Bell 407

Final video, Split-S, Loop and Immelmann turn.
Again terrible video and I lost the sound. But I am not making a new one.
So, the 407 is perfectly flyable with a cr@ap joystick no mods, no trims, only rudder assist.
But only after reading manuals and a -ton- of practice, as it should be if they pretend to call this a simulation.
Now I have fixed wing hours but zero rotary, but I think none of this is realistic, because I would have done some mast bumping (is the 407 fully articulated?) and/or snapped the tail boom. Wonder what real helicopter pilots think …
Edit, turns out you can roll and loop the real Bell 407
Out-

A few weeks ago, I came across this post on HeliSimmer’s website about some mod being worked on for the 407 that if I understand correctly would add a 407GX Garmin flight deck:
RotorLegacy looking for help modding the default Bell 407 for MSFS • HeliSimmer.com

I’m not on Discord, so does anyone have any more details or info on the progress, etc.? Thanks in advance.

(X posted from another old less active 407 thread)
Wondering what the community thinks now about the 407. I’ve already logged many hours in it and it is certainly flyable now, but maybe that wasn’t the case early on?

I fly with Oculus VR (helis are much more difficult to manage without peripheral vision of the horizon line and the ability to quickly look left and right while hovering)

The 407 is definitely a challenging aircraft to fly in MSFS. I’m not sure if that is due to the nature of the aircraft, or the quality of the simulation as I don’t fly them IRL. I have flown several other rotary wing aircraft in Xplane with varying levels of difficulty.

One of the key problems I have controlling the 407 is in the immediate transition from the ground to hover. The anti torque pedals seem to generate sudden and wild swings in either direction. Adding some torque, but not enough to take off should allow you to use anti torque to gently rotate the aircraft on the ground. Instead the machine suddenly lurges to the left or right. Once in an established hover the pedals have a less drastic effect, but still it takes a very light touch on the pedals to prevent what would be a very uncomfortable yawing motion. My virtual passengers will need the barf bags handy.

3 Likes

It’s just a helicopter :slight_smile: … its not that you “press a button” and it easy floats in place, short&fast stick/pedals movements are necessary.

2 Likes

new mod by chunkyflyer, makes this a lot nicer to fly

1 Like

Huh? Your comment doesn’t make much sense. Can you expand on it with some technical specificity?

Interesting. I’ll take a look. Thanks for the recommendation.

I downloaded this mod and find it does work as advertised, less inertia to deal with.
I don’t know if this is more realistic or not but is still enjoyable to use.
I’m also using Rafeal Rafoso improvmet mod but it prevents manual start up on a parking ramp.
However, after downloading this mod , now I can!
So thats an added bonus :grin:
Thanks for this mod Chunky!

1 Like

take a look at this video from a few posts back…

There is a lot of discussion around pedal behavior and control setups.
You may benefit from turning down the reactivity of that axis with the controller that you are using.
I definitely recommend pedals if you have them available. I recommend using the tail rotor assist option over using a twist grip for yaw control. Even a paddle axis on a throttle is better than a twist grip joystick. It introduces control input mixing that is difficult to work with.

The devs really have their work cut out for them when it comes to helicopters. It takes a complex flight model to do them well, but to do them well makes them difficult to fly. Being difficult to fly makes them less accessible to average simmers…and accessibility seems to be an important goal for the MSFS team. As the FM matures, I feel that they will strike a balance between the difficulty and the assist options. So far, from my point of view, the challenge has been convincing users that it is okay to use the assists and that it is not taking away from the experience. The rotor disk still has to be flown properly to transition well and under control with the assists on, I’ve tested. But they do make controlling the helicopter substantially easier and its slower to react.

helicopters are hard to fly…
According to google, there are an estimated 617,000 registered pilots in the US, of which 15,000 are rotary wing rated. That works out to 2% of registered pilots are helicopter pilots. If you look at the working commercial pilot figures, its 4500 of 110,000 which is only slightly higher at 4%. The difficulty of learning to fly them, turns a lot of people away…but it is oh so rewarding when you get it.

6 Likes

The cost also turns people down in combination with the limited number of jobs flying helicopters compared to airplanes.

2 Likes

I agree and would say the cost and availability of helicopters for training are the biggest hurdles. Are they harder to fly than an airplane? Probably. But I don’t think that would stop most people and it’s something you can learn with enough practice (which again will cost a fair amount of money).

I can not repeat all the posts from this topic and or all whats written within books or what helicopter trainers mention ( and my english level is also not realy made for such explanations :slight_smile: ) … the difference in power while hover, the ground-effect, wind, drift, just in general instable… I can fly “in the usually FlightSims” in meanwhile all kind of helicopters, but for that I needed a good while on practise so that I now quickly can adapt the fly-dynamic of a new model. And thats same with the Bell 407 in MSFS and therefore I also mentioned that the Bell 407 is realy Easy to fly. The main point I just wanted to mention in the post you answered was, that you need for a Hover always a little portion of stick/pedals movements and it is never full stable. You can and should trimm a helicopter to make that easier, but also then is there a bit movement you need to react… And all what I know about helicopters is that in real the exact same fact.

Hovering and Autorotation is the most difficult leason a helicopter pilot have to learn and I’am pretty sure , that have nothing to do within “no sense”. It is just not like in a GTA-5 game …
A different compare is the Huey in DCS where the weight is fully and correct simulated. Depends on load you can not climb strait into the air, you need the help of ground-effect and speed. All that is not simulated in MSFS, at least I notice not realy somewhat about, and that makes also flying helicopter in MSFS so easy.

So in summary this is a perfect statement:

I would also not say ‘much more difficult than flying an airplane’. Its just that you need different skills. But where I’am sure about is , that also helicopter pilots have different kind of levels. I’am pretty sure its much easier to fly a full-automatet helicopter versus this helicopter pilots which work e.g. with these “helicopter saw”… the Bell 407 is for me more like the easy first one :wink:

1 Like

There’s helicopter training at KASH. Seems like he’s busy 24/7.

Thanks for your thoughts. This quote really sums up my interest in helicopter flying. As Kennedy said in '62 “Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. On that note I spent a good 1500 to 2000 hours learning how to fly to the moon and mars in Orbiter (http://orbit.medphys.ucl.ac.uk/). If you want a serious challenge, get the shuttle into LEO.

For reference I have Saitek pro rudder pedals and an ancient Microsoft ForceFeedback 2 joystick that still works but is actually unrecognized by MSFS. I had to manually configure it.

I have only 30 minutes time (IRL) in an R22 long before I really got the idea of how to fly and hover a helicopter. I would love to have another go! I’ll take a closer look and some of the settings and see how/if the behavior changes.

1 Like

Thanks for following up. I should probably give DCS a try. I’ve heard good things about it.

1 Like

DCS is one of the best simulators out there for depth and systems. It has a limited number of helicopters though, and even more limited when it comes to civil activity.

Some consider the DCS Huey to be the standard to measure helicopter FMs against…but I find the fuselage to be a bit too twitchy and it enters VRS way too easily compared to my IRL experience with Robbies.
It hits all of the other numbers closer than any other simulated helicopter model when you are flying it, though. The Nimbus Huey in XPlane is really good too.

The MSFS flight model does a lot well, but it is lacking detail around the edges. The turbine modeling needs refinement, the governor modeling as well. The rotor rpm during autorotations doesn’t respond accurately…but it’s the newest FM out there, and it’s impressive how well it simulates hovering and slow speed handling with the first implementation.

1 Like

but as @belatu42 mentioned, has DCS a different background ( combat ). There are some civilian missions for e.g. the Huey or the Mi8 , but in general you can not compare directly DCS and MSFS. The flightmodel of DCS is ( my personal opinion ) for me the reference, in special for helicopters. But you are not free to fly all over the world, you not get all the cities, the PG, the civil flight aspects, etc… just all what MSFS makes special. In DCS exists so called “simple airplane models” which are relativly cheap, but the normal airplanes ( full models) in DCS are fully modelled, you need to know how how it works ( and most of them have more complex systems than a Huey ) and they are not cheap. And then additional the maps, where you can spend also lots of money. So yes, sometimes are in DCS “free to play” weeks, where you can try all models for some days for free and you can give it a try - but DCS is not like MSFS… I just mention DCS for a little compare of the Bell407 flightmodel. I still miss a lot of things in MSFS which the DCS helicopters,flightmodel offers and MSFS not, but in general I enjoy both flightsims :slight_smile:

I find you have two levels, the initial learning of the fm itself, to the point that you fully understand what’s ‘wrong’ with your flight settings/sensitivity, then the second round of learning again how to tweak your setup for it to feel intuitive for each separate heli. It takes time for both as each heli is so different. For ga I have large swaths of aircraft lumped into the same ‘single piston vernier’ configuration, for helis I have one setup each. Eventually you get to some intuitive fingertip harmony where you completely understand the unique attributes of a given heli and that your input exactly matches the expectation you have. It can be a long process, especially if you’re new and trying 5 different helicopters. Make a config for each, perfect it for each. This is all above and beyond the curve it takes to mentally translate ‘sim screen’ to flight model. When it’s right you almost feel like you’re in a motion seat. Just like it takes a long, long time to learn to ‘see’ braking in a racing sim seat from an in car view. Lots of practice! Been doing this for 30 years and still takes a good while to set up a new heli purchase to 90%, and a lot longer for the other 10. And I already long know how to ‘fly helis’ in sims.

When it’s all working together if you want to land on a small deck of a moving ship, you should just be able to look at the spot and the heli just ends up there facing the way you intended it to.

I haven’t flown the 407 for months until recently and it’s definitely miles better, and you can get somewhere with it now.

4 Likes

Really enjoyed that video. Thanks. Is the idea of transferring power to the tail rotor assembly by lowering the collective a property of all helis or mainly the 407? You did a couple of maneuvers I’ve never tried, like the split s and whatever you did early on there (hard climb to zero airspeed then 180).

Any recommendations on good reading material for complex helicopter maneuvers?

That is normal for all helicopters that balance main rotor torque with a tail rotor.
See page 9-5 here: https://www.blubird.nl/sites/default/files/documenten/FAA%20helicopter%20flying%20handbook.pdf
BTW I think that book is the best learning reference. Maybe a little too dense.

So basically, just like in an airplane where you need to pay power to climb with some speed, in helicopter, turning left ( for american helicopters ) needs to be paid with power. If the main rotor AoA is two high, or in other words you have the collective too high, then it can take all the power and you will feel like you cannot make a left turn. But that is bad power management, not the helicopter’s fault. In other words, unlike a Cessna where you can climb full trhottle, say, you don’t want regimes with the collective all up; you need to get used to feel the power used on the main rotor and have some margins for the “power pedal”, and certainly to avoid underspeed of the main rotor.
Save some collective all the time and you will be good :slight_smile: . How much? Just practice and the sound of the engine will always tell you when you are running out of power, and or the feeling in the pedals will tell you.

3 Likes