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armchairpil0t

Heli Traffic 2009 first impressions

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Just got Heli Traffic 2009 from Flight1, here are my first impressions:The product claims to add realistic AI helicopters to FSX. The installation is straightforward, it adds itself to the FSX Addons menu.I started by clicking "options" in it's Addons sumbenu. FSX paused and the program started scanning my BGL files for helipads which took several minutes (and I wasn't warned!). It seems it saved the info somewhere, because when I closed and restarted FSX later, reading BGL files took only a couple of seconds.In options, you can basically adjust the program-generated random traffic: density and helicopters used. It lists every helicopter paint scheme there separately.Enabled the traffic, and soon saw a few helicopters flying around. They fly from helipad to helipad, and they indeed take off and land vertically (I had strong doubts about that, but it seems Flight1 somehow managed to do it). The takeoffs are simply WOW, the video on their website doesn't do them justice, unbelievably realistic. The position lights switch on, the rotor spins up, then the helo slowly lifts up. When it reaches about 10 feet AGL, it starts ascending, accelerating forward and at the same time slowly turning towards it's destination. You have to see it to believe!Landings are very cautious: the helo descends towards the helipad, slows down and comes to a complete stop over it. It then turns while hovering, then stops again, then slowly descends to the helipad. Their helipads have a "heading" parameter and all helos that land at a helipad turn exactly to that heading first.In cruise flight, helos fly straight from helipad to helipad. You can define scheduled helicopters with waypoints to make them turn in flight etc, but program-generated random helicopters don't do that.It uses airport helipads from AFCADs. There are not a lot of them in the FSX world (when you make a scheduled helo, it displays a list of all FSX helipads when you choose destinations). In the program, you can add "landing spots", which do not show any helipad markings, but are used for helicopter takeoffs and landings too (I added a few on my apron).They have their own helicopter traffic map. It looks very basic (just a white window with dots for helicopters and helipads and a scale), but it helps you find helos, and you can command helos to fly where you want from there.I added a few helicopters downloaded from the file library, they are recognized and used by the program, but some of them are not good for the frame rate. Using default Bell 206s and Robinsons, you can have dozens of helos flying around and still have a decent frame rate.Helos from Traffic X didn't appear in the program first. I later found a button in options that allows you to designate every airplane as helicopter, and when I enabled Traffic X helos there, they appeared too. They don't look as realistic as other helos though. The rotors spin up too quickly, and the helos start hovering immediately (it is not a bug in the Flight1 product, but simply a way Just Flight coded those helos for use in airplane AI traffic).What's bad:Helos hover way too perfectly. In real life, a hovering helo will always move a bit to one side, a bit to another side. These AI helos, when hovering, appear frozen in the air, like being firmly attached to something (the rotors do spin and they do slow down properly before coming to the frozen position).I also noticed that the helos use landing lights even during the day.Sounds from AI helos are a bit weak (they sound like a helo would sound from inside the cabin). Hope Flight1 will fix it.Overall it made a very good impression and creates way more realistic AI helos than anything I have seen before, despite the few shortcompings. I myself mostly fly the default Cessna, but I find it great to see a couple of rotorcraft in the air. So a happy user here.

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Sounds interesting. Is this a new product? I never heard of it before. I might have to get it. It would be a nice addon to my Aerosoft NY scenery.Rob

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I have had this for about 8 months, its a fantastic program, I have over 100 paints and I have also spent some time programming in custom flight plans so I use only my programmed flights and its amazing to add that helo realism.

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Sounds interesting. Is this a new product?
It's a new release by Flight1 (an earlier version of the same product was apparently published by another company).

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It's a new release by Flight1 (an earlier version of the same product was apparently published by another company).
It's the same developer, but the initial version was released through his web site. The upgraded version is now being handled through the Flight1 system.I'm hoping we see some AI-specific models, with multi-LODs, coupled with a flood of repaints. Using the EH101 from FSXP is a bit of a frames hog, as would probably be any other flight specific helo model. There's much better FPS using the default Bell and Robinson.

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What's bad:Helos hover way too perfectly. In real life, a hovering helo will always move a bit to one side, a bit to another side. These AI helos, when hovering, appear frozen in the air, like being firmly attached to something (the rotors do spin and they do slow down properly before coming to the frozen position).
Hello!I just purchased this product yesterday, I haven't used it yet. So far it looks like a dream come true for my Flight Sim experience. I had recently passed on using the previous version of this product only because the AI helos operated independently from the rest of the AI traffic and did not have ATC interaction. If one of the only bad issues with this product is that the helos hover too perfectly, then I should be alright with it. On the other hand if they had modeled the AI helos to hover frantically like me during my first real flight in a Bell Jet Ranger, then the product would not be worth writing about. :( Thanks for the review.Keith

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I'm unsure why an FS9 version can't be made??? I'd buy it then.

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Because FS9 doesn't have SimConnect, which allows external programs to feed information and animations into the sim.

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I had recently passed on using the previous version of this product only because the AI helos operated independently from the rest of the AI traffic and did not have ATC interaction.
Actually I never listen to the ATC when flying, so I do not know if they interact with the ATC or not.You can try making a suggestion in their forum, it appears they addressed all nearly user suggestions they got after the first version. So maybe ther is hope for you.

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Because FS9 doesn't have SimConnect, which allows external programs to feed information and animations into the sim.
That's too bad. I didn't realize SimConnect made all those differences. I just can't get into FSX to bother with it right now. Maybe some day.

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Just got their update to version 1.01. They fixed a few bugs in the FSX version and added an FS9 version. AI helicopters with retractable landing gear now work correctly in FSX.I tried the FS9 version too and it appears to work very well (very similar to the FSX version, except that you get no sound from AI helicopters). Since I am quite happy with FSX, I will stay with the FSX version for now :( I would recommend FS9 users to check it out - it does add a lot of realism to the sim. Looking at their support forum, a few FS9 users had problems with it, but they have a downloadable file that seems to fix all problems reported.

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If your looking for something a little different, try a few harriers from one of the mil AI sites.I use the ones from MAIW and they perform very well, including the gear retract in FSX.Soundai.cfg is aliased to one of my jet engine folders.Mike

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I got this this morning. Been having fun with it.I like it very much. The best part is, After I load each flight, I can decide if I want choppers around me or not and turn it on/off. Its very user friendly to create landing spots anywhere and then easy to create a traffic from one spot to another.I was flying around O'ahu after creating so many landing spots in addition to the airport landing spots. I also created some spots on aircraft carrier in the scenery Its a lot of fun.Manny

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Does the FSX version care whether your AI traffic files are in TDBB or TT format?

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Does the FSX version care whether your AI traffic files are in TDBB or TT format?
No, Heli Traffic 2009 runs outside of the FSX AI system, other than to display the red labeling, if it's turned on.

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No, Heli Traffic 2009 runs outside of the FSX AI system, other than to display the red labeling, if it's turned on.
I need to contact them. If they are using the same flight models that the earlier version used then they are my flight models, and I haven't given anyone except the original author permission to use them, and that was for freeware only.

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Heli Traffic 2009 runs outside of the FSX AI system,
...which, I suppose, explains how the original poster can do this:
You can define scheduled helicopters with waypoints to make them turn in flight etc,
...pretty interesting what can be done outside the SDK...

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