Autopilot indication on controls indicator - ED Forums


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Old 01-08-2020, 11:43 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: UK
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Default Autopilot indication on controls indicator

As most people, I presume, and I fly with a non force feedback joystick which self centre, which I also know isn't the most realistic with regards to how helicopter cyclic trim works, I'd love to see some indication of where the autopilot is currently set a bit like in the Huey.

Also, if I understand correctly, the KA50 autopilot has a degree of limitation as to how far away from the current collective and cyclic stick positions it can control the helicopter. So it would also be great, I think, if those limits were also displayed so you could see if the autopilot is maxed out, something like a semi transparent circle for the cyclic, and a semi transparent bar for the collective. Your joystick and throttle would still be red diamond and red bar, and autopilot would be white.

Maybe if the circle moved when you selected a new trim position so its centre would indicate where the cyclic in the helicopter is at, and then if you saw that the white diamond was at the limit of the circle, you would know if the autopilot had reached its maximum control deflection.
The collective semi transparent bar would just move with the red marker, and if the white autopilot marker was at either end you would know that you have to move the your actual collective.

I don't think I've got it completely figured out yet, I just know that I seem to have massive pitch and roll movements when clicking the trim button.

What do you think?

Last edited by jonsky7; 01-08-2020 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:35 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good idea. I'm with you.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:37 PM   #3
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"I seem to have massive pitch and roll movements when clicking the trim button." ... probably because you're just clicking the trim

HOLD DOWN trim - make your maneuver - stabilize the helicopter - release trim - center joystick ... NEVER just click the trim.

You'll have to manually fly the chopper while the trimmer is pressed. Get used to doing this a lot (practice manual flying in flight director mode without heading hold if desired)
Releasing the trim will send the current attitude to the AP which it is then trying to hold. If the helicopter is stable at this point the AP barely has to do anything.

I don't see how an AP indicator would help with any of that.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:54 PM   #4
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But Holding down the Trimm Button is Not realistic in the ka-50. because in this Moment the dampers are offline, so its too easy to overreact .

Last edited by Schlomo1933; 01-17-2020 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:38 PM   #5
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That's not true, the dampers are active while trim button is held. What's missing is the micro switches in the stick to detect stick forces and not add full counter AP authority while the stick is being manipulated by the pilot.

So as you manipulate (without trim button) the stick in DCS e.g. pitching nose down the AP ramps up it's full pitch up input to its maximum value. Then when you press the trim button all of that AP pitch up input gets dumped back to neutral.

By tapping the trim button you are locking in a new desired attitude value and a neutral spring stick position. But that stick position that was acceptable before was the one which was the desired attitude when combined with saturated AP pitch up input which was a significantly more forward than the stick position associated with neutral AP input.

By holding the trim button you dump the AP input in all channels back to neutral and so your stick position that flies the helicopter as desired for several seconds is the correct one. Then when you release the trim button AP has to apply little to no input to maintain that captured attitude value.
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:44 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 101

Schlomo1933, please, don't spread wrong information.
Holding trim will disable pitch, roll and heading hold temporarily. The dampeners remain active.

Your problem is clicking the trimmer, so every time you trim again the autopilot will act weird.
It's been 10 years since BS1, there are dozens of Ka-50 tutorials just talking about trimming and pretty much every experienced DCS Ka-50 pilot will tell you the same. Why do people still insist on doing it wrong and then complain about the helicopter acting strange?
Want me to fly around and provide a track file to show I'm not crazy? I will do that if it means I can avoid having the same discussion for the 50th time.

... anyways:
One good learning tool is the Flight Director mode (button right of the AP channels)

It disables the AP, but you'll get 2 bars on the HUD indicating which attitude the AP would be holding normally. These bars will update when the trimmer is released, since that's when the attitude gets sent to the AP.

Practice trimming as described previously. As you release the trim you want the helicopter to be in stable flight and the bars should stay aligned with the aircraft datum in the HUD center. If you were to re-engage the autopilot now it would only have to do minor inputs to hold the set attitude. That's what you want to achieve.
FD mode also feels very similar to flying with the trimmer held down, so you'll get a lot of practice flying the helicopter manually. Just practice flying like this for a few hours and it should become second nature quickly.

I'd also recommend setting altitude hold to baro, since terrain following can lead to changes in pitch as the helicopter changes altitude constantly.

An AP indicator is probably far towards the end of ED's priority list (if it's planned at all) and FD bars are the only other visual indication I can think off. Hope it helps with getting a feel for the Ka-50.

Last edited by fudabidu; 01-18-2020 at 06:45 PM.
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