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philmurfin

I'd like to try helicopters

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Hello,

 

For a while now, I have fancied the idea of learning (or trying to) to learn helicopter flying in XP. Many people have said how difficult it can be and that's kind of put me off, but  I've decided I'm going to give it a bash.

So, where do I start in terms of equipment and learning please? Initially, I'd like to keep the costs low in case it doesn't work for me, if it does, well then I'll get better stuff. As a starting point, I've got a joystick with rudder control included, what else I need, I don't know.

 

All and any advice would be most welcome please

 

Thanks

Phil

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Helicopters are difficult but real fun, especially when you manage to do your first hover or smooth landing. 

 

In terms of learning, there are some good tutorials over on the x-plane.org forums, but it just takes lots of practice, sometimes it can get frustrating, but it's also very addictive. Avism also have a helicopter tutorial which is excellent (Although for FSX, it's still relevant http://www.avsim.com/pages/0604/heli/helitutorial.htm). I learned using Dreamfoil's Bell 206, and I found it's not so easy to jump from one heli to the other initially, so it's best just to stick to one until you get used to it.

 

Once you're in the air, helicopters are simple enough to fly, it's the hover, takeoff, taxi and landing that are challenging. Generally, you start learning how to hover, and the rest then becomes much easier.

 

In terms of equipment, well I only have a Saitek X52 Pro and TrackIR. It's much more tricky as helicopters require very precise and light movements, and this is harder to replicate on a joystick. I also don't have rudder pedals, and it makes it harder, but it isn't impossible. If you can afford it, you should look at getting a controller specifically for helicopters. I do think TrackIR is a must, especially when hovering.

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So, where do I start in terms of equipment and learning please? Initially, I'd like to keep the costs low in case it doesn't work for me,

Well, the biggest problem with helicopters are their very sensitive rudders. You don't need for the beginning a very good Joystick but without rudder pedals don't even dream about the http://store-x-plane-org.3dcartstores.com/Eurocopter-AS350-B3-Plus_p_228.html . Too unstable. Even the general highlight, the Bell 407 http://store-x-plane-org.3dcartstores.com/Bell-407_p_299.html isn't really predictable in such a setup.

Heavier Helicopters like the Bell 412 ( http://store-x-plane-org.3dcartstores.com/Bell-412_p_326.html ) or the BK 117 ( http://store.x-plane.org/MBBKawasaki-BK-117_p_46.html ) are much more stable.

 

Or you could try the soft core programm and try the cheaper Robinson R-66 http://store.x-plane.org/Robinson-R66-Turbine_p_296.html , which doesn't really need a good ruddder control.

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I fly all of Dreamfoil's helicopters without rudder pedals (i.e. The Bell 407, 206, etc..), it isn't impossible, it's just not very realistic :-). Also, most of them have stability settings, so you can make them easier to fly.

 

Another great helicopter with a stablity/easy mode is Alabeo's R66. It's a great helicopter and another of my favourites. It's easily possible to fly this one with my Saitek X52, and once you're feeling confident, you can turn off the easy mode.

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Thanks chaps, some great feedback and  suggestions there giving a lot of food for thought.

I think initially, I'll go down the Alabeo R66 route as it seems simpler than the other offerings to start with, and for that matter, it's also cheaper!

 

Thanks again

Phil

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I flew Helicopters in the US Army back in the early 90's. I learned on the UH-1 Huey and later transitioned to the AH-1 Cobra. 

 

They can be tricky to learn, but as said above, Hovering is the hardest part. Level flight is no big deal. Transitioning to a hover can also be a little tricky. When learning to hover, our whole class (12 ships) practicing hovering in an open field in Alabama. Everyone was all over the place. It wasn't pretty. Then one by one (over a month long period), it all started to click. It was a great feeling, like learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

 

Keep practicing and you will get it!

 

I tried Helicopters in FSX, but it was not even close to what its really like.

In X-plane, it is a lot better.

The best helicopter flight model ive seen so far was in DCS Huey. Its as close to the real thing as ive seen so far. Just a little bored with the scenery in that sim.

 

Rudder pedals help a lot, but a twisty joystick will do too. You will need to use the rudder/tail rotor  a lot!

 

Also each helicopter has a different feel to it, just like fixed wing. The Cobra was like a sports car compared to the Huey's Mini van like handling. Still the UH-1 was more fun!

 

Rob 

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---Brief thread diversion alert--Comanche, I'm trying to learn more advanced techniques to fly the UH-1 in DCS, and I've been meaning to ask a real UH-1 pilot. If I ask them over in the Huey thread in the DCS section of Avsim, will you answer them? I have a couple. Well, actually, I kind of have a lot...

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---Brief thread diversion alert--Comanche, I'm trying to learn more advanced techniques to fly the UH-1 in DCS, and I've been meaning to ask a real UH-1 pilot. If I ask them over in the Huey thread in the DCS section of Avsim, will you answer them? I have a couple. Well, actually, I kind of have a lot...

 

Its been a while since I flew a UH-1, but Ill do my best to answer.

 

Rob

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Ok, I posted them in the Huey thread. You're going to see how many questions I have and say "aw s**t why did I say yes to this guy", but believe me, I appreciate anything you can answer. I've never even been inside a real helicopter, so you can imagine the learning curve of trying to fly the Huey "realistically" without the benefit a flight instructor! I've done enough practice that my ability to control the copter is actually quite good, it's mainly the real world technique that is lacking.

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I'm absolutely loving flying the Dreamfoil R22.  It's a great beginner helicopter, in my opinion, since you can tune the sensitivity for yaw, pitch, and roll separately, plus it comes with an 'arcade' mode.  I'm sure you could turn the yaw stability up to 100, and have no issues flying it without rudder pedals.

 

The other bonus is that you can still play expert and do a full start-up / shutdown, but without having to learn a ton of stuff or spend a ton of time involved in it, since the R22 is very basic.  It hits a sweet spot for me; I love aircraft that are 100% simulated, yet simple enough that you can learn them inside and out without having to keep a manual handy.  One of my favorite aircraft in FSX was the very same: the 4X DA20-100 by Marcel Felde.  Fully simulated right down to the circuit breakers, yet very, very simple to learn and fly.

 

Things like being able to interactively roll it into / out of a parking spot is icing on the cake. ^_^

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I love aircraft that are 100% simulated, yet simple enough that you can learn them inside and out without having to keep a manual handy

 

Yes, hit the nail on the head for me also. These are my favourite types of aircraft inside the sim, and the R22 is no exception, it's fantastic and great fun to fly.

 

 

 


I think initially, I'll go down the Alabeo R66 route as it seems simpler than the other offerings to start with, and for that matter, it's also cheaper!

 

Yes, you've made a great choice. Remember that on the virtual yoke is a green/red button. When it's green it is in "easy" mode, when red, well, it becomes a completely different beast. I originally thought the helicopter was too easy until I noticed this button existed :-)

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I always liked helicopters. I own 3 of them.  I Bought the Dreamfoil in X-Plane loved it.   After going to P3D i got the MD503 from Milviz,  also very nice indeed.  

 

A couple of evenings ago i picked up the Dodosim 206 and i have to say im really liking this one,  so many settings and different realistic things going on, its great. 

You can pick your diffuculity setting and so on.  The sounds are terrific,  the textures are a little outdated but in terms of flight realism and systems, its the Accusim of the whirly bird world. 

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With XP9 I think overall helicopters felt more plausible.

 

Something happened with XP10 that caused them to top, unrealistically, with higher cyclic roll inputs. I had the Dreamfoil AS350, and it could turn upside down as if there was no inertia, under some circumstances where my cyclic travel was just a bit more aggressive, even starting from a hovering situation... I don't recall this happening to XP9 helicopters ?..

 

Also, most well known rotary wing effects, like the basic VRS, aren't simulated, or at least believably simulated.

 

As someone pointed out - helicopters = DCS World.... the rest is countryside....

 

But of course, most of us aren't using not even near the recommended hardware, and vlying an helo will never be any close to real flying of such aircraft....

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I never knew that, I'd always presumed the flight dynamics hadn't changed much between XP9 and XP10.

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I haven't it for sure, just my experience Tony... I bought that nice Dreamfoil 350, tested a few more freeware offers, and gave up on helicopters in XP10, as much as I did in fs9, and skipped in fsx... 

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Sorry,  didnt read the first post properly,  only X-Plane. 

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Elaine,

 

the DODOSIM 206 was the best offer there was for fs9. Never bought the FSX version though... Does it work with FSX:SE ?

 

I found it very good by that time...

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In terms of equipment, well I only have a Saitek X52 Pro

 

And these work well on helicopters,  i take it you would use the left stick as a throttle,  for any plane/heli yes? 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/X52-Pro-Flight-Simulator-Controller/dp/B000LQ4HTS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435235977&sr=8-1&keywords=Saitek+X52+Pro

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saitek-Flight-Controller-System-Joystick/dp/B00030GSJY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1435235977&sr=8-2&keywords=Saitek+X52+Pro

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Tony, 

 

sorry for diverting the OP subject, but I also installed back my old x52 Pro after selling the x55 Rhino ( I actually prefer the feel of the x52, even with all of the optional springs that come with the x55 ).

 

I also bought back rudder pedals - this time the Saitek Combat Pro :-)

 

But!  My old x52 Pro is half functional. The joystick unit itself only has the roll / pitch and twist axis plus the 3 frontpanel rocker switches working. All other button will all lit up and block the joystick if I try to operate them :-(

 

I thought about replacing the 6 pin male-male  PS2 cable, but have read many threads of people who did the same to no avail...

 

Have you got any clue on how to fix it ?

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And these work well on helicopters,  i take it you would use the left stick as a throttle,  for any plane/heli yes? 

 

Yep it works fine, but you will likely need to play around with the sensitivity settings in X-Plane. You'll find yourself using it much more than you would for just the throttle on a fixed-wing, and it lacks the full range needed, but has been good enough for me.

 

 

 


Have you got any clue on how to fix it ?

 

I was actually going to suggest replacing the PS2 cable as well, this very well might the problem. Mine is already starting to be twitchy and sometimes certain controls lock up and the only way to get them back is to twiddle around with the connection. It's my fault for being rough with it, I'm also on my second TrackIR after stepping on and breaking my first one :(

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I'm also on my second TrackIR after stepping on and breaking my first one

 

Ooops!  That hearts!!!!!  :wacko:

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Poppet, go over to the hovercontrol website, and you can download a set of higher definition cockpit textures for the Dodo. It really cleans things up and gets rid of the blurry labels.

 

@Jose. Get the Warthog. Get the Warthog. Get the Warthog. Get the Warthog. You love flight simulation. You love helicopters. You love P-51's. Get the Warthog.

 

:)

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I thought about replacing the 6 pin male-male PS2 cable, but have read many threads of people who did the same to no avail...
Have you got any clue on how to fix it ?

 

I had the exact same issue on my x52.  There were other issues, however, so at that point I just scrapped the x52. 

 

My x55 has separate USB connections for the stick and the throttle however, and works great.  It also can run with no spring at all, which is sorta good for helicopters, since it removes any sort of center detent, at the expense of needing a very fine touch. I've thought up a few ways of creating a damper for the stick, but if I had time to complete even half the ideas I think up.... ^_^

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