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How hard is it to fly?


Gunfreak
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Only chopper from DCS I have any experience with is the Huey.  And only like an hour. I can fly it OK, but landing and taking off are high risk stuff,  with landings being 50/50 hard and explodey. 

 

But from what I've read the Huey is the hardest of the current choppers to fly in DCS?

How hard will it be to fly the Apache?

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The more I see and hear about the Apache, the more I liken it to the Hornet, and I mean that in a good way (from the perspective of things I find desirable). Lots of glass (mfds), auto pilot systems to help with the flying so you can focus on other systems, approximately the same era.

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1 hour ago, Zyll said:

The more I see and hear about the Apache, the more I liken it to the Hornet, and I mean that in a good way (from the perspective of things I find desirable). Lots of glass (mfds), auto pilot systems to help with the flying so you can focus on other systems, approximately the same era.

Even has the same beetle beetle master caution 😉

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7 minutes ago, kseremak said:

Some jurnalist woman flies the Apache, i can imagine it has to be super easy

It doesn't tell much, flying any helicopter is quite easy, you could hand the commands to a non pilot and (s)he could continue to fly it. The real part is taking off, hovering, landing, doing hard manoeuvers...

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1 hour ago, munckmb said:

How necessary is a dedicated rudder for the Apache? I only have twist stick and with the Huey it is not very comfy.

The flight model that ed implements will determine the degree of anti-torque usage but it's a helicopter so you will need some sort of anti-torque inputs.   The anti-torque pedals are force trimmable so you could retrim for the flight mode you want and reset for center on your joystick.  For most flight modes as long as you don't hit the force trim release at slower speeds it'll have an automatic heading hold and once you get into forward flight it'll transition automatically into attempting to maintain trim for you.   You will need to re-trim every so often and if your digital pedal position is way off from what the sas is helping with you can expect an immediate wonky ness especially at lower speeds, so just be ready for that. Idk if they'll implement sas saturation but if that's a thing you'll have to retrim for that as well every so often.  I guess long and short of it is it should be tremendously easier than the uh-1 but you can expect some getting used to and some frustrations while learning the intricacies of how the system helps you.  I mean I learned how to fly using pedals so I personally went out and sought pedals out of preference, but I wouldn't say it's a requirement, it may take away of control and comfort, but you don't need it and it's probably what you're already used too. Hope this helps sorry for the long explanation. 


Edited by kgillers3
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Probably relatively easy given the above evidence and the fact the computers are doing most the work....unless you ask a helicopter pilot - then it is harder than performing a triple heart bypass, in the dark, with nothing but a spade and a half eaten carrot, whilst riding a rollercoaster, upside down, in space, without a space suit. (TLDR - generally pilots tend to greatly overexaggerate the difficulty of flying 🤭)

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The actual flying in almost all modern aircraft (fixed wing, helicopter) is relatively 'easy'. What makes it complicated is the (weapons- and information-)system management on top of that. For the Apache in addition it is combining the two different visual inputs (outside view and through the eyepiece) that makes it a challenge and requires quite some training to make your brain cope with that.

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10 minutes ago, Wrcknbckr said:

The actual flying in almost all modern aircraft (fixed wing, helicopter) is relatively 'easy'. What makes it complicated is the (weapons- and information-)system management on top of that. For the Apache in addition it is combining the two different visual inputs (outside view and through the eyepiece) that makes it a challenge and requires quite some training to make your brain cope with that.

 

That's what the guy in front is for. 🙂

 

Seriously though I think you have a pretty big point here. I really dislike convoluted and complicated modern integrated sensory and weapon systems. There is something off-putting about being in the cockpit and colloquially "flying the computer". This is why I can't get into the F18C. It's just too much heads down and managing systems instead of actually, well flying. I do get different strokes for different folks, so I if you're into that, all the more power to you. I'm not, but I will still be getting the Apache, as I have a RL friend who will dedicate himself to weapons employment. We already fly in the Hind together and this is where the fun is. 

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My 10p worth. Long ago I was a fixed wing flying instructor. Lots of flying lessons in a Cessna 150/152 plus occasionally a 172 and a 182. My total time was approaching about 1,000hrs so not a brand new pilot or anything. I'd trained in PA28 and PA34 Seneca for my CPL/IR tests and couldn't get a job in the mid nineties so instructing was what I did to build hours and get noticed. Anyway. I paid for a single hour lesson in a Sweitzer/Hughes 300 helicopter. Within about 10 minutes I was hovering, transitioning in and out of hover and by the end of the hour I was flying circuits  and approaches back into the hover comfortably. We ran out of time to get into Autorotating exercises though.No money for a second hour......

 

The point is a competent pilot can learn to fly a helicopter quite quickly. And I mean a small agile training helicopter, not a stabilised, heavy and far easier to fly one as depicted in the DCS. 

 

It's perfectly possible. I can say I never managed to fly the MsFS helicopters, or X plane. Really struggled until I went VR. Instantly it was a doddle again when I did!

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb Lurker:

This is why I can't get into the F18C. It's just too much heads down and managing systems instead of actually, well flying. 

yes, me too. that why i like the f16 much more now. you dont need the screens that much, most things are done quickly and wasy with the TMS and DMS switches.

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1 hour ago, Wrcknbckr said:

The actual flying in almost all modern aircraft (fixed wing, helicopter) is relatively 'easy'. What makes it complicated is the (weapons- and information-)system management on top of that. For the Apache in addition it is combining the two different visual inputs (outside view and through the eyepiece) that makes it a challenge and requires quite some training to make your brain cope with that.

 

Agreed, with perhaps a couple of additional details that probably everyone has already realized

  • flying fixed and rotor wings (i.e. while they quickly move) is quite easy. I took my 11 years old godson on a flight last summer (in a Cherokee), handed him the controls and he figured it out inside of minutes. Quite stable, next to no drift. Biggest grin I've seen on a boy's face in years.
  • flying low and slow (especially in rotorwings) is much more difficult and dangerous than flying fast
  • flying precisely where and how you are told to, and do that reliably and repeatedly, is difficult and usually not much fun
  • landing is where the money is (I was tempted to say 'where the rubber hits the road' but obviously...)
  • landing a plane in a sim is actually more difficult than landing a real plane because there is very little physical (seat of your pants) feedback - in a real plane you instantly feel when the plane stars to shift around you
  • flying a helicopter sim without VR is pure masochism 

And of course, adding the complexity of handling weapons also raises the bar a tad 🙂

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One thing comes to mind that will be possible, or should be possible in the Apache. Once you are in a stable hover, you should be able to command an auto-hover. This will free your hands for the head down cockpit switching etc. 

 

In VR it's even more difficult due to not seeing what you're supposed to be switching. Most HOTAS systems on the market today are limited, and frankly hitting half remembered keys while effectively blindfolded on your keyboard is a recipe for disaster. 

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1 hour ago, Lurker said:

One thing comes to mind that will be possible, or should be possible in the Apache. Once you are in a stable hover, you should be able to command an auto-hover. This will free your hands for the head down cockpit switching etc. 

 

In VR it's even more difficult due to not seeing what you're supposed to be switching. Most HOTAS systems on the market today are limited, and frankly hitting half remembered keys while effectively blindfolded on your keyboard is a recipe for disaster. 

 

Just use a mouse or any number of control panels. But yes keyboard use in VR is a painful thing.

I use, mouse, 3 control panels and voice attack on top of the F18 throttle and stick.  It works great. 

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12 minutes ago, Gunfreak said:

 It works great. 

 

I'd say that is very debatable. At least compared to the real deal. I'd also have to stress that most people don't have the time or the space or the money or the inclination to get into Arduino control panels, voice attack etc. etc. 

 

In any case we all make do with that we got, and that's fine. I'm just saying that the Apache will probably be easier to fly and fight in compared to say, the F18C simply because you can share the workload with another person and there are systems in place where you really can take your hands of the collective and cyclic if necessary. 


Edited by Lurker

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2 hours ago, Lurker said:

In VR it's even more difficult due to not seeing what you're supposed to be switching. Most HOTAS systems on the market today are limited, and frankly hitting half remembered keys while effectively blindfolded on your keyboard is a recipe for disaster. 

 

As you said, this is highly individual. I find a high-fidelity cockpit like the Hornet (and hopefully Apache) much more accessible in VR simply because all I need to do is look at a button, and click (no need to bind on my HOTAS). I can fly the Bug with only a minimum of additional buttons (to the standard HOTAS buttons) - and that includes that one button I need to hold down during startup bit test. The rest I do visually, with almost 2/3 of my buttons unassigned. I'm hoping that since the 64 also has these big screens and OSB, I'll get away with only a minimum of key binds. Compare that to the Flaming Cliffs planes where I not only almost ran out of buttons, I seem to constantly forget which is which (and - as you mentioned - it's difficult to feel your way around big, complex panels (I'm using a Virpil throttle plus an attached #1 panel, and although there are many buttons, practical VR considerations make only half of them blindly accessible). And old age isn't helping, but still 🙂

 


Edited by cfrag
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