We are all part of a small but devoted community. Yet there are a large number of individuals that stand out for some particular reason. When it comes to helicopters, though, we are talking about an even smaller community. Within this community of people disbelieving in the laws of physics and reason (Are y’all out of your mind, how can these things fly???), one particular person stands out most: Sérgio Costa of HeliSimmer.com!
Regularly, Sérgio creates quality content for his website HeliSimmer.com. You’ll find him in basically every major Facebook group (that includes groups for all major sims) and he also creates YouTube content. Despite all that activity he even finds the time to promote the joy of simulated helicopter flight on fairs. And even though his focus lies exclusively on rotorcraft, Sérgio is well known among the community as a whole!
Recently I find myself having more and more contact with Sérgio, even talking about private matters of our lives. That said, Sérgio is such a nice guy so I thought it might be interesting to learn more about him! Thankfully, he agreed to an interview!
Ollie: Sérgio, thanks for having this interview with me! Please introduce yourself to those who don’t know who you are and what you do!
Sérgio: Hi Ollie! I’m a programmer by profession and I’ve been simming for over 25 years now. I started with FS4 back in 1992/1993 and, from then on, simulators have always been my main hobby. Back in 2003 I started to get curious about helicopters and, so I hopped into Microsoft Flight Simulator’s default Bell 206 and quickly realized this was a whole new beast.
I quickly got hooked and, from then on, my main aircraft in sims have been helicopters.
In 2007 I have released an e-magazine (in .pdf format) called Rotorwash Magazine of which, unfortunately, only 2 issues were published because I lacked the time.
I still wanted to do something related to helicopter flight simulation besides actually simming so, in 2016 – nearly 2 years ago now, HeliSimmer was born.
Ollie: As we all know, you are a fan of helicopters! Please let me ask the question we all got on our minds, what the hell is wrong with you?
Sérgio: I’m a masochist? Seriously, helicopters are tremendously fun to fly. They are often seen as boring machines because they are not fast like fighters, majestic as airliners and most people see them as elevators: press a button to go up, press another go do down and sometimes, stop in mid-air.
You have tried helicopters. You know it’s not so. The challenge is there and, once you manage to tame them, they become very fun and you can do stuff that you cannot simply do in a fixed-wing aircraft.
Ollie: So you don’t like any GA or Airliners?
Sérgio: I do. I had been flying GA and airliners (mostly GA, though) for years prior to getting into helicopters. But they just don’t cut it for me. Just like some people only fly airliners and not GA or fly GA but not airliners, I spend most of my simming time in helicopters.
Ollie: Besides your website, spending countless hours on Facebook, creating content for YouTube and promoting your hobby to total strangers on fairs, is there anything else we should know about you?
Sérgio: I don’t spend that much time creating content for YouTube. Not as much as I would like to or as I should. But I do spend a lot of time working on the website, networking, finding information and taking care of our social accounts. Other than that, I spend a lot of time working (I’m self-employed so that always takes a lot of time from you) or with my family. I’m married and have a teenager daughter so you can imagine I have my hands full.
I also like helicopters. Did I mention that already?
Ollie: Running a website myself I understand that everything you do is very time consuming. However I’m also sure that you wouldn’t do all that without the proper motivation. What is your motivation?
Sérgio: My motivation is the community. I started HeliSimmer because I wanted to make something that would allow me to give back to the community after it had been giving me so much over the past 25+ years. All I do is for the other simmers out there.
Ollie: And what are you trying to achieve?
Sérgio: I’m trying to help and educate people about helicopters and helicopter flight simulation and show them that there’s a side to simming that they probably never thought about exploring but which is very much worthwhile.
I don’t expect people to drop their regular activities in the sim, but I hope that they get a better understanding of these machines and how hard they are to control but also how much fun you can take from them.
I can honestly tell you that flying helicopters made me a much better simmer, which is a great bonus. I have a lot of fun, I explore my sims in a new way and I got better at it!
Ollie: Your social accounts (Facebook and Twitter) have been growing steady over the years. Do you have a number of followers you’d like to hit? Is that important to you at all?
Sérgio: No. Well… It IS important for me to reach as many community members as possible so that I can try and help them like I said before, but I don’t follow numbers and I don’t think it should matter.
Above all, my main concern is to provide our readers with good content – as good as I can make it – and hope they enjoy it and take the most out of it. New followers, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, should come because people are interested in what you do. If you do a good job, people will want to follow your work.
I have been very fortunate to have quite a few amazing people out there interested in our work.
And I say “our work” because, although I am usually the one associated to the website, I have a few other brilliant simmers – and friends – helping me with the project. Joe Hudson, Drew ”Bel Geode” Bolton, Tristan “Novawing24” Ayrton and Nick Bates (which helped me immensely in the beginning but, unfortunately, due to professional commitments, has been away for about a year), these are the folks that I have to thank for their help, friendship and amazing times. HeliSimmer would not be what it is today if not for them.
Ollie: What are your plans for the future? Can we expect even more from you?
Sérgio: I have some plans for HeliSimmer – a couple of which are in motion – but that will take its time. You know that I don’t do this full-time (we both wish we could do it, right?) so time is always a major concern and problem.
There will be a new, small section on the website soon, which will be used to both help a friend and offer something nice to the community (I rather not say what is it right now).
Some other stuff will come in the future as well. If it depends on me, HeliSimmer will be around for many years and we will add something new to our readers and friends whenever possible.
Ollie: Sérgio, thanks for your time!
Sérgio: Thank YOU, Ollie, for having me and for keeping on working on your website. I’m very happy that you decided to go on, even if with a slightly different format.
Oh! And I still want to see your helicopter skills 😉
Ollie: Well, I wouldn’t call it “skills” yet! I definitely need more time to practice. Darn helicopters!!!