World of AI is going to stop – An Opinion

By now, if you follow any of the other sources which communicate the news happening in and around the flight simulation hobby, then you’ve heard about the guys over at World of AI will close their doors on 30 April 2013.  I suppose of course on April 1 (or sometime soon after) they could always say….”April Fools”.  But if this is the case, this might be the earliest recorded April Fools event in recorded history.

Here is the message (copy/paste) as posted on the WoAI website

“After serving the FS community for a lot of years and having made several easy to install WOAI packages its time to look forward.
As many already noticed there was almost no activity at WOAI the last year.
To be honest, we are a bit tired of FS, most of us haven’t fired up FS for a long time and there are a lot of real life issues that come in the first place.

This has led to our decission to stop with World of AI.
At 30 April 2013 our website and support forum will go black.
This also mean that at 30 april 2013 we will remove all our packages and the installer from AVSIM and Flightsim.

We want to thank all the contributors to the World of AI packages for there trust in us by giving there permission to use there work the past years.

On behalve of World of AI.
Peter van der veen”

Now I don’t typically blog about flight sim news.  I just don’t want to be that kind of blogger.  My primary purpose for this blog is to simply document my adventures in the hobby and share some of my knowledge and opinions with others.  The news about WoAI is of course bad news for our hobby….but it’s also not a death sentence.  Meaning….our hobby will not come to an end just because the folks at WoAI are burned out.

There are many losers in this situation.  The hobby as a whole will miss out on some truly quality AI aircraft and traffic packages.  I’m sure it was a difficult decision for those who manage WoAI to make this very final decision.  But the biggest losers (in my opinion) are all who have given their time to help develop and create, including all the model creators, texture painters and flight planners.  Because it is these individuals who are really what is behind WoAI.   

Flight simulation is a hobby.  While it can certainly be a spring board to energize a young mind to a future career, what we do behind our computer screens is nothing more than a hobby.  To my knowledge (and despite my own brainstorming many years ago) there is no way to earn a living flying a computer simulator in the way that we do.  But I digress…

Of course, our hobby of flight simulation would be nothing without all the various companies who do profit (or try to profit) from developing and selling various pieces and parts.  Our hobby, (like others) does have a certain cost involved.  By the way, I blogged about the cost of a hobby a few years ago.  That information is still applicable today.  But the beauty of this (and any other hobby) are those who freely give of their time and talents to help make the hobby better and more accessible to all.  I truly believe that World of AI falls directly into this category and will be missed by many.

The word hobby is defined as an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.  In the hobby of amateur radio (which I also enjoy) we have what is referred to as the amateur’s code.  The amateur’s code is comprised of six elements including Considerate, Loyal, Progressive, Friendly, Balanced and Patriotic. 

While I could certainly take each of these elements and wordsmith them to fit the hobby of flight simulation, the element “Balanced” is one that I really want to share here.  Because the element “Balanced” in the radio amateur’s code also very much applies to the hobby of flight simulation and any other hobby that comes to mind.

Balanced – Radio Flight Simulation is a hobby, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

Now I’m not suggesting that the folks at WoAI became un-balanced in their approach.  But it appears they perhaps lost their way and lost focus on what was obviously once a passion.  I believe if you let other related interests distract you from the main core interest (in this case the hobby of flight sim) it will eventually lead to burn out.  Said another way, if you spend all your time developing and supporting the WoAI product and not actually spending time flying.  Then it just simply becomes like a second job.

I’ve experienced burnout from the hobby of flight simulation many times and just about each time it has happened was not because I was spending too much time sitting behind the computer flying around. It was mostly due to other elements related some how to the hobby which caused a distraction.  See, I believe when something designed to help relax you becomes too much like work…something in the process will break.

Now having said all this, I believe this is just the cycle of life.  Comparing WoAI to our four seasons, it is clear WoAI hit their spring, summer and fall a long time ago.  Just like the beautiful flowers my wife has planted outside all covered in snow, they will return this spring and will be bigger, better and more beautiful than before.  Someone will come along behind WoAI and hopefully provide the same level of quality with renewed passion of providing a freeware alternative to the flight sim community.

In closing, I truly hope the folks at WoAI will reconsider.  Perhaps taking time to visit the WoAI Forums and simply post a “Thank You” message along with a sympathetic and understanding message of support would help convince a change of mind.  However, if WoAI truly have their minds made up, then I also must commend them on their decision to pull the plug.  As I believe it is better for our hobby for WoAI to completely vanish then to linger in an unsupported and outdated environment.  But this is just my opinion.  Thank you for reading.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

JT

How much time do you spend…

Hobbies are things we do for fun, to relax, to just get away from the tasks of life.  Some people are less passionate about certain hobbies and more about others.  Sometimes a hobby gets placed on the back burner for a time and then moved forward again when life permits more time to dedicate to the hobby.  Some hobbies require the individual participating to leave home and some can be enjoyed right from the comfort of home.  Regardless of what hobby you are involved in…the important lesson is to enjoy it and allow it to give you the fun, the relaxation and the escape we all need from time to time.

I think most everyone I know has a hobby.  Most (including myself) enjoy several hobbies and while we may not always devote equal time to each….we do what we can do and basically do what we want to do when it comes time for hobby time.  Since this blog is about the hobby of flight simulation, it is this subject that I of course will blog about today.

How much time do you spend per month devoted to the flight simulation hobby?  I’ll let you ponder on this while you continue to read the rest of my blog posting and will come back to this question at the end.

Like you I have good days and bad days at work.  Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad on average…but when the bad starts to happen it can come out of nowhere.  I had one of those days on Tuesday.  The first day or so back from a holiday or vacation can be the worse in the IT world and the day after the US Memorial Day holiday was no exception.  Since my wife and I both work for the same company we have a enterprise IM (instant message) solution and I sent her a message reading….”stressful day, do we have anything planned for this evening?  If not, I would like to fly”.  Her response back to me was “I’m sorry you are having a rotten day, yes…why don’t you fly tonight”.

Now if you are a younger person reading this blog you may think to yourself, why is Jerry having to ask permission from his wife to fly?  If you are an adult and married, in a relationship etc. then you fully understand that I wasn’t asking for permission in the sense of a child asking a parent for permission….just a much necessary step when you are in a relationship. 

My wife is most supportive and while she didn’t tell me until later, she too had experienced some stress that day and wanted to spend a few hours reading a book.  By the way, my wife enjoys reading and she considers it a hobby.  My flight sim setup is in the basement and she has free roam of the house from the courtyard to the formal living room to read without hearing any of my aircraft and ATC noises.  But bottom line is she is very supportive and those of you in relationships will certainly understand the importance of this.

Anyway…I did fly and had a very enjoyable time doing so.  This was the last flight of the month for me and after sending in my PIREP via FSACARS I realized I had accumulated over 120 hours of flight time (time from parking brakes off to parking brakes on or gate to gate time) over 43 flights completed for the month of May.  But we all know there is more time involved than just the gate to gate time.  Some of these flights probably had a minimum of 15 minutes, some had 30 minutes of setup time.  I define setup time as starting the computers, starting FSX and all the other support software like ActiveSky X, FSINN, FSACARS etc. Then searching for a flight, booking that flight in my VA’s system, programming the FMS/CDU, getting clearance (if ATC is online).  Most of my 43 flights flown in May were not single flights of the day.  Meaning I flew multiple flights and of course only had the time to start the PC’s, load FSX etc. once.  So just using a round number of 20 minutes per flight…this still means I had another 12+ hours to add to the 120. 

Of course only some of the above time is spent performing my duties of DFW Hub Manager at American virtual Airlines.  While I do tend to do some of my required tasks when also flying…I would estimate another 5-10 hours per month are devoted to the VA work and let’s throw in another 2-3 hours for this blog and who knows how much time I spend reading other FS blogs and the forums at various flight sim sites.  What???  Perhaps almost 150 hours?  180 hours?  200 hours?  Of course I have no real way of defining the time I spend outside of the actual flying, I’m not going to punch a time clock as this is a hobby after all.  Ha Ha Ha

So how much time do you spend per month devoted to the flight simulation hobby?

Oh….I need to quickly close this blog posting out so I can get back to my flight planning for my ALL DAY online VATSIM flying in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the founding of American virtual Airlines.  I will fly for over 12 hours in five different flight legs.  Man do I have a great wife or what? I’m glad I stopped to get flowers yesterday on the way home from the office.  She deserves them.

Until next time….enjoy the hobby.

Jerry

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