SergioCosta

The helicopter thread

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I tried to look for a thread about helicopters but couldn't find anything specific. So, obviously, I had to start one.

Helicopters in FSX and P3D are pretty bad. With the honorable exception of the Dodosim 206, helicopter flight model is very poor and sluggish.

The trailer for MSFS2020 catered for the obvious Airliner / GA crew but, as usual, the helicopter lovers are neglected. I hope they are being neglected in the trailer but not on the sim itself, though. MSFS2020 without helicopters would be disappointing for our niche. Yes there are other (and better) sims with helicopters out there, but I think choices are always important to have. Especially when people invest so much in their sims.

Do we have rotorheads here? Are you also hoping Microsoft will do a good job? What are your hopes and fears for this sim regarding helicopters?

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A flight sim without helicopters isn't a general-purpose flight sim, so I'm just going to assume helicopters are present, even if they're not in the trailer.

I'm a huge fan of helicopters, having flown in many IRL in a career that involved a lot of aerial photography, where I hired them as flying camera tripods. Tons of fun with the door off. Mostly Jet Rangers, but I've flown in everything from Hughes 500's to Army Hueys, to one flight in the old bubble canopy Bell 47 (God, that thing was awful for vibration, give me a Jet Ranger any day).

I posted most of this in another thread here but I can't remember where. Anyway, here's the minimum I'd expect for a state-of-the-art helicopter model in the new MSFS. This should be built into the base simulation, not requiring 3rd party addons:

  • Accurate transition in and out of ground effect, and accurate translation from hover to cruise and back to hover.
  • Realistic autorotation for single engine helicopters
  • Retreating blade stall
  • Blade icing
  • Vortex Ring State
  • Mast bump for teetering 2-blade designs
  • Cyclic Force Trim & Release
  • Realistic 3-Axis and 4-Axis autopilot for medium to large models, not a hacked version of fixed wing autopilot. 

We can get this now in XP11 and DCS, so I see no reason why the new MSFS shouldn't have it also, if they're serious about including helicopters in the sim.

One area where Microsoft could give a big boost to helicopter simulation *and*  fixed wing, is to make a push for restoring force-feedback controls for flight simulation. We should be able to feel the onset of VRS with rotor vibration instead of just suddenly dropping out of the sky. Force feedback would also allow a "floppy" joystick without centering for more realistic cyclic control. 

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38 minutes ago, Spac3Rat said:

I tried to look for a thread about helicopters but couldn't find anything specific. So, obviously, I had to start one.

Helicopters in FSX and P3D are pretty bad. With the honorable exception of the Dodosim 206, helicopter flight model is very poor and sluggish.

The trailer for MSFS2020 catered for the obvious Airliner / GA crew but, as usual, the helicopter lovers are neglected. I hope they are being neglected in the trailer but not on the sim itself, though. MSFS2020 without helicopters would be disappointing for our niche. Yes there are other (and better) sims with helicopters out there, but I think choices are always important to have. Especially when people invest so much in their sims.

Do we have rotorheads here? Are you also hoping Microsoft will do a good job? What are your hopes and fears for this sim regarding helicopters?

Let me just say that I managed to log  in just so I could comment support on this thread. Helicopter support is cruicial for me!

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30 minutes ago, Paraffin said:

One area where Microsoft could give a big boost to helicopter simulation *and*  fixed wing, is to make a push for restoring force-feedback controls for flight simulation. We should be able to feel the onset of VRS with rotor vibration instead of just suddenly dropping out of the sky. Force feedback would also allow a "floppy" joystick without centering for more realistic cyclic control. 

The problem is currently not with the software implementation of force feedback. it's the lack of force feedback hardware. I have a MS Force Feedback 2 joystick and it works very well (particularly when teamed up with the FS Force add-on). We need a manufacturer (MS?) to restart FF2 production. Even after all these years it's probably still the best joystick from both a construction and realism standpoint. Great for helicopters as it doesn't have a return-to-centre spring.

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I would expect to have a helicopter and similar flight dynamics as possible in XP and DCS.

Surely not what FSX and P3D addons offers, which usually end up in awful helicopters which require a lot of pitch and power to reach normal cruise speeds, or the lack of vortex ring states and other peculiar conditions typical of helicopters.

Edited by france89
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Just now, france89 said:

Surely not what FSX and P3D addons offers, which usually end up in awful helicopters [...]

That's what I'm afraid of. I am hoping MS looks at helicopters differently. The limitations on FSX (and not just the flight model but also the inability to have a decent multi-engine helicopter) are pretty big. I hope they don't just port what they have into the new sim but actually look at the very different dynamics and quirks of these machines.

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Good question Sérgio... but I'm affraid that either they  announce some ESP-like mode for FS 2020, allowing for guys with other sims to just use ((provided the necessary tools get available, like those in use, among other platforms, by ELITE for the prop and rotaries, and Aerowinx for the PSX 747-400)) their scenery, or they'll have to really revisit their original FDM...

I would hapilly accept a chance to fly a DCS, X-Plane or even Aerofly helicopter using FS 2020 as a scenery generator 🙂

Meanwhile at the P3D Forum I found mention to work in Dodosim for P3Dv4.5 being done by the original developer... Looking fwd for it too!

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Rotorhead- Yes

Hoping for a good helicopter flight sim for MS2020- I would very much love it.

Hope for- a ton of really well modeled helicopters-

   2 blade, four blade, Coaxial and Tandem with practical additional uses

   such as Fire fighting 

   search and rescue 

   Cargo and vehicle sling

   Sexy scenery and not being able to fly through trees and buildings

   This list is not going to end...

I'm afraid of bad models (especially payware) that's not up to standard. 

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Microsoft's modelling of helicopter aerodynamics has just been plain awful. Over the years i have contributed a long list of items i wished where improved in the sim, but with this new sim i only have 3 items with proper or vastly improved helicopter dynamics being my top request. Let the flight model be good and addon developers or even MS can create a top notch addon aircraft. After all how else would we admire the beautiful scenery of the new sim

 

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Yup really looking forward to the new sim as Choice is EXCELLENT for the consumer and with fantastic Heli's available for both X-Plane, AeroFly FSII and DCS I'm really hoping that Microsoft come out with another excellent option for us rotorheads.

Aside from excellent flight models, I'm also really looking forward to the missions from FSX and hoping that they also transfer, well the idea of missions as I'm not expecting them to allow us to transfer existing stuff, into the new Sim as well.

Really hoping that MS is treating this as a new product and are not beholding themselves to backwards compatibility.

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1 minute ago, OzWookiee said:

Aside from excellent flight models, I'm also really looking forward to the missions from FSX and hoping that they also transfer, well the idea of missions as I'm not expecting them to allow us to transfer existing stuff, into the new Sim as well.

Sling-loading, hoisting operations, medevac, fire fighting, you name it. There's a whole bunch of stuff helicopters can do and adding those features to MSFS, along with a good flight model and physics might make the sim a game-changer for the rotorheads out there.

If it's VR-able, of course, which I am assuming it is.

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I have been Flight simming for many years, and whilst not the majority of my flight time, but almost, is in rotary wing aircraft.  

I hope that MS or someone develops something that is adequate for us rotorheads to enjoy.  Maybe it’s the recent rate of change, but things ten yrs ago were fairly stable.  Yes it was probably no competition, but with our market today, add-on developers don’t know what to target.  I bought P3Dv4 and XP11 after my PC crashed and was unrecoverable.  After jumping between the two, it wasn’t working so I have uninstalled XP11.  Slowly we are catching up with useable helicopters from the FSX days, but it is slow.

Whilst rotaries are not the biggest percentage of the market for a flight sim developer, they are dedicated and keen.  Payware and add-ons for helo’s are a business, and could be supported in any new sim.

its amazing that back in fs9 or maybe before that, Jordan had payware helicopters that had winches, and other aminiations, yet today nothing.

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Within the realm of MSFS given it's limitations, the Milviz Bell 407 is so far the best model I have experienced in that realm. 

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Just now, Sean H said:

Whilst rotaries are not the biggest percentage of the market for a flight sim developer, they are dedicated and keen.  Payware and add-ons for helo’s are a business, and could be supported in any new sim.

I agree with you 100%. I have seen that with our community. Folks are usually mature, helpful and extremely loyal. Don't be fooled, though: we ARE a small community but our numbers are growing and there's a lot of people out there that likes helicopters but just haven't found other like-minded rotorheads.

That was a big reason why I decided to post here on the forums: so that folks could realize there are other helicopter fans out there (our Facebook Group has over 6,000 members already, for example).

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2 minutes ago, Sean H said:

P.S. thankyou Sergio and others for supporting the helicopters simmers, we love you.

Awwwwww man... Thank you so much. I love you guys as well. Thank you for being "out there" 🙂

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13 minutes ago, SergioCosta said:

Awwwwww man... Thank you so much. I love you guys as well. Thank you for being "out there" 🙂

You do realize that we do have a Rotorhead forum on Avsim, don't you?  Perhaps you and some of the other rotor wing aficionados could be more active there too.

I too am looking forward to a usable variety of helicopters in the new MSFS. FSX had sling loading in one mission but it was a nightmare with faulty flight dynamics. and poor flight modeling. I'm hoping for more accuracy to come. 

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2 minutes ago, 188AHC said:

You do realize that we do have a Rotorhead forum on Avsim, don't you?

I am, yes. I wanted this thread to be specific for Microsoft Flight Simulator, though. I hope that's OK.

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39 minutes ago, SergioCosta said:

If it's VR-able, of course, which I am assuming it is.

Oh word not allowed, forgot that that is an absolute MUST HAVE!

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4 minutes ago, SergioCosta said:

I am, yes. I wanted this thread to be specific for Microsoft Flight Simulator, though. I hope that's OK.

Sure it is ok. I was just mentioning the forum in case you didn't know about it.

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If helicopters are modelled like X-plane or DCS I would move over very quickly - no support and you'd never get me there.

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DCS and XP use very distinct approaches to model rotary wing.

MSFS started introduced  "specific" rotary wing records in fs2004 / fs9, although helicopters started before in the MSFS franchise using a "flap exploit" :-)

But! DODOSIM has made for fs9, then fsx, and now is working or a P3Dv4 version, a Bell 206 that is certainly not behind what either XP or DCS. Of course it uses an "external" FDM, just like some well known fixed wing products such as the Q-400 and the FSLabs A319/20.

I don't think MSFS 2020 will introduce a new rotary wing flight model, but we will find soon if it actually does.

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+1  As the FDE author / coder / modeller of the MV-B407 I cant agree more with the requested  features, Working with the currently supported helo flight model one is required to hack and backdoor much of what one expects from choppers , recently Milviz went so far as to add a module to run outside the sim to hack / control the flight dynamics still further.

It would be a pleasure to see turbine engines better represented as well as Rotary flight , developers have come up with the codebase needed to generate both  ,  it is my ardent hope that MS makes use of these advances . its all a question of communication . 

Best CJ

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Yeah I'd love for FS2020 to model helicopters thoroughly.  I don't fly them much in P3D because they just feel crappy, DCS does a much better job but I really just want a good civilian heli sim.

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I think it was telling that Eagle Dynamics released Black Shark as one of the first study sim aircraft in DCS World. Eagle Dynamics noted for the physic modelling wanted to make a statement that they were serious about rotary and fixed wing flight dynamics. I'm hopeful if MS have a strong desire to support the rotary club we'll see a strong out the box addition to the new Microsoft Flight Simulator however @SergioCosta I fear you might just have to be a Grumpy Simmer for a bit longer yet! 😁

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