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Old 03-04-2020, 06:45 AM   #1
kalas1988
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Default difficulty flying the Gazelle

Hello,

I started up the Gazelle after a few months, and I am having some severe problems with flying.

The chopper is extremely unstable at hovering and or slow speeds.

I do have Saitek x45 joystick which has this strange rudder on the throttle, but i just cannot hold it steadily on one spot on the ground.

Any thoughts?

Thank you,
BR
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Old 03-04-2020, 11:15 AM   #2
FragBum
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I think flying the Gazelle or Huey or for me and DCS heli with a joystick would be difficult at the best of times and for a number of reasons.

Cyclic action would be to sensitive given the throw of a typical joystick.

Collective operation limited to a small throw "throttle" control to control lift.

Anti-torque pedals limited to an almost unnatural twist of the wrist to control yaw.

Still given your situation some saturation on cyclic might help initially, maybe 30 to 40%

Some curvature on collective to spread out the lower control range could help.

Maybe also some curvature to reduce sensitivity of anti-torque on the twist action so it's fairly insensitive around center of action.

I started with a 3dPro joystick and soon found I needed actual pedals however for helicopters you really need pedals with no center detent. And for that matter a cyclic with no center detent.

Add a collective and a long throw cyclic and you soon get the feel for helicopters.
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Old 03-04-2020, 01:21 PM   #3
Oldahpilot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalas1988 View Post
Hello,

I started up the Gazelle after a few months, and I am having some severe problems with flying.

The chopper is extremely unstable at hovering and or slow speeds.

I do have Saitek x45 joystick which has this strange rudder on the throttle, but i just cannot hold it steadily on one spot on the ground.

Any thoughts?

Thank you,
BR
The Gazelle is a very manoeuvrable light helicopter, it's very quick to accelerate and stop and change direction. That's the good news. The bad is that it's very dynamically unstable, so in the hover and at very low speeds that manoeuvrability counts against it.

The main thing is to stay mentally ahead of the aircraft, if you give it a second it will get away from you, particularly at take off which is actually the time you do have time to think and act ahead. before applying power with the collective you can set rudder pedal so that the yaw doesn't take you by surprise. Keep looking at an object far out in front of you, not the grass 10 feet in front, something not moving 100 yards away, same to the side.

Due to the way the main and tail rotor thrust act at different pivots there's an effect that means the aircraft will roll on take off as well as the yaw (Hooks joint) so you also need to apply a little side stick as your skids leave the ground to maintain a level hover.

Loosen your grip on the cyclic and rest your forearm on your right thigh, move the cyclic grip with your fingers and wrist, not your arm.

I'd say trying to hover the gazelle without rudder pedals and perhaps a small joystick extension is challenging, but if you don't have those altering the control axis curves would help.

Main thing is time and practice, don't expect to hold a hover over an exact spot for the first few hours
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kalas1988 View Post
Hello,

I started up the Gazelle after a few months, and I am having some severe problems with flying.

The chopper is extremely unstable at hovering and or slow speeds.

I do have Saitek x45 joystick which has this strange rudder on the throttle, but i just cannot hold it steadily on one spot on the ground.

Any thoughts?

Thank you,
BR
CURVES... Or rather don't use curves, keep the X/Y/Z axes linear and FLATTEN them. I think I'm using about 20% for the X/Y on the gaz. And don't use curves for helo's your brain likes "linear" inputs. If you must, make a custom "curve" setup where 80% of it is still linear and then tips up dramatically at full deflection.
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Old 03-09-2020, 07:49 AM   #5
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Turn OFF Force Feedback (FFB) in Options/Misc.
Redo the curves so that Cyclic Pitch has Saturation X of 100 and Saturation Y of 25 with Curvature set to 15-25
For Roll set Saturation to 70 and curvature to 15-25.

You'll probably find it very sensitive still and that's just how it is.
Collective is normal, as are rudders. But for cyclic, think PRESSURE not DEFLECTION.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:29 PM   #6
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The X45 is too spiky for the Gazelle. I had one and loved it but it uses potentiometers and they just aren't fine-tuned enough for something like the Gazelle.

I now have a very expensive joystick and it's still not the easiest helo to fly but I haven't crashed it since I've had the new stick (just picked the Gazelle module up again today after a long absence). I can't say that you have to have a very expensive stick, but you do need one that doesn't have too many spikes in the output. You can just about get away with it in the Huey because it's quite a wallowing bird but the gazelle is very skittish and one spike from the stick will put you on your side, particularly on take-off.
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Old 03-17-2020, 01:56 AM   #7
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In Options/Misc/FFB OFF Set force feedback to OFF. It messes up Gazelle at speeds below translational lift , less then 10-15 knots. Then redo your curves.

In COntrols. Set Cyclic TRIM is not needed. Cyclic range of motion is very very small. Use that shortcut for AutoHover.
In cockpit TRIM switch should be ON but Magnetic Brake TRIM should be OFF.
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Old 03-18-2020, 03:03 PM   #8
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The Gazelle is a fun little chopper to fly, but it is also very dynamic because it is really light. A lot of people were expecting to handle her the same way than the Huey, but they forgot that the Huey is twice the weight of the Gazelle. If you are flying the Mi-8, you know that this chopper is really comfortable to fly because it is so stable. You can do a lot of stupid things on your cyclic before it becomes a problem. The Gazelle is a lot less forgiving because the sanction is immediate.

Not only the way you are setting your controls is important, but once you are happy with a setting, you need to acquire a bit of muscle memory before you are getting good at flying her. Also, like Oldahpilot said, your pilot skills can quickly degrade when you are getting more tensed: I realized that when I am trying to land on a tight spot, at night and low on fuel. I have to apply some breathing techniques to relax (yes no joke!) to avoid my arm to become too rigid and my Gazelle can feel that immediately, usually resulting into a hard landing at best. I have no such issue with other choppers.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:31 AM   #9
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Try this thing while lifting into a hover:
Add power slowly (pull collective slowly).
Keep your nose straight (a bit of right pedal).
DO NOT touch the cyclic.

She will lift nicely and almost settle into a steady hover. Use the "china hat" to trim the dragon.
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xavnl View Post
Try this thing while lifting into a hover:

Add power slowly (pull collective slowly).

Keep your nose straight (a bit of right pedal).

DO NOT touch the cyclic.



She will lift nicely and almost settle into a steady hover. Use the "china hat" to trim the dragon.
Yes, with the cyclic perfectly centered this is possible due to a tiny deadzone hard-coded to the Gazelle (no, my controllers doesn't have any deadzone). This deadzone can unfortunately not be removed by us (but reduced with careful tweaks), making hovering unnecessarily harder, but not impossible. The deadzone is unfortunately also felt during cruise flight, killing some of the immersion.
To me this deadzone is almost the only thing I have against the often criticized FM. Other than that it's quite nice to fly.
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