I would like to start by saying thank you for letting me being part of the AVISIM team. As my first review, I get the pleasure of reviewing one of my favorite aircraft, the Bell UH-1.
The Huey story traces back over four decades. A great advance in helicopter propulsion had come in the 1950s with the adaptation of the gas turbine engine to helicopter flight. The piston-drive engines used in Korea and on the Army and USMC H-34 series utility helicopters in the 1950s and early 1960s had produced only one horsepower for each three pounds of engine weight. New gas turbine engines had a much more favorable efficiency ratio. This permitted the construction of small, low-profile aircraft.
One of the most important milestones during this period was the decision to develop the XH-40 Bell Utility Helicopter and to power it with a turbine engine. Although designed as an aerial ambulance, it was recognized even then that this machine might turn out to be the most useful aerial platforms ever put in production.
In 1955, with an interest in a utility helicopter designed around a turboshaft engine, the Army had the Air Force develop a new helicopter for its use. At that time the Army did not have its own aircraft development capability. The design competition was for the first helicopter for the Medical Service Corps, whose primary mission was to be used for aero medical evacuation.
The winner of this competition was the Bell Helicopter Company with its model XH-40. The design selected, Bell's Model 204, was to be powered by a new Lycoming T-53 engine of some 850 shaft horsepower and featured a typical Bell two-blade teetering rotor. This was the first turbine-powered helicopter for the Army. First flight of the new design was in October 1956, development and production following in 1959.
The early Bell XH-40 had been standardized as the HU-1 and was envisioned then as the replacement for the L-20 utility airplane and the H-19 utility helicopter. Further growth versions of the Bell machine were planned to replace the bulk of the missions then performed by the Sikorsky H-84 and the Vertol H-21.
In the original helicopter designation series, the first three aircraft received the XH-40 designation. When the Army adopted its own two-letter designation system, the H-40 became the HU-1 (Helicopter Utility). From this designation came "Huey," the name by which it has remained known. The DoD standardized and unified designation system adopted in 1962 reversed this to UH-1, the first designation in the new DoD helicopter series. With larger engines and increased capacity, the UH-1 was developed through successive models.
The UH-1D was the first of a larger Iroquois, designated Model 205, which flew not long after deliveries of the original HU-1s began, actually coming into service before the UH-1C. It had a longer fuselage than previous models, a larger 48-foot diameter rotor, increased range, and a more powerful Lycoming T53-L-11 1100 shp engine, with growth potential to the Lycoming T53-L-13 1400 shp engine.
A distinguishing characteristic was the larger cargo doors, with twin cabin windows, on each side. The UH-1D was redesigned to carry up to 12 troops, with a crew of two. The UH-1D had a range of 293 miles (467km) and a speed of 127 mph (110 knots). The longer rotor blade on the UH-1D gave it more lifting power, but high density altitudes in the northern II Corps AO, where US troops did most of their fighting, still prevented "Dust Off" MEDEVAC pilots from making full use of the aircraft's carrying capacity.
The third YUH-1D prototype preproduction aircraft were configured as a gunship demonstrator. The UH-1D "Hueys" could be armed with M60D door guns, four M60Cs on the M6 aircraft armament subsystem, 20mm cannon, 2.75 inch rocket launchers, 40mm grenade launcher in M5 helicopter chin-turret, and up to six NATO Standard AGM-22B (formerly SS-11B) wire-guided anti-tank missiles on the M11 or M22 guided missile launcher, but were ultimately used almost exclusively by US forces in the troop carrying role.
These systems were subsequently used on short fuselage UH-1 gunships. The UH-1D could also be armed with M60D 7.62mm or M213 .50 Cal. pintle-mounted door guns on the M59 armament subsystem. The US Army bought many of these, and deliveries began in 1967. Ultimately more than 600 were transferred to South Vietnam and 32 to Cambodia. UH-1Ds were build under license in Germany. Bell also sold them with the UH-1N, with its more powerful engine, the T-53-L-13 with 1,400 horsepower.(Global security.org)
Some of us were even lucky enough to see the Huey close-up and in action. I even had one land in my yard growing up near the flight path of the helicopters from Fort Rucker. That was a chance we all took but a welcome one. I’m not going to go into a big history lesson on the Huey.
Installation and Documentation
Installation was simple; the download took about five minutes via cable internet with 5mps, it included an executable file common to most any other program and activated online via Aerosoft launcher.
The Aerosoft launcher will automatically open the how to activate the product online window. It also displays any PDF files related to the product, plus any other product by Aerosoft and it will also show any updates required by any of these products it is quick and easy.
Included are a checklist, Repaint Kit and a checklist for a mobile device such as a phone. The repaint Kit is a single layer repaint Kit. The checklist includes interior checks all the way through shutdown sequence.
We will start off with the manual, as it’s usually the first thing that we look into. It’s a 33 page PDF document, so it’s not overly complex and has everything required to begin flying this bird. However there our some things I found a little lacking and little more detail would be nice.
A few switches, like the transponder, are hardly explained as to what the transponder lights mean, as they function, and sometimes blink different sequences. However, if you don’t know much about aviation then you don’t know what those blinking lights mean. It also states that all the buttons are clickable, but only some of them work.
It would be nice to know what those buttons are, even if they don’t work as I like anything clickable to be explained I also looked on the panel and found a light called a homing light. I have no idea what this is as there is no explanation of what this light is for.
The fuel section also could use a little more attention as there is no mention of the use of auxiliary tanks. However, the switches are on the panel and are clickable. So I have no idea if they function. There is nothing stating if it is operational or not. It does contain all the necessary information without overwhelming the user and most of the systems that are used are labeled, or they say inoperable. I would also like to see a diagram for instance of what all those angled pieces below and above the cockpit are for. Maybe someone who is not as familiar with the Huey as another would like to know. It turns out they are wire cutters and are designed to cut entanglements such as small power lines and barb wire fences.
Included are seven liveries in two different models of the Bell 205, the civilian version and the UH-1. What’s the main difference? The civilian model has the tail rotor on the right side and on the military version it’s on the left side, And of course the paint is different. Other than that nothing I could see. I have to wonder if you’re going to go as far as include two different models. Why not go that extra step and put a little more emphasis on truly separating them. I would have liked to have seen some door gunners, maybe a weapons rack or troops in the back; something that is truly unique to the military chopper and there are plenty of keys that can be used for this.
Other than the tail rotor being on one side or the other. I really did not see the point of having two separate models. If you are going to put enough detail into the model, other than the correct configuration of the tail rotors; why not add a little something extra and then separate them, make them as accurate as possible. The other thing I noticed, was, I don’t believe the military version had bubble windows on the main cargo doors. This should have been eliminated on the military model, again this is purely cosmetic. This might not bother some, but those who are extremely meticulous about detail will notice.
While searching for comparison photographs I took note that there doesn’t seem to be a red beacon on the belly of the Huey. However, there is one modeled on the Aerosoft version but it is disabled by default due to an issue in FSX which causes the red light to flash inside of the cockpit. This is purely an FSX issue. Personally, I would not have modeled the lower beacon if I wasn’t going to use it anyway. Again, not a big issue, but merely cosmetic and something that the rivet counters will notice.
When looking at the external view of the helicopter there are three crew members inside the virtual cockpit. So I’m not really worried about that and don’t consider it a factor at all. I would have liked to have seen the wing fold key or tail hook key to add some military personnel or some door gunners, for without the Military version there would be no civilian version.
It doesn’t take away from the package at all, but is just something that I would like to have seen. One last small detail, these Hueys are clean. No scratched paint or stains, even the rudder pedals look like they just rolled from the factory. I prefer my birds to have a little more of a worn look. But again purely cosmetic and anyone skilled in paint shop can remedy this problem.
Thanks to the flight sim community and the fact that Aerosoft management actually goes on the forums to see what people have to say, there is very good interaction. Because of this, they have decided on a second release which includes repaints by the flight sim community which brings the total count to 11 liveries. In this package are German Army, SAR Hamburg 71 or SAR 71, a yellow and red version operated by Bird Bog, US Army 7th Calvary from the movie “We Are Soldiers”, Agrarflug Helilift, and Agrolentopalvelu a flight service out of Finland.
For us that use FSX, we have the ability to use winches. Although the Huey doesn’t have a winch, this helo was often used to sling loads like vehicles and equipment. This feature is not implemented on Huey X., but there is good news on the forums. There are instructions that show how easy it is to add this and there are even talks of this being implemented in a future update. This would be helpful for those who like missions.
Scrolling through the cameras, I’m disappointed with the boom camera as it is canted and virtually unusable. If you wanted to use it for landing, etc. I will say the Huey is without a doubt one of the most attractive birds out there. Aerosoft did a great job with the modeling and the lines are very detailed and appear as they should, aside from the minor details like the bubble windows on the military version and the beacon on the bottom. There is nothing I can really find wrong. It truly is a beautiful aircraft.
Stepping inside the cockpit it looks like a huey cockpit but this one is much cleaner. In the first version there was German writing inside but this was fixed and there is an updated texture set on the website to fix this for the American bird.
There is no main cockpit. This model is virtual cockpit only where the main panel would be there is a startup screen which gives you the option of cold and dark or ready to fly. The gauges are crisp and easy to read and there are a few labels on the main panel, which are also easy to read (as long as your global textures are set to max) especially the little warning label and the reference to rpm speeds.
I like the fact that the A key selects preset views for easy access to switches. Tool tips are built into the switches; roll the mouse over the switch, and it will tell you what it is. The mouse wheel will also allow you to operate the switches. I would have liked to have seen this feature carried over to the gauges. But once you learn where everything is, this is really not a problem. Like anything else, the more you play with it the more familiar you become. Click the Windows and it will go down one feature.
I found that did not get much attention in the manual and that you can open a small passenger door by clicking on the handle. Once the main doors are open, which can be done by clicking on the handle or the standard shift E to close them. You have to click on the invisible area where the handle would be and then the cockpit doors, the sliding doors and the little passenger doors can all be opened.
The windshield wipers operate as long as the circuit breakers are on. Like most any aircraft they are only seen within the virtual cockpit. They cannot be seen operating from the outside view. The same goes for the landing light and spotlight, which I will cover a little further down in this review.
Just about everything is clickable. I even found a surprise in the ashtray. Although I do not know what the purpose of having them in there is. Maybe somebody has some R&R planned or maybe the pilot has something planned for his copilot. I don’t know as the other side seems to have just a simple notepad. There are a few switches that seem to have no function, and are not mentioned in the manual. Items like the emergency hydraulic switch, the idle stop, the auxiliary fuel switches, and I did not see any mention of these in the manual.
This is where tool tips would be useful to let you know if it’s operable. You will notice switches for the sling load, however, these are not implemented. Maybe in a future update? Why this was not part of the package I do not know. That is one thing about FSX, it gives you the ability to winch and drop objects. It is as if this product was meant for FS9 but was released for FSX instead. Some of the advantages that are exclusive to FSX were not taken advantage of by the product so it seems a little rushed in my opinion.
Moving on to the lighting, one thing that FSX has in advantage over FS9 is the lighting options, especially with military aircraft. The lighting in the Huey is no exception. There are a few options, but some improvement could be made here. Overall it is done very nicely. You can have the cockpit bathed in white light or the green light for night vision ops. Configurations are as follows; white floodlight, green floodlight, navigation lights, steady or flashing bright or dim a strobe switch which is actually the beacon, but is connected to the white strobes above the navigation lights. There is also an nvg mode (dim).
No way to have just the beacon without the strobes. (Also note they modeled a red beacon on the belly. However, it is nonfunctioning by default. This was because of the red flash that occurs with beacon lights within FSX. I have not seen red beacon lights on Hueys) Now this is where I had questions.
I had never seen a Huey using white strobe lights. Not that it doesn’t, but I have never seen it. So I had an issue with the white strobe lights being on the same switch as the beacon as most of the time the beacon will always be on. I wondered why it was not an option to turn just the white strobe off, as well as the white recognition light on the belly. If you can dim the navigation lights, why not be able to turn off the white strobe lights and the white belly light?
If you want a low light profile when using the NVG mode you would not want flashing red lights or any white light. There is a switch marked NVG that should have been slaved to turn off the white strobe and white belly light, as there are no formation lights or slime lights, and I have seen other aircraft within FSX that have many more lighting options. This seemed to be an afterthought. I wound up disabling the white strobe’s as I felt they were unrealistic. At least for military ops, not a major issue but for rivet counters it is something to note. I would’ve liked to have seen a separate switch.
The landing lights are operational. However, only seen from within the virtual cockpit. There’s also a searchlight. First lift the switch guard, then push on it again. The light can only be seen from within the virtual cockpit. It can be moved with the thumb switch on the collective, although the actual switch does not move. Just keep pressing and eventually you will see the light move.
The landing lights, however, are fixed and do not move. A unique feature is that they do not just flood the ground, they actually light up objects, which is one reason I believe they are only visible from within the VC. Perhaps this is the only way coding would allow this. But I am no developer so I do not know.
The details are stunning. You can tell diamond plate from cloth, and painted metal from coated non skid metal. Looking at the rotor assembly you are able to see how the blades are manipulated to control the aircraft. FSX really brings out the details and Aerosoft did a great job on making it look authentic. You can almost smell the fuel and grease, as you climb inside.
The overall interior looks good. You can see the quilted pads on the walls, the rough texture of the floors and those uncomfortable looking sling seats that anyone who has ever been in the military will cringe when they see them. Sorry to say, no passengers or cargo is visible. (This is where the tail hook or wing fold key could add some realism by having it place some door gunners for military or passengers for the civilian version.)
The radios seem to operate well, and are realistic in their operation. The mouse wheel makes it easy to set them. The transponder works as well, although as said before, more explanation of the transponder in the manual would be nice. Almost all of the switches are clickable but some are non-operational. Looking through the virtual cockpit it looks as it should. Reflections are not overwhelming and subtle. They do not obstruct visibility (I can see where a program like VR track would be helpful) using the A key quickly allows you to view specific panels such as center radios, lights, and circuit breakers.
There are some minor issues with the start up and shut down. Sounds of the start up and rotor visuals don‘t sync. They’re not too bad, just a little off. While starting up the blades they spin up to speed too rapidly. The sound is off from the visuals as it was recorded from a real Huey. Aerosoft claims that this is a coding issue within FSX and cannot be helped. The same is said about the shutdown. As the motor winds down the blades slowly start to slow down. The visuals are off again; this is explained in the manual as an FSX issue.
An interesting note is that the sound runs separately, which means if you are lagging because of frame rates you will not hear any difference in the sound, which makes the sound smooth and fluid. I will say, once running, the idling Huey sounds like a Huey. It has that marvelous blade chop that we all love.
Reviewer's Note: (This is where I had some trouble, and I am not alone. There seems to be an issue when using rudder pedals and/or the use of FSUIPC setups for joystick assignments. For example, one of the channels is assigned to the pedals, but also uses the same channel for the roll motion (left and right) with the rudder pedals plugged in. I lost roll capability. The stick would not move left or right, however once I unplugged the rudder pedals I had no problem with the controls. The forum contains a large section devoted to this control issue and Aerosoft said they are working on a fix for this, although it will be in few weeks. It should be out soon. Until then, some users may have an issue.)
I currently use a Saitek x52 setup but without the use of rudder pedals it makes flying the Huey a little more difficult, especially using the hard settings. This is not too difficult while flying at speed. However, trying to hover and slow speed maneuvering makes it extremely difficult, as this is when the tail rotor really lets you know it is there.
During slow speed maneuvers, you must line up the little needle in the center of the roll indicator. This represents the tail. Keeping this in the center means you are straight in the tail and not swinging left or right. While growing up in Alabama under the flight path of Hueys from Fort Rucker, I would often see the tail swinging or wagging left or right. Now I understand how hard it is to keep the tail from wagging, another challenge of helicopter flying, and it shows that Aerosoft seemed to get it right. When it comes to the performance of this bird watching video of me flying the Huey looks just like the real ones. It’s a constant struggle to keep that tail straight. It is not a hard skill to master, but will take some practice. Your rudder trim will get a workout here. (There is a switch as part of the Huey to help)
I will say without rudder pedals, if you are using a twist joystick you will tend to get a hand cramp so the quicker the fix for the control problem the better. It seems to be a debated issue some people have and some people do not. It’s not really known what is causing the problem, something to do with the way the control devices may be coded to the software, as it does not seem to be an issue with other helicopters and as some report, other helicopter add-ons. Something definitely went screwy here, but they are working on it.
I applaud the fact that Aerosoft is in tune with their customer base and listen to suggestions and problems as some people are quick to flame the company. However, with thousands of systems and thousands of setups there are bound to be some problems. I do not entirely blame them and I am not familiar with how many beta testers they used. Therefore, they might not have encountered this problem, but the problem is being addressed.
Overall, the product is put together well. It sounds like a Huey and as near as I can tell, it flies like one. Sure, no product is perfect, but for $33 there is not much to complain about. I guess the biggest problem is the control issue that some people might have but as I said before, the fix is on the way and it may not even affect you. The more I fly this helicopter, the more I like it. It becomes easier to manage aside from the minor issues mentioned which are more of a personal preference.
There is nothing that is not authentic. If you are a Huey lover, you will fall in love with this aircraft. Aerosoft has produced a good product. It has the potential to become simply the best, with a few tweaks. The likes and dislikes are purely my opinion; the bottom line is this is a wonderful aircraft worthy of its wings.
What I Like About Huey X
What I Don't Like About Huey X
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