We often get questions on whether my wife and I are pilots, and if not, how did we possibly get into such a niche area like flight simulation? The answer is no, we are not pilots (not yet), but Aviatek comes from a journey into a passion for aviation. We're excited to share with you a more in-depth backstory of how we created Aviatek. I'm Bartosz, the founder, also mentioned is my wife and co-founder, Katarzyna.
*Update November 2022 - Bartosz received his private pilot license.
Where We Started
My wife Kasia and I came to Barcelona for work back in 2011. I was a Software Developer, and she was a manager at a company in Barcelona called Social Point, where we were focused on producing video games on Facebook and mobile.
After a few years working at Social Point, I started looking for something new. I was a very experienced programmer but realized that I didn't want to be sitting staring at a computer screen all day long.
I was itching for something that would bring more diversity into my day and spark my interests.
Inevitably it came to a point where I became very demotivated by working at Social Point and in general as a programmer. That's when I took the risk to quit and take time to figure out my next steps.
The Interest in Aviation was Sparked
Around this time, there was a special occasion where Kasia bought me a one-hour instructor lead flight with a 737 simulator here in Barcelona at a place called Aeroteca.
Aeroteca is like a library for aviation. They had a basement with one 737 simulator, un-certified but with the ability to serve the purpose of learning about how Boeing aviation works.
After this experience, I decided to sign up for a pilot's course where I was going once or twice a week, learning what future pilots learn. I became very interested and started spending a lot of time at home playing with a flight simulator.
During this time, I was trying to figure out what could be my next step. While Kasia was still working at Social Point, I spent my days playing and flying, learning more about aviation.
Later I got the opportunity to fly a Cessna at a small local airport in Sabadell, Spain. I fell in love with it and started considering becoming a pilot.
Unfortunately, because of some health issues, I couldn't pursue that, which brought me to find what else I could do connected to this newfound passion, aviation.
Our First Steps
One of our first ideas was to create a space in Barcelona for people who shared the same passion, a type of little cafeteria where you could come and enjoy some simple snacks and sweets and fly flight simulators that we built with an instructor.
We were thinking of it as more of a passion project rather than a serious professional endeavor but were ready to start running with it. PS: Stay tuned as this is still on the table for us!
I concluded that I wanted to create everything by myself, which meant I needed to learn everything by myself. It was not something I could simply learn in a school, so I started to research what kind of things I had to learn to even start building something.
This included everything from what kind of materials I should use, how thick or transparent the plastic should be, the paint, the electronics, the PCBs, buttons, silicon, and specifications.
It was not something I could find on the internet easily, especially specificities of how panels of certain planes looked like. It came down to a lot of research, networking, and contacting people that could help me figure out the dimensions of panels, etc.
My next step forward was signing up for a community space called MADE Makerspace here in Barcelona.
I spent time working there with the machinery they provided and meeting many other creative people. The great people I met brought me advice and expertise in areas such as electronics and plastics.
This went on for a few years, working at MADE, learning, experimenting, and creating relationships.
Every day I had plenty of obstacles, and many times I just wanted to quit, but my wife as she truly believed in the project, supported me and encouraged me to keep going.
Fast forward a few years, Kasia became pregnant, we became a family of three, and developed one of our first prototypes of the GMC710. At this time, the flight simulation cafe idea was still on our minds.
However, we also thought that because we had some processes and technology to bring it to life, why not actually start to sell some pieces, build a full cockpit and come back to this cafe idea later.
We shifted and started to think of what kind of devices we wanted to sell, etc. We went through many obstacles with low-quality machinery and difficulty making what we really wanted.
This was when we started to talk about selling simulators more seriously, which was almost two and half years ago.
We thought, "let's do this right." This was the moment when we opened Aviatek Flight Simulators. We pushed our website live, got our first machinery (CNC, laser, and pick & place machine).
We found a warehouse where we could put all the equipment and got to work developing technology and our devices.
As our child was growing up, Kasia joined me full-time with her experience of managing large projects, so I could be more focused on production and creativity.
I spent my time continuously learning and tweaking things, so we could bring the best quality to our products.
At this point, we were not investing any money in marketing because we wanted to make sure we could show the quality of the software and hardware we were proud of. That's why the process took us so long.
We are continuously improving our technology and development. As perfectionists, there's always something to be improved and done.
One of the most rewarding first experiences was when we were officially live and had our first few clients that were trusting in us and happy to wait patiently for their devices.
They were the first ones to receive our devices, and even though it took a while, they were so pleased with the result.
Through the years, we built a fantastic little community that was supporting our work and our vision to sell our devices as an experience, not just a piece of hardware.
We wanted to make sure to get to know our clients professionally and privately, to know who they are, what they expect, and what their values are.
This is something that we have built in the foundation of our business and continue to strive for as we grow.
Passion, Patience, and Continuous Growth
Like any entrepreneurship journey, our road was a very bumpy one where often we questioned if we would ever get off the ground and become successful.
We ran into more problems than successes over the past years, but those small moments of success and determination kept us hanging on.
I was extremely patient and focused on going deep into the details, wanting to create something perfect.
I didn't want to go for something quick and easy without quality.
This wasn't an option. With Kasia's help and undivided support, we had a determination to achieve something unique with our products.
Our philosophy is simple. We only make the products that we would love to use ourselves.
That brings us to now, slowly growing with patience and attention to detail with big future dreams for Aviatek.
Thanks for learning more about us and our journey. We would love to help you create an authentic and enjoyable flight sim experience. Chat with us.
Dear Bartosz and Kasia, I was very interested in your story. I, too, created a software company and worked in the video game industry for many years. I have written you a more extensive email separately. I look forward to your response.
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