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Bitten by flying bug! Where to start?

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I took a flight in a UH-1 G model a few days ago. After a few minutes at the controls, I was bitten bad by the flying bug. After much searching, I ran across this web page and forum. I would like to see if an aviation SIM can help me in between real flights. Any suggestions as far as software, cyclics, collectives, pedals.....I need to keep it relatively simple since I am a novice to flying and computers. Thanks for your time. Doc V

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Well Hi there, Doc..... welcome. This particular forum is for all the helicopter pilot wannbes out there. Most of us use MS Flight Simulator 2002 and there are a variety of choppers available for use in this sim. But the default Bell206 is a good place to start.Keep it simple? Okay..... software: MSFS 2K2 OR Fly!2 (I have no experience with X-plane, but I believe it also offers helicopters.)Hardware: A computer fast enough to give you a consistent 15 fps. You can't control a sim copter without smooth performance. A joystick and rudder pedals. Pretty much your choice here, whatever you're comfortable with. I would recommend a stick with programmable buttons.There are tons of choppers available for download with FS2K2, but as far as I know, the only helos available for Fly!2 are the default 407s. They are just as good as anything you'll find for FS2K2 (with the possible exception of the new Dauphin, but that's in a class by itself.) One advantange in Fly!2 is it allows you to configure your stick and pedals specifically for the choppers, separate from whatever you have set for your fixed wing aircraft. In FS2K2 you set up your stick and pedals and that's what you use for everything you fly. I'm sure others will help you out as well. But this info might help you get started. Again, welcome.-Lindy :-rotor :-newbie

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CH Pro Pedals are probably the best ones to get for a Computer Simulation at this point, unless you want to spend tons of money on them. They are fairly inexpensive compared to similar products for Aviation Sims.

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My own personal opinion is, that for helicopters at least, the sim does not really bear any resemblance to the real thing. This harks back to the fact that controlling a helicopter depends far more on "feeling" what the helicopter is doing. Not necessarily as much when you're up in the air and moving at speed, but certainly when you're trying to hover it. The basic fact is that it is not possible to simulate the stimulii which a pilot's senses react to whilst trying to hover.I was only thinking about this matter the other day whilst flying for real. When I was established in a hover, I intentionally kept the cyclic stationery. Of course, the helicopter was not in a stable hover for very long. This just proved to me that I was making small movements to establish a hover which I no longer recognise I am doing - it's become second nature to respond to the external stimulii. And no matter how long you practise on a sim, it's never going to be any use for "real" flying, apart from teaching navigational aids etc.I suppose what I'm trying to say is that a lot of people compare hovering a helicopter to riding a unicycle, and no simulator's going to teach you to ride a unicycle.And ultimately, I don't think it matters if it's "real" or not. The sim is there for us to have fun and treat and "cheat" however we like. If we don't like it, we don't play it - simple as that.

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Thanks to every one that answered. I appreciate the feedback. Is CH a brand name? And to Thunderthumbs......I understand what you mean. I'm a surgeon, and you can do simulated procedures on a computer all day, but it can only teach you concepts not technique or 'gut' feeling. That's what I'm looking for I think. I was so focused on controlling the aircraft that I was missing the concept of rotary flight. Anyway, thanks for the input.Doc V.

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Also be sure to go to http://members.shaw.ca/hoversafe/Hoversafe.htm Do everything they say as it will make your FS2002 helio experience exponentially better.P.S. they have execllent downloadable lessons without which I would have never been able to hover or otherwise ocntrol the copters at max realism.

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I have to say that I think that flying the helo in FS98, 2K & 2002 have helped me flying real copters. I've flown Hughes 269 and EC 120 and I wouldn't have learned to hover that fast if I haven't flown the sim first. My former boss (at a Helicopter Company in Sweden) was amazed over my skill to controll the copter and that was my first time in a real copter. I had flown FS98 about 250 Hrs before I tried the Hughes for my first time. I think the sim helps a little bit, because you'll learn how a copter reacts on inputs. Have a nice day!Magnus from Sweden

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Doc: You will find that flying the sim will teach you how the helo reacts to different control inputs, though admittedly, you have no sensory inputs other than visual, and you have no peripheral cues. However, for basic 'move this control and see the reaction', the sim will help you understand the basics of helo flight. For example, as you increase torque with the collective, you have to increase torque control with the pedals, just like in a real ship. Controls are pretty much your option. I use an older Thrustmaster FCS/WCS for a separate stick and throttle set-up, and I use the CH Products 'Pro Pedals.' It is a great setup and allows me to control the ship well. As far as a computer goes....you need a fairly fast system with a great graphics card that will provide good amount of frames per second. My PC is a 2ghz PIV with 512mb ram and a GeForce 3 video card. You need smooth operation in a helicopter, so a jumpy framerate will only exacerbate things during the learning process. Make sure that whatever system you use will give 15-20 frames per second to allow you to control the ship....otherwise, you will constantly be behind the power curve.Through proper system set-up, frustration is best kept to a minimum to maximize enjoyment. Have fun!!!!!!'Rexbo'Operations DirectorCougar Mountain Helicopters

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Wow! I really appreciate all the input from you guys! I asked the same question on another flight sim website and still haven't gotten any replies.I think I will probably go with FS2002. The computer specs I will give to my local expert for intrepretation and implementation. There is one place in town that has all the pedals and joysticks you all have mentioned, so I will probably go there next weekend and stock up.Again, thanks for your time. (My next real flight is in 2 weeks!)Doc V.

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I think everyone, even fs2002 users, should read the excellent 28 page Fly!II Bell 407 manual, which is available for download in the file library. It is a great primer that explains the different aerodynamic effects the chopper pilot will encounter, and it also has a good explanation of different manoeuvers, including autorotation.- Oyvind

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