Farewell, hovercontrol.com

Some really sad news out there:

Goodbye, HoverControl, you had a heck of a run

It was long ago when I have still been a child.

This was the site from where I’ve downloaded first decent helicopter models for FS9 I tried, the forum where I’ve learned a lot about helicopters, and the multiplayer server, where I first tried flying online with people who loved rotary wing machines as much as I did. I’ve never received an HC certified pilot status because my skills in English were far from being sufficient for that in those days, yet the whole experience had influenced me to the point I am still using my callsign as a nickname pretty much everywhere. I’ve never been anywhere near the town of Hood River in real life, yet its fictional representation from FSX brings memories and feels so familiar. The whole area around Ken Jenstedt airfield (used as a base for a fictional Hood River airfield – former HoverControl base) still feels like a virtual hometown to me =)

It’s really sad to see the resource going down…

Below, there’s a slightly edited cross-post of my comment under Sergio’s article.

I’ve been noticing that the forum wasn’t looking good lately… It is a huge loss for the community. I don’t think the reason lies solely in social networks replacing forums, but rather in an end of MSFS era.

How about reviving the whole thing in XP11 and Vatsim? As far as I know, there are no barriers for helicopter operations in VATSIM, live ATC is often online, xsquawbox is working pretty good, Dreamfoil helis are not perfect, but good enough, so… why not? Nothing’s wrong with flying in DCS as well.

I can offer my technical knowledge as an IT engineer and Simchair MKIII open-source 3d-printable heli sim hardware design, that you can find on this site. We could have used some similar domain name (e.g. hovercontrol.net) and make a fresh start, if anyone’s interested. Of course, there wouldn’t be much to do without people actually flying together, so the question is, whether we really need it and want it to happen. If so, we’ll need guys, willing to participate as instructor pilots, forum moderators, etc.

With all these quality helicopter sims out there, like DCS helis, or DF helis for XPlane, it doesn’t look like the whole simulation thing is dying at all, especially with the rise of VR. Yet, should we will become too scattered as a community, sooner or later people will stop making quality products, and that’s where things will start going downhill and it won’t be long before we will have nothing, but FSX-default-206-alikes (flight model wise) with super-duper-HD-textures and mega-realistic sounds, with their main features being VR-ready animated cupholders and an Ipad in the cockpit.

I, for instance, would hate seeing that happen, so I would love to do what I can to support the revival of the resource that had been helping to introduce newcomers to our friendly fellowship in some new, up-to-date shape.

Anyway, thank you, Jordan, for everything you did for the community and for popularisation of helicopter simulation. It’s been a great time. Thank you, Sergio, for letting us know.

Please let me know what you guys think in comments.

2 Replies to “Farewell, hovercontrol.com”

  1. Well, thank you for sharing my article. I really appreciate it.

    It is, indeed, sad that HoverControl is down for good. The truth is that the forums were pretty abandoned and, as far as I was told, visits were within the few dozens per day. People move on to other platforms, like Chris said. The internet and communities have changed.

    I don’t think we will have a scattered community and lose quality addon developers. Quite the opposite. I have seen a growth of people in our group and developers are more aware of the helicopter flight simulation community — something I have been working towards for the past 3 years.

    We have more scenery developers adding stuff for us, helicopter developers communicating more with the community and, potentially, new developers rising. George Arana is still making great helicopters for FSX and we have other people starting developing or updating helicopters for X-Plane.

    New teams have appeared and more helicopters than ever before are being developed as we speak: the Huey, the CH-47, the Bell 222, AW139, a new Alouette III was just released (MP Design Studio released some 5 helicopters during the last 2 years), and I know of some other projects out there.

    Developers giving up? Far from it!

    HC was a huge part of our lives but the community is not dead and it was thriving outside it already for quite some time.

    As far as content and multiplayer goes, HeliSimmer has some content regarding learning how to fly helicopters (we are planning on adding more) and we have both a multiplayer server (a JoinFS Hub) and a Discord server. People don’t use it that often, but it’s there.

    I do believe our community will grow even more and new and more exciting things are coming!

    1. Thank you, Sergio! I have noticed that the place indeed become somewhat flooded with spam, and there haven’t been a lot of new messages, or people actually reading and answering them, lately.

      The interesting thing is, that while all these new helicopters are being developed, how come there’s still no VRS or LTE, or retreating blade stall support in X-Plane? Left and right pedal turn rate often feels equal, there’s no vibration in cockpits, properly modeled engines and systems are rare, a lot of devs are clearly focused on the visual side, rather than the flight model. Although HTR feels a bit weird these days, current sims (Belsimtek made DCS helis aside) barely come close to what we had back then in FSX. And there’s a considerable part of the community that seems to be interested in visuals more than in the flight model.

      Hopefully, these issues will be straightened out over time, and we will have truly realistic representations of real things in our hands one day =)

      P.S. It’s great that you’re working on attracting new pilots to the community!

      Cheers, Alex

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