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The fun I'm having flyingthe Dreamfoil Bell 407 is just bubbling up, and so I thought I'd let it spill over here.

I don't think I'll ever go back to flying fixed wings. And I think it's the beauty of XP scenery at low altitudes that makes it so cool. I've created the three bridges near my home airport, and with OrthoXP and perfectly placed buildings ,.. well, you know what I mean.

I;ve mastered hovering pretty well, so much so that my mind (simple as it is) now seems to have been fooled into thinking I can actually feel the aircraft under me in a hover.

Now, where did I put that building with the rooftop landing pad?

Anyway, just sayin'

 

JTW, Indiana

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Hi JTW,

thanks for sharing your enthusiasm. I also enjoy flying helicopters very much, and I try to add more realistic helicopter landing sites around the world. The Wall-Street Heliport was done by me, for example, and I like adding hospitals and such as well.

The single largest improvement in helicopter flying for me was the implementation of VR. Until then, hovering with precision was a hit and miss, with VR it has become second nature. Have you tried that?

Cheers, Jan

 

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And, Austin told me last week he's also fine tuning the rotary flight dynamics, including rotor downflow physics, for 11.30 !

Among other stuff, more realistic VRS ( Vortex Ring State ) will take place if you're not correctly following the procedures 🙂

 

 

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They are to me more fun than fixed , i use the Bell 412 along with the AS350 and the R22. can't land anyways :)

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Yep, helicopters are one of the best things about X-Plane. I spend most of my rotary wing time in the X-Trident Bell 412 and Dreamfoil 407. The smaller/lighter ones are a little too twitchy for my control setup. The Bell 412  hits a sweet spot for pax/cargo in the FSEconomy game, although it's a pig for fuel costs in that game, compared to fixed wing. 

I'm looking forward to the rotor improvements Austin has been talking about, but I hope he doesn't over-do the VRS modeling. In previous versions of XP where it was included, it was too easy to enter (compared to the real thing, as I understand it). One big problem is that we don't feel rotor vibration when VRS starts to develop, with a chance to escape earlier. It was just a sudden on-off switch in the previous modeling, and the real thing isn't quite like that.

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1 hour ago, Paraffin said:

I'm looking forward to the rotor improvements Austin has been talking about, but I hope he doesn't over-do the VRS modeling. In previous versions of XP where it was included, it was too easy to enter (compared to the real thing, as I understand it). One big problem is that we don't feel rotor vibration when VRS starts to develop, with a chance to escape earlier. It was just a sudden on-off switch in the previous modeling, and the real thing isn't quite like that.

Amen to that - the previous VRS implementation was very easy to enter and absolutely deady if caught low. I chalked that one up to "Austin thinks its more fun this way" type of modeling (like the turbulence, for example...)

Jan

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I've just recently discovered helicopters myself. Have always been flying fixed wing but got a new joystick and thought it was time to take the chopper for a spin. Insanely fun but extremely frustrating at the same time. It is maddeningly difficult and I must confess I am utterly rubbish at it.

 

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9 minutes ago, Swe_Richard said:

I've just recently discovered helicopters myself. Have always been flying fixed wing but got a new joystick and thought it was time to take the chopper for a spin. Insanely fun but extremely frustrating at the same time. It is maddeningly difficult and I must confess I am utterly rubbish at it.

I'm still not that great at nailing a landing. I can make a soft touchdown, but not always at exactly where I wanted to be. Which makes oil rigs and helipad landings a hit or miss thing. This just takes practice. A few tips:

1) The most important accessory after a joystick is rudder pedals for the tail rotor. It's much harder to get the "balancing on a ball" feel of a hover with a twist joystick or keyboard controls. With pedals, you eventually get the feel of how to combine counteracting the rotor torque with a slight cyclic tilt to keep the tail rotor from pushing you sideways in a hover. Very hard to do with just a joystick. A separate throttle quadrant for your other hand is also good for simulating a collective, but pedals are the most essential accessory.

2) In X-Plane settings, set your throttle controller to "Throttle" and not "Throttle 1" or the other numbered throttles. This auto-reverses the axis when the sim detects a helicopter model, so it behaves more like a collective where you pull up and back to lift off. X-Plane will revert to normal throttle axis for a fixed wing model.

3) This is subjective, but I much prefer using the default landclass terrain instead of orthophoto terrain when flying helicopters. Default terrain has a fine-grained ground texture for judging height, very useful when landing off-airport. Orthophoto terrain (when not on an actual runway or ramp/helipad) are too low-res and blurry when close to the ground, so it's very difficult to judge your height in the critical last 50 feet or so. 

4) Linked below is a free PDF handbook on helicopter flying from the FAA (get the full PDF, or you can load just individual chapters). It still takes lots of practice for the feel of the controls in the sim, but there's a ton of useful info here about the various systems and unique flight dynamics of helicopters:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/helicopter_flying_handbook/

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Hi Parafin,

Thanks for the tip on the helicopter handbook. I have had limited success so far. Your tips in general and the handbook should help a lot.

Thanks.

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10 hours ago, Paraffin said:

I'm still not that great at nailing a landing. I can make a soft touchdown, but not always at exactly where I wanted to be. Which makes oil rigs and helipad landings a hit or miss thing. This just takes practice. A few tips:

4) Linked below is a free PDF handbook on helicopter flying from the FAA (get the full PDF, or you can load just individual chapters). It still takes lots of practice for the feel of the controls in the sim, but there's a ton of useful info here about the various systems and unique flight dynamics of helicopters:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/helicopter_flying_handbook/

Thanks for that manual! Will try to read through it as I have a suspicion that part of the explanation that I am so utterly bad at this would be that I don't know what I am doing. Controlling speed is (one of) my biggest issue. Tipping just ever so slightly forward seems to make me go 120+ after no time at all, and bleeding off that speed is almost impossible (pull back at the cyclic making me climb to 3000 feet as the speed slowly bleeds off). 

It's really fun, though.😂

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The Dreamfoil Bell 407 is excellent.  I also have that RXP GTN 750 mod so now it's perfect for online flight 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Swe_Richard said:

Thanks for that manual! Will try to read through it as I have a suspicion that part of the explanation that I am so utterly bad at this would be that I don't know what I am doing. Controlling speed is (one of) my biggest issue. Tipping just ever so slightly forward seems to make me go 120+ after no time at all, and bleeding off that speed is almost impossible (pull back at the cyclic making me climb to 3000 feet as the speed slowly bleeds off). 

Slowing down  while remaining in level flight is basically a process of thinking ahead of time about what you need to do. You slowly lower the collective for lower blade pitch, while also making a small rear pull of the cyclic at the same time. Keep those two motions in sync so you remain at the same height while slowing down. 

Flying smoothly in a helicopter is all about anticipating what you need to do ahead of time, based on prior experience. So keep at it, you'll get there!

One more tip -- if you have real weather enabled, check the direction of the wind. Always land into the wind, you'll have a lot more control. Fixed wing pilots don't have that luxury of always choosing a heading directly into the wind, so take advantage of it!

 

Quote

It's really fun, though.😂

It sure is!

Edited by Paraffin
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A question.  I'm using an X52 stick/throttle package and am experimenting with collective (axis/button) assignment.  Currently the little slider on the throttle is being used for lift off and that seems to work - not too elegant but ok.  Any more suitable and efficient methods/suggestions would be appreciated.

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22 minutes ago, olderndirt said:

A question.  I'm using an X52 stick/throttle package and am experimenting with collective (axis/button) assignment.  Currently the little slider on the throttle is being used for lift off and that seems to work - not too elegant but ok.  Any more suitable and efficient methods/suggestions would be appreciated.

If you're using the separate X52 throttle quadrant, are you using a small slider on the throttle quadrant, or the big throttle handle?

You should be assigning X-Plane's "Throttle" (without a number) to the big/main throttle handle.

In helicopters, you don't usually operate the engine fuel feed (throttle) separately from the collective that controls the rotor blade pitch. They're linked together automatically with a governor system on most modern helicopters. So just assign the basic X-Plane "Throttle" axis to that big handle. X-Plane will automatically reverse the axis for a helicopter model. Think of the big throttle handle as a collective instead of a "throttle" when flying helicopters.

There may be some situations where you might want to assign an actual X-Plane Collective axis to a controller, and something else for the engine throttle. But that's more for older or very basic helicopters, where you actually want to control the engine throttle and collective pitch separately. Or for recreating certain emergency situations. For most recreational helicopter flying in the sim, and especially in the learning stages, you don't need to worry about this.

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13 hours ago, Paraffin said:

If you're using the separate X52 throttle quadrant, are you using a small slider on the throttle quadrant, or the big throttle handle?

You should be assigning X-Plane's "Throttle" (without a number) to the big/main throttle handle.

In helicopters, you don't usually operate the engine fuel feed (throttle) separately from the collective that controls the rotor blade pitch. They're linked together automatically with a governor system on most modern helicopters. So just assign the basic X-Plane "Throttle" axis to that big handle. X-Plane will automatically reverse the axis for a helicopter model. Think of the big throttle handle as a collective instead of a "throttle" when flying helicopters.

There may be some situations where you might want to assign an actual X-Plane Collective axis to a controller, and something else for the engine throttle. But that's more for older or very basic helicopters, where you actually want to control the engine throttle and collective pitch separately. Or for recreating certain emergency situations. For most recreational helicopter flying in the sim, and especially in the learning stages, you don't need to worry about this.

Thanks for that - as it is, I'm using the throttle as you described and it is reversed for helicopters.  A little look at a 'how to' book probably wouldn't hurt.

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