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Helicopter Flight model analysis, Suggestions and Feedback

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This is a list of things that I (a newbie with only 60h of game) think would be a great addition for pilots, including those who want to use their flight sticks. And also problems I noticed since my first flight.




1 – Let players use keyboard for all controls (eg. W&S for pitch, A&D for roll, Q&E for rudder, shift & ctrl for power);

1.1 – The above might cause a loss in precision during landing, it could help if the control scheme would change back to mouse control when using C (landing cam);

2 – Give a separate toggle free look option for helis;

3 – An option to not lock pitch/roll controls when free looking;

4 – Zoom to RMB, don't need to be much, just enough so we don't see vehicles 500m away as small set of pixels;

5 – A dot in the center of the pilot's view, so we can put markers more accurately;



I conducted some tests on helicopters to understand why the handling is weird at times. From this I got some conclusions that i’m not 100% sure of (based on my barely basic knowledge on coding), so take it with a lot of salt.


Experiment 1: Tested different pitch angles while maintaining level flight, by adjusting power.

Experiment 2: Same as before, but not trying to hold altitute, with power fixed at 45% and 0%.

Experiment 3: Braking from great speed w/ diferent negative pitch angles.

Experiment 4: Doing all of above, but flying backwards and sideways.



 - Power only dictates your vertical speed, along with pitch that apply some cosine losses (making the heli lose altitude as one pitchs too much).

 - Horizontal speed is totally and only linked to the pitch angle value, power has 0 influence.

After gattering data about pitch/speed from the experiments I concluded the helicopter works in 2 modes, lets call them Hover and Cruise.




I got to the conclusion there is two modes because as you can see from the graph above, there are 2 sets of pitch angles with almost linear change in the maximum speed. Such maximum speed I will refer now on as “target speed”.

Why target speed? Because I believe this is how the devs circumvented the problem of adding a rather complex flight system with a dynamical acceleration vector into a project that is already complex enough.

So what I think they did was to set a function of pitch that gives a target speed (for each value of pitch), and then added 2 different constant acceleration vectors (one small for hover mode, and one big for cruise mode) which are tasked of bringing the heli to the target speed.

This might seem reasonable, but it ends up creating problems that require further work arround.

The first one that comes into mind is one that probably everyone that tried to fly faced. When you are trying to land, feel the need to make a not so conservative correction, and your heli decides to become a jet plane and zap into the terrain. Then you pull the stick to brake, and end up entering a ballet of moving back and forth.

This is caused simply because you are pushing the stick across the “transition” point in which the acceleration vector changes to the much bigger value, and much bigger target speeds. But don’t feel bad, it is a counterintuitive system.

This happens similarly to Roll, but it is less noticible as the target speeds, and probably the (lateral) acceleration vectors are smaller.


Is there a solution?

I believe the easier and short-term solution would be to make the Speed/pitch curve smoother, and/or adding a third mode to give a smoother transition.

The harder long-term, is implementing a dynamical acceleration vector to the azimuthal axis of the vehicle whose value depends on power and optimally on angle of attack too.



Don’t trust the instruments!!!(said no pilot ever). Values of speed are not faithful in some situations. When you pull back the stick to brake, the display will slowly decrease the indicated speed (initially), while in reality you’re braking much more, using the display as reference will only make the back and forth problem worse. Go visual, go by your instincts.


There is a lot of glitches with controls, mainly when using a joystick.

Unassigning either mouseX or mouseY will remove roll control from the joystick.

Assigning buttons from the joystick or mouse are mostly impossible. I only managed to do it with 3rd party software.

Sometimes power will be stuck at 0% and 100% (not talking about using the throttle lever) but simply pressing Esc solves the problem. (it’s a minor inconvenience)



I hope I got this right, and hope my feedback is valid.

Respectfully, A guy that already got TOWed too many times.


PS: I prefer to believe the devs are already working on most of these (if not all).

PS: PS: Sorry for bad engrish.

Edited by Skuva
Old title not properly representing the content of the thread

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You can customise your controls by following the instructions here - 


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Brilliant but I would just simplify by saying make everything like Arma and add HOTAS support like yesterday.  I know that's not what developers want to hear but stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Arma controls work beautifully and the current heli controls are hot garbage. 


Edited by Pillmonger

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