if you were doing this close to the ground, anybody diving on you would likely go splat.

Even after that was fixed, when I started playing and when gravity would pull your slow and tightly turning plane towards the ground, flaps down, gear down, and the tightest turn you could manage was often the tactic of last resort… or first resort for a new player.  It can be hard to fight the temptation to just keep trying to point the nose of your aircraft at the enemy.

For all of the primitive nature of the game… I was playing a multiplayer flight simulator in 1988 on a Mac SE with a 9 inch, 512×384 resolution black and white screen with a 2400 bps modem (which made me ‘leet)… the game was surprisingly well suited to aircraft combat tactics as practiced in the real world.

The book recommended in the forums was Robert L. Shaw’s Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering.  My copy is still on my book shelf, and was signed by a number of players at the Air Warrior convention at Dayton, Ohio in 1989.

The things it taught were true in the game.  Speed and altitude were life.  Zoom and boom tactics were viable.  If you went head on against another guy and, after the pass, he turned on the horizontal… went left or right… while you went vertical… over the top for a loop… you were going to end up being able to get behind him because gravity gave you an extra G for your turn. (The egg-shaped loop or some such.)  Plus coming back down you gained back the speed you lost, while the speed he shed in his turn was gone for good.

Surprising things mattered in the game.  Or maybe it was just surprising that they were modeled at all.  For example, you could choose how much fuel you wanted to carry, represented as a percentage of your total capacity.  New pilots chose 100%, which in the P-51 Mustang they inevitably picked, would give them something like six hours of flight time at full throttle in the half-speed world of Air Warrior.

They were not going to last six hours, and the game modeled the extra weigh all that excess fuel added to the plane.  So they basically tied a great big rock to the tail of their Mustang.

(Flying a P-51 was like a “kill me now” sign at that time… though it could be fun to fly one and troll as an easy kill.  I shot down Tango Circus (3799), one of the best pilots in the game, while flying a P-51 because he thought he could get another kill in first, in front of me, without worry.  I got him, which gave me one kill against the hundred or so he had on me. It felt good.)

Experienced pilots never used more than 10% fuel, and there was some discussion as to how little you could get away with in a given plane.

Historical Simulations

Every so often Kesmai would run a scenario to simulate a historical encounter.  These were reasonably rare as they took time to set up and used up resources.  I only remember two.

The first I one I remember, and only vaguely at that, was a Korean War scenario, so it was MiGs versus Sabres over the Yalu.  Honestly though, my memory on this one is so tenuous that they might have just had a jets day in the regular game.  But some part of me thinks this was a scenario.

The other one I remember was a WWII Pacific based scenario re-enacting the shoot down of Admiral Yamamoto.  The setup for this was a gaggle of Zeros escorting a pair of C-47s, one representing the plane carrying Yamamoto, between two points on the map, while a smaller group of P-38s had to find them and shoot them down.

Platform Fun

Air Warrior was originally available on the Macintosh.  After its initial success, support was extended to such major computing platforms as the Atari ST and the Amiga 2000.  Also, support was thrown in for something called DOS on IBM compatibles equipped with the right video hardware.

The Macintosh client was maintained separately from the Atari/Amiga/DOS client.  Due to a mis-translation of certain constants from the Mac code base to the A/A/D code base, aircraft on the latter code base were modeled with considerably more horsepower.  As is usual, it took a bunch of complaining on the GEnie forums and demonstrations of planes driven by the Mac client getting left in the dust in level flight at 100% throttle before things changed.  Balance issue!

Despite this horsepower imbalance, Mac pilots represented a lot of the “old hands” in the game and were always heavily represented at the top of the rankings, primarily because they used proven real world tactics. (You did not want to get down to a flaps down, gear down turning fight if you were in a Mac against a pilot on another platform. The horsepower advantage would crush you. I had the opportunity to play on a friend’s MS-DOS machine and the performance difference was noticeable.)

Terrain avoidance was also handled by the client.  It was a more trusting time.  Early in the game, losing the terrain… ending up flying in a world empty of mountains, air strips, buildings, or whatever… was not an unheard of event.  On of the classic tales of the game is when the pilot of a B-17 with a full complement of gunners was flying to bomb an enemy airfield and lost the terrain.  He flew onward, since everybody else was still with him, until he flew through a mountain.  He happily continued on, but everybody else in the plane crashed and was returned to the lobby as they came into contact with the mountain.

And the game, at least on the Mac side, had a built in key command to take screen shots.  As I do today, I took many screen shots back then.  I had quite a gallery of odd-shaped black silhouettes in my gun sight, streaming smoke and such.  I wish I knew where they were today.  That was so many computers and so many hard drives ago, I fear they are lost forever.

Scoring – A kill has been awarded

There were few things as satisfying as closing in on that little black dot, just a pixel in size, that represented your foe, placing it in the gun sight (without losing it in the clutter), hitting the fire button and seeing a couple more pixels shoot out of it, indicating hits and damage.  Maybe you would get a smoke trail, and ugly black triangle hanging on the back of the plane like a kite.  And then the magic message would appear.

A kill has been awarded!

Or something like that.  At this point, the actual text is lost to me, but that is what came to mind.  That could be the kill message from Stellar Emperor or Stellar Warrior.

How to meaningfully keep score in a way to compare pilot skill was something of a pain.  A number of different methods were tried with varying degrees of success.

At first, the top score over a 4 week campaign was the pilot with the longest kill streak.  That is, the pilot who shot down the most planes without getting shot down himself, was the winner.  This, of course, modified people’s behavior.  People with decent kill streaks in process would bail out of their plane rather than fight at the first sign of trouble.

So things were changed so that if you took a hit before you bailed out, the person who hit you got a kill and you took a loss.  One loophole closed, but then people with streaks would just refuse combat unless they had an unbeatable advantage.

Then there were experiments with kill ratios.  I think the results published in GEnie Live Wire, the bi-monthly newsletter for the online service… isn’t that quaint, an online site felt the need to publish a physical newsletter… went from kill streaks to just raw kills per campaign to whatever they felt like for a given issue.  Sometimes they would list a campaign number.  Sometimes they would forget to put the scores in at all.

GEnie Scores Column – June 1988

Still, it is a damn good thing that GEnie did publish that newsletter, because I couldn’t find anything else about the old days of the game.  Where was Jason Scott when all this stuff needed saving?

Selected versions of the Air Warrior scores listed in GEnie Live Wire

Eventually in game there was a pilot rating system that was akin to chess ranking, which took into account your rating and the rating of the person you shot down for any adjustment.  Akin, I would imagine to what World of Warcraft uses for their arena rankings and League of Legends does for their ELO.

Playing on GEnie

Let’s just say that $15 a month seems pretty damn cheap by comparison, and free to play seems simply insane.

GEnie Price “cut”

That screen shot is from when they “cut” prime time pricing from $36/hour to $18/hour.  Oh, and they raised non-prime… which is when everybody used the service… from $5/hour across the board to tax the higher speed users!  GEnie sure could spot the trend in computing.  Isn’t it Moore’s Law that says computing power gets more expensive over time? (No, it effectively says the opposite. That was sarcasm.)

Anyway, that foresight no doubt explains what GEnie is today… a memory and some old magazines out in my garage.

The Game Evolving

A lot of things changed with the game over time.  My memories are of the original map and then the updated version as shown above.  But then I ran across this list of updates in the July 1990 edition of GEnie Live Wire and they sound familiar too.

Improved Air Warrior – July 1990

This article makes it sound like there was interim state for the Pacific and European theaters which I do not recall.  The persistence of memory indeed.  Everything I say might be wrong.

And then came Air Warrior II and Air Warrior III, which were sold as stand alone box games with online capabilities and which ran through the 90s.

Where Things Stand Today

And then Electronic Arts bought Kesmai in 1999.  We know how that sort of thing generally turns out when EA buys a company that makes online games.  Everything ever associated with Kesmai pretty much disappeared from the face of the earth by the end of 2001.  At least it out lived GEnie by a couple of years.

The spiritual successor to Air Warrior for many players was Aces High, which took the Air Warrior idea to new levels.  WarBirds was also a destination for some Air Warrior players.

And then there is World of Warplanes from, which is in alpha testing right now, and which has potential to fill the Air Warrior niche as well, though I think War Thunder is more on track.

I am always surprised at how few people have heard of Air Warrior or its successors.  But flight sims, and competitive online flight sims especially, are something of a niche market I suppose.

Addendum: For some more memories… probably more accurate as well… check out DoKtor GonZo’s posts from about 8 years back, when this was all a bit fresher in the mind.  I should have looked at it before I wrote this, but such is life.

Supplemental material that may support or contradict what I have written.

The Air Warrior Manual – Version 1.4, November 1988

Air Warrior Survival Tips by Cap’n Trips

The Air Warrior Pilot’s Guide by R. Wolf  (Dec. 1991)

Guide to Creating Custom Air Warrior Plane Art (Mac)

The Digital Antiquarian – Games on the Net Before the Web, Part 1 (December 8, 2017)

56 thoughts on “Air Warrior – Vague Memories from the Early Days of Virtual Flight

  1. Scott

    Holy crap, those are “vague” memories? I thought I was an AW junkie but I can guarantee my memories are vastly more vague than yours! I can barely remember any details at all, just a few fuzzy snippets of playing in general and participating in a few campaigns.

    Since I was a gullible young lad at the time, and living near Wright Patterson AFB, Kesmai asked if I would take a trip to their archives and photocopy certain documents on a few specific planes, which later went into fixing a few planes. That’s the extent of my “game industry” experience LOL.

    But yeah, even though I’m to the point of balking at subscription games in favor of F2P, $15 per month for a single game is a pittance compared to what I spent playing Air Warrior back then. Now I can afford to spend that, back then I really couldn’t.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Scott – This was definitely me turning my brain upside down and shaking it for a couple of days, looking for little details to fall out. I wrote a bit, and those bits reminded me of other bits. Then I had to go correct a few things. Then I wrote some more.

    And then I dug out my copies of GEnie Live Wire that were out in the garage and scanned a few pieces from those. (Because somebody told me I was wrong in a comment over at Massively, something I won’t take when I know I am right!) Then corrected some more bits that were clearly wrong based on what I found. (Usually the time frame was wrong. In my brain, everything in Air Warrior seems to have happened in 1988.)

    Then, finally, I had to figure out how to end it.

    And I still left bits out.


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  4. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    I’ve been hideously behind in my blog reading, but wanted to say this article was awesome. I never played Air Warrior, although I did get to paw through the code for a patent defense case some years back. :)

    I find online game history to be fascinating, so I truly appreciate you taking the time to post this. Informative and entertaining. :)


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Brian – Thanks for that. Be sure to read the post I linked at the end of the article by DoKtor GonZo.

    I actually met him a few times. He was part of a group of Bay Area Air Warrior players that used to have lunch every so often at a Chinese place at 19th and Taraval in SF. (I swear the name of that place changed three times during the era of lunches, but the staff remained the same.)

    One of the goals of this blog is to write down some of those memories before they fade completely. This is especially important for the pre-1992 stuff, since that was all archived on proprietary systems like GEnie and CompuServe, which are now gone.

    I had to get out copies of GEnie Live Wire to scan because Google simply wouldn’t cough up anything relevant. Air Warrior III and GameStorm? Sure thing. Air Warrior on GEnie? Never heard of it.

    I still might have some screen shots and documents from the era on one of the old hard drives I have sitting around. I do not have a SCSI-1 interface on my current computer however, so it would take some work to find them. And they might not even be there.


  6. Frank P. 'Gray Eagle' Williamson

    Wow. Old school DOSAW on GEnie ..m/870.
    Hiyadoin!? .. Are ya *good* at flight sims?
    Go ahead ..list ’em all, get it off yer chest.

    Now .. this aint no flight sim,
    Welcome to Air Warrior, dweeb :)

    -Frank P. ‘Gray Eagle’ Williamson
    aka Deader (1326) when I began,
    later changed to Gray Eagle when I left the Warthogs of B-land.
    ..and still later hired by Kesmai to drag AW kickin an screamin into the
    Windows GUI era.. workin with Tony Wetmore to build/texture
    map/animate 3d planes an such so they looked like they were s’posed
    to ..good times :) We *rocked*


  7. Harry 'Sharkbait' Mason

    Ahhh the memories! I got involved with AW in 1993 when the SVGA version hit the shelves (still have the box and the 3 1/2″ disks).


  8. Clint "Soca" Yarborough

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. AW was my first introduction to online gaming and it will always hold a fond place in my heart. I think I might need to reinstall Win98 and load up my box version of AWIII


  9. Anonymous

    I played Air Warrior as FA229, CO of the RAF 229’th. It was a lot of fun and I miss the game.


  10. Anonymous

    WOW… here are some names that I vaguely remember. Gray Eagle.. I was lucky enough to shoot him down as he tried to bounce me in a B-17 landing in Cz landia. I miss the game and the folks that flew there. It was a great time.
    My CPID was Missle and flew for the 86th and the Gunfighters. Mostly flew the bombers and later the Mossie and the F4U Corsair.


  11. Anonymous

    Was bored and nostalgic today, went searching for AW sites . . . What’s up Big-T?? =)

    CPID – Kitty =^..^=


  12. Truman "Big-T" Fancher

    Hey Kitty! That’s what happened to me when I found this place. I’m so glad to hear from you and have wondered where you were and what you are doing. Look me up on Facebook. I’m not on it much but I do like keeping up with folks.


  13. Tim "One Wolf (1wolf)" Desmond

    There was an old Wolf name of One
    Who flew many days in the Sun
    He killed B’s and C’s
    with the greatest of ease
    and would not quit ’til he was done


  14. Laurie

    OMG…. What a blast from the past. San Francisco AirWarrior Convention …. I won a signed “Big Beautiful Doll”, by Frank P. Williamson (Gray Eagle) that still hangs over my computer. Canyon flying with MKSpanky (R.I.P) was the BEST!!!!


  15. Mike

    I flew with my son for the Bz as “Mhz”. Can’t remember most user names except “WingNut” who I gunned for in the B17. Shame no-one resurrected the game.


  16. Mike

    I also remember playing so much that I actually dreamed that I was actually in it. Now I remember.. V8R, and someone on the Az who flew a P38, and was really good. Was that RIP? I remember clearing dirt from my nose when I augered. lol. And driving Flakpanzers, sometimes would bail just before being divebombed. Yeah, that ticked ’em off alright. :o) Or spending what felt like hours circling my base just to get to 30000 with a buff before a bombing mission. It’s all good.


  17. Den Reilly

    I also have great memories of the 3-week AirWarrior campaigns on-line. I joined VMF-222 flying the F6F, and made some great virtual pals with whom I would like to reconnect. My handle was PLUMR. GSCal is the only other call sign that comes to mind right now. My e-mail address is: DenReilly1@aol.


  18. nightphox

    I loved this game as a child. I was the leader of JG 26 under the handle Rojin. I would love to see a remake of this game with similar models and today’s graphics.


  19. nightphox

    I loved this game as a child. I played so much on AOL and Gamestorm. It was a part of my life I will never forget. I would like to reconnect with my buds from JG 26. I was the leader after Fate disbanded the squadron. I was under the handle “Rojin”



    i was in jg26 back in Genie days. forget who leader was. i was newbie, Onewolf, (1wolf). i later was leader on Hornet Squadron on AOL


  21. W.W. Smith 4624(i thinks:)

    Why do I keep blowing up on the runway???
    Hey GE, your post is a year ago, but yea, I’m Damned good at flights sims rofl.


  22. John Kelly

    Hey everyone; I flew AW for a few years back around 1992 as RedDevil, and ran the Slaughter With a Smile squadron. It’s good to see so many familiar names floating around here. Amiga client people represent!


  23. Andy " Wolf5 " Mills

    Wow this brings back memories. I played aw-aw3 on aol and game storm as Wolf5 or Wolfy. Hated it when ea bought game storm and they shut it down.. Wish some 1 would bring this back. I remember the talks of jet warriors. Just think if we had it to day with the net speed and computing power today..


  24. james

    I played this alot. Alot of late nights and meeting good players. The A26, B17, Mosquito where my favorites. If i know it would shut down on the later Gamestorm i would of played more. I was known as MajorHavoc


  25. gwichman

    Wow this brings back such fond memories.. I also didn’t remember most of this until I read through it all. I even recognize some of the folks’ handles in the comments section. How weird is that!

    – Fox-Two


  26. Anonymous

    Brings back some old memories. I played the heck out of AW around ’88 and ’89 (I think). I was a highschool student (or freshly graduated) at the time. Was paying an astonishing $6 to $8/hr, which went straight onto my first credit card (racked up a $3000 bill, which took me forever to pay off). I flew under the handle of Jake (ID was 6215…. I think…. how I remember that is beyond me). I flew for b-land almost exclusively. Was in a squadron that was lead by a guy named “Fencer”.

    I managed to garner top ace for, I think, two campaigns. I also managed to obtain a 1600+ or 1700+ pilot rating…. which I remember being immensely proud of.


  27. Mike

    WOW!!! Not sure if this Forum is still live, if so, I just came upon it and it brought back some serious Memories. I started flying after my brother got me hooked. He was Buzzes and I was BzBro, we wound up being very dominant and everyone started calling us the Bash Bro’s. I remember very well me and him being the very last two playing that very last night. I know it sounds weird but there was definitely an emptiness, miss it a great deal.



  28. DsPallas

    Same here.just happened to come across this site… great memories.
    Now flying in DCS, but a wish for multi-crew planes in that simulation got me looking aroud for AirWarrior… great memories!!!


  29. Tony N

    WOW, brought back great memories, AW was my first online game and my last. I played during AOL on modem 9.6kbps and later upgrade to14.4kbps… my handle was ” Magaz “


  30. Jean b Thibaut SR

    Air warrior my favorite game of all time I sure miss it wish it would pick it up I was know as red fox love to fly the spitfire


  31. Jeremiah LN229

    Just wanted to say these were done of my favorite times having with all you old farts. Hello from the past. Jeremiah LN229


  32. Adam

    Wow, also just stumbled across this! Really great memory, and nice to see those documents, and read all those names and numbers again. I was 15/16 when I started playing, and my dad was not happy with the GEnie credit card bill.

    Raptor, 563


  33. Anonymous

    WoW, was telling someone about Air Warrior today. This thread definetly brings back some great memories! I would play 18 hours or so on the weekends. Made some great virtual friends through AW. I flew Az as =CAJ=, the leader of the =IRON EAGLES=



  34. Marc

    Wow, I was just telling someone about Air Warrior today. What great memories of hours and hours of shooting folks down or being shot down. I played AWI, AWII and AH as =CAJ= and awcajnn. Great thread here!



  35. mwHUN

    Wow. =CAJ= you were my first CO and squad. You guys taught me all the basics went on to squads such as 327 Steel Talons, 4 Wing (Lynx), Old’onz, and Most Wanted. My days in the Iron Eagles was spent exclusively in the zeke!



  36. Anonymous

    AW was easily, hands down, the best online game ever. If this game ever came back, it might restart my gaming addiction. There has been nothing else like it since. Great times. I flew in the relaxed realism realms as 6~War and Ossie and I loved my Spitfire. I tried a few different WW2 simulators since, but just eventually gave up. Nothing compared to AW.


  37. John A Viril

    I played in FR and mostly for B-land on AOL and then Gamestorm almost to the end in millenium version. My CPID was JonV and later Smaug.

    AW was a great game because of the gameplay. Tried War Thunder but just couldn’t get over the fact that you could play better with a mouse than with a joystick.


  38. Mark Edwards

    Oh wow, great memories!

    Loved AW and remember paying $8/$6 an hour for it, I’m thinking it was the 89-91 time frame. I remember the ELO ratings and also the times where landing your kills to get full points was imperative, lol.

    My handle was 48 “Ack” (easy to remember as I was a fan of Bill the Cat) and I was just a noob when Damned Ptero and Damned Augie recruited me into their squad. I have very fond memories of those times but not the monthly bill.

    You know I still might have my Damned t-shirt somewhere with the slogan “Teamwork Triumphs!”


  39. Jerel

    I miss this game so much. I played it in all my free time for years. Dominated a lot of the time as well. Scar2 was my handle if anybody remembers. Spent a lot of time in Europe and Korea.


  40. Odin

    Was feeling nostalgic this evening and found this. Some handles and squadron names look familiar, but it has been way too long to remember correctly.

    I flew from mid 90’s until close to the end. Several squadrons, but my last was The Sheep Rustlers. Flew P38’s and La5’s with the handle “Odin” and I think “Odinvv” at one point. Was a drunken blur, but some of the best fun I can remember having.

    – Loved lone-wolfing it late at night in my P38 hoping to draw in anyone thinking I was a newb, because the only people who flew PJ’s were newbs or the opposite…

    – Squad night in a B17 Deathstar, drunk as a skunk, trying to dogfight, going into an inverted flat-spin and miraculously recovering it.

    – The Sheep Rustlers CO, Slapt, and I went on a Mosquito run to see who could rack up the most kills… 9 and a landing!



  41. Goolash

    I was always stuck on a slow 4800 BP’s connection, so I would do things like fly a p38 or mosquito to ridiculous altitude, dive bomb the two AA guns, then run home before the teleporting enemies could shoot me down. Alternately, I would fly an A26 and air drop paratroopers for my team.


  42. Anonymous

    “War Hawks” forever!!!
    Jokker, Fencer…. those were the days…
    I don’t remember my number though – …. “Thud”


  43. R

    I flew the piss out of this, BearClaw was my call sign BC is what I was called. 3038. Doom was our squad leader and 13th TAS was the name.
    It would be cool to have a game like that again, more tactics then just blowing up things with an endless supply of .50cal. like today’s games.


  44. T

    I’ll just add to this post from years ago. I googled AW and also found this post. Good times for sure. I played AW when it came to AOL. I flew for C-land mostly in the PAC map. Used the CPID: Bama and Rival, the squads I was in: Ogden Aces, Skull Squadron, The Damned (probably a few others I can’t remember). Glad to see others still remember this game and community.


  45. Richard Williams

    Bader here, plane 3733. I was addicted to the adrenaline. My first flight, I took off and started shooting my teammates. Grey Eagle was my squadron commander. My first kill came as a tail gunner in a B-17.
    Fun times.


  46. Anonymous

    Loved the game…but jeezus that first months hourly rate bill was a shocker.

    Was with the 58th Bomber Squad

    Callsign – LostDuck


  47. jim sterner

    Wow… what a flood of memories!!! I flew from 89 to I’m not sure. Plane #1511, handle was Damned Augie. Some of our old squad mates have commented, Grey Eagle (I have a print of Big Beautiful Doll as well), Ack. Names from the past, Ptero, aka PT, Doc Gonzo, Wow…
    The camaraderie was great, the competition intense (we frequently were contesting for the #1 spot in campaigns) and the bills a source of many a conversation with my wife.
    So happy I found this blog. CLand forever, The Damned forever!!! Miss those times, a lot!!


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