greggerm

Cera Sim AS365 - Autopilot Assistance

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Even though this forum hasn't had an actual post made to it in 2 years, I thought I'd ask my question here anyway...

OK, so I've been around the block more than a few times and can generally figure out the autopilot systems on an aircraft in the sim - at least well enough to suit my needs. That being said, I've recently purchased the payware CeraSim AS365 and I'm having some autopilot challenges.

It is one awesome aircraft and I can handle her manually on the shorter legs with no problems, but I'm endeavoring on a significant ferry of the craft where the autopilot will help to maintain my sanity. The "user manuals" for this payware airplane seem are limited to a gauge/switch/button reference card and some checklists which don't touch the operation of the AP. I've been able to figure out how to successfully couple the autopilot to the GPS and have it track to a destination, but I am experiencing significant challenges with the vertical navigation aspects of the AP.

When I attempt to engage the altitude hold autopilot from a relatively stable cruise attitude, the helo begins a dive down to about 500' and holds altitude there. I can't seem to find any gauge, button, or indication that would tell the AP what altitude to actually hold, so I was assuming that it would do it's best to hold the altitude I was flying at.. alas, no.

I'm hoping some of you may have used this helicopter and successfully leveraged its autopilot (particularly vertical guidance), and could perhaps pass along some pointers on how to get her to hold an altitude that I want for a long cruise...

Thanks for any tips!
-Greg

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I Never realized that Avsim has a helicopter forum. Surprised that it has no activity at all. Anyway, I was thinking about purchasing the AS365, but i had a sent an email to the cerasim website a couple of weeks ago, and never got any response and same result with a question I asked on their Facebook. I am afraid, that if you buy one of their products, there is zero support for it. Has this been your experience? 

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Despite my concerns about support, I decided to buy this copter anyway. Have you tried adjusting the trim for pitch after you hit the ALT button on the autopilot until it levels out? 

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The only issue I had in the beginning was altitude hold with the autopilot. Several times, i would be flying at a certain altitude, and noticed that the airspeed was getting lower and lower. When it dropped to about 40 knots, the AP would disengage. I also noticed that the torque gauges kept oscillating back and forth at a rapid rate with alt hold engaged. I finally figured out that apparently the way this AP works to hold altitude is it is varying the torque , with the cyclic pitch staying the same. Go down a few feet, torque increases a bit and vice versa. 

Apparently when I was having the problem with slowing down, the cyclic pitch trim which I have programed into this heli with FSUIPC Heli Trim, was set too nose up. This caused a gradual slowing down of the airspeed, and eventually when it hits the disengage point of the AP, it disconnects ( 40knots). The solution is to watch the airspeed when Alt hold is engaged, and if you see it start to drop, apply just a small amount of nose down cyclic trim until it returns to normal cruising speed. The Alt hold then works perfectly, and airspeed is constant.  

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Hi Bob!

So, to answer your questions...

While I did send a support request to Cera Sim about my difficulty, I did not receive any response. (Spam filters have been checked). I cannot speak for this being a regular situation with Cera Sim, but so far it has been quiet.

I was able to figure out a method using the speed hold feature instead of altitude hold. Once at a stable cruise altitude and speed, I engaged that mode. For fine tuning, I use the trim buttons to tweak the forward speed up or down until I'm maintaining a stable attitude.  It's not perfect (*and I have no idea if it is the correct way to fly her), but it did let me sit back while taking some 100-200 NM ferry flights.

It's a nifty helicopter, but as their website says - the autoflight systems do seem to need a bit of polish.

-Greg

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Try this and it works most of the time, unless you switch to an outside view which disengages the AP. 

1. Fly up to  your cruise level, and then engage alt hold. Make sure you are around 125+ knots.

2. Monitor your airspeed and if you see it start slowly declining, apply just a bit of nose down cyclic trim. Check torque readings to see if collective is in normal place for cruise. 

3 Once you have the airspeed steady, the altitude should hold like a rock. 

4. If for someone, the altitude starts declining, disengage alt hold, set altitude so it is steady with cyclic and trim and collective and re-engage alt hold. 

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Hi guys, saw your thread here and want to ask a question- I also just purchased the AS350 and am having trouble with the collective. I can't get it to move. How are your controls set up? I have a Saitek joystick and CH pedals (also a CH yoke) but can't get off the ground??? Also I send a support email to Cera Sim yesterday with no response yet, I had a lot of trouble just getting a password from them to set up an account so that I could buy their product; ended up buying it through Simmarket.

Thanks, Randy

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I've tried using the "Default Bendix Autopilot Mods" and it works great w/the as365! It's available as freeware guage at several sites, problly here also. Has hdg bug and nav/gps button also.Wonder if anyone will ever read this here! Oh well. Of course you still get the screen shake when in autopilot mode but who cares! Not me

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