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Guest El Buki

Helicopter Controls

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Guest El Buki

Ok, these are some basic questions so forgive my ignorance.I'm quite new to simulation, my only experience having played a little with Enemy Engaged. I'm finishing a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and I'm developing a very simple flight dynamic model for helicopters, which is generic but I'm focusing on the Westland Lynx since is the one for which I have the most information (fuselage aerodynamic coefficients, fist flapping frecuencies, etc...). I just want to jump from the mathematics and know how it feels in reality. With this background in mind, here are the questions:1. Helicopter controlsI want to spend a reasonable amount of money, say no more than 200-250$. Since I never have flied anything I'm not going to apreciate the difference anyway. I have thought of buying a joystick for cyclic (maybe Saitek X45), pedals (maybe CH Pro USB), and for the collective i would use the throttle control included with the joystick. Do you think this is ok? Any advice or other alternatives?2. FlyingI know very little about instrumentation and actual pilotage, is there any good introductory text to get me started? 3. InformationLooking for information is really hard. Although I have all the information I need for the flight model, and 3 view plans of the helicopter finding good photographs of the cockpit is getting hard, the best one I have found is this one: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:We...005_Cockpit.jpgI am thinking of buying the book "Westland Lynx in detail", which is aimed at model hobbyist but may prove useful. I wouldn't mind buying an already made model if I could find one, actually this would be useful anyway just in case I don't have time to make it myself.Thanks in advance. I welcome any response or any link to find myself the information.Note: English is not my native language so maybe I invented some words.

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Wow, at last - some life in this forum... I have to respond in kind.Answers:1. for a long time I used a CH Products control setup - a CombatStick for the cyclic, a Pro Throttle for the collective, and Pro Pedals for the pedal axis. I still have that setup, although I now have some somewhat more realistic controls (made by http://www.flight-link.com). I have always been very pleased with the CH Products controls, and highly recommend them (at least, given the limitations of PC-based helicopter simulators as detailed below). I will probably sell the Flight Link stuff and revert back to my CH stuff - only because the FL controls and seat take up some room in my basement that I have other plans for. The CH stuff offers the most sensitivity, and the most realistic amount of control stiffness *as compared to a real helicopter* of any commonly-available PC flight controls that I have tried. (And I have tried a lot of them.)A significant control aspect that FS2004 does not model well is the throttle/fuel control of the modeled helicopter engine - hopefully MS will do a better job of this in "FS-X". The other PC-based helicopter simulator worth mentioning, X-Plane, may do a better job at this particular thing, but frankly I gave up on X-Plane a while ago after waiting and waiting and waiting (for three or more years) for it to do a better job on overall helicopter flight simulation.2. I don't have links handy, but there are a lot of good resources on the web about what it's like to fly a helicopter - at least in basic terms. A thorough search will turn up all kinds of "instruction". One editorial comment I will submit is that flying a helicopter is at least a bit more "eyes outside" activity than flying an airplane - in other words (at least in the relatively low-performance piston-powered helos that I've flown) you should be looking outside more than at the gauges, especially at low speed/close to the ground. In other words, the main MAIN instrument in your "scan" when flying in those regimes is the main rotor/engine RPM gauge. All of the other dials are quite secondary 8^) . 3. Making a realistic computer-based flight model for *any* helicopter is incredibly challenging, and I would submit that no-one has yet gotten it anywhere close to being reasonably realistic - at least for the simulators that are commerciallly available for less than many hundreds of thousands of dollars (and even those high-dollar sims have their limitations). This is compounded by the inherent "unreality" (I just made that word up so we're even!) of practically any flight simulator hardware setup - a full motion-based simulator done well will of course be better than what you can run on your home computer, but even those have significant limitations in terms of "flight reality". For instance, flying a helicopter at very low speeds (or no speed! in the case of a hover) relies almost entirely on visual cues, which are very challenging to reproduce in a flight simulator.Flight Simulator 2004 does a reasonably nice job of approximating the control of a helicopter at a basic level, but its flight model is missing a lot of things, including my pet peeve, which is a lack of accurate modeling of how the anti-torque pedals are supposed to work. The aerodynamics of a helicopter are at least a couple orders of magnitude more difficult to simulate realistically, as compared to an airplane. This has always been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a major challenge for any "flight simulator".I hope that my little editorial answered at least one or two of your questions.Cheers,Dave Blevins


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Quote "my pet peeve, which is a lack of accurate modeling of how the anti-torque pedals are supposed to work." At Dodosim we have created proper anti-torque (and LTE, VRS and rotor droop etc) for our Bell 206 and it was indeed very difficult to do, it was originally designe for realworld training and has turbine hotstart failures, overtorque and all that stuff too.Of course it is payware so not everyone's cup of tea but if you want take a look for yourself see www.dodosim.com/enthus.html or ask around.Most of the rotorheads seem to migrate over to www.hovercontrol.com which is very active, we are definately a minority over here!

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Guest El Buki

>Wow, at last - some life in this forum... I have to respond>in kind.Yes, I already had forgotten about this post. Thanks for taking the time to answer.>The CH stuff offers the most>sensitivity, and the most realistic amount of control>stiffness *as compared to a real helicopter* of any>commonly-available PC flight controls that I have tried. (And>I have tried a lot of them.)Well, didn't buy anything yet but I'm probably going to get CH Pro Pedals, and maybe joystick too.>A significant control aspect that FS2004 does not model well>is the throttle/fuel control of the modeled helicopter engine>- hopefully MS will do a better job of this in "FS-X". The>other PC-based helicopter simulator worth mentioning, X-Plane,>may do a better job at this particular thing, but frankly I>gave up on X-Plane a while ago after waiting and waiting and>waiting (for three or more years) for it to do a better job on>overall helicopter flight simulation.I'm not going to use FS2004 but FlightGear(http://www.flightgear.org), the reason is than I can have a separate program (my project) feeding orientation, position and other magnitudes to FlightGear which takes care of the visuals. I'm using linux too.>2. I don't have links handy, but there are a lot of good>resources on the web about what it's like to fly a helicopter>- at least in basic terms. A thorough search will turn up all>kinds of "instruction". One editorial comment I will submit is>that flying a helicopter is at least a bit more "eyes outside">activity than flying an airplane - in other words (at least in>the relatively low-performance piston-powered helos that I've>flown) you should be looking outside more than at the gauges,>especially at low speed/close to the ground. In other words,>the main MAIN instrument in your "scan" when flying in those>regimes is the main rotor/engine RPM gauge. All of the other>dials are quite secondary 8^) . I already noticed how lacking of detail is representation near the terrain, it's a real pain to know how far for ground you really are. >3. Making a realistic computer-based flight model for *any*>helicopter is incredibly challenging, Tell me about it :)>and I would submit that>no-one has yet gotten it anywhere close to being reasonably>realistic - at least for the simulators that are commerciallly>available for less than many hundreds of thousands of dollars>(and even those high-dollar sims have their limitations). This>is compounded by the inherent "unreality" (I just made that>word up so we're even!) of practically any flight simulator>hardware setup - a full motion-based simulator done well will>of course be better than what you can run on your home>computer, but even those have significant limitations in terms>of "flight reality". For instance, flying a helicopter at very>low speeds (or no speed! in the case of a hover) relies almost>entirely on visual cues, which are very challenging to>reproduce in a flight simulator.>Flight Simulator 2004 does a reasonably nice job of>approximating the control of a helicopter at a basic level,>but its flight model is missing a lot of things, including my>pet peeve, which is a lack of accurate modeling of how the>anti-torque pedals are supposed to work. There is so much lack of information that even if they worked the mathematical model I wonder if they would get some numbers to feed to the model.>>The aerodynamics of a helicopter are at least a couple orders>of magnitude more difficult to simulate realistically, as>compared to an airplane. This has always been, and will>continue to be for the foreseeable future, a major challenge>for any "flight simulator".I went insane reading some papers about aerodynamic and structural modelling of the rotor but I'm not going to have time to implement them, maybe later as a hobby.>I hope that my little editorial answered at least one or two>of your questions.Yes, thanks :)

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Guest gasebah

In regard to No.1 check this out: http://www.heli-kit.com.ar/index.htmShould be way better and realistic as using the throttle wheel of a joystick. In a helicopter you do not usually set anything and leave it alone like the throttle in a plane. While a usual pilot is actually flying an aircraft helicopter flying is more like constantly preventing the crashing :-). What I want to say is that a helo permanently needs some control input also regarding the collective. Therefore I would rather go for a simple joystick but would invest in this thingy and decent pedals. Alex

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Guest ribasa

Do you still have the Flight-link controls? If so, are you interested in selling the products? What are the products?Thanks,Al

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