CowanSim Bell 222 (Airwolf) - Hard to control

I have tried several times to fly this baby, but the controls are very “touchy” and it rather difficult to control compared to other helicopters and the H135.

Do you have some experience in what it takes to arrive to a better experience?
I also suspect I may be missing a setting as YT videos seems to have a way smoother experience.

What physical controls are you using? You may need to tweak sensitivities if it is overly twitchy.

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I am using the Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS.

Again, I can fly other helicopters with much less problems. I can I find others flying the same helicopter (also newbies) with much less challenges…

I haven’t noticed the 222 being any more twitchy than all the other cowansim helis except maybe the 206.
Are you sure it’s not just the ground effect and hover that is hard to control. A lot of helis seem to require very fine cyclic and anti-torque adjustments just to stay stationary in hover. Once they are airborne and moving forward the anti-torque is no longer necessary and they become a lot more stable to control. Especially if you trim them.
I can’t speak for the h135 as I haven’t used it in ages, but the Hype h145 which I do have and use is stabilised a lot by the autopilot stability feature so it feels easier to fly.

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Maybe, I will try again…any recommendations for control sensitivity settings?

I haven’t messed about with my sensitivity settings for a long time. Believe it or not I still use a TM TFlight Hotas One which is about as budget a controller as you get and I use it with no foot pedals either, so z-axis stick twist is anti-torque for me. I like it this way as I sim on the couch using a big 4K TV and not at a desk. A knock on from my XBox days I know. :laughing:

So I set up my stick sensitivities way back 3 years ago for it with suitable dead zones around the 0 in each axis as the pots on that stick are a bit cheap and noisy.
Big difference for me was setting up a dedicated heli mapping and removing all aircraft mappings and adding in heli trim buttons and a trim release button. That and doing lots of hover training 2ft off the ground.

Also worth pointing out and I’m sure you know already is be sure to know what the wind direction is at all times (I use a popout GTN750 for this purpose, it displays wind(speed and direction), altitude and ground speed in a very readable size in each corner of the map screen), and I make sure to take off and land into the wind. It makes a huge control difference with helis.

Also go try some other helis if you have them. The Cowansim 500e or the Shrike 530 are similar. The Shrike is slightly easier to fly, but may be harder to start as there is a hot start bug that needs to be worked around in order for it to actually start up. Very nice to control heli though, not too challenging and also nice looking too for it’s price.
Control wise I even find the default Cabri can be a bit of a handful compared to some of the others.

I have a tendency to go fly the same route in the same conditions with different helis one after another, just to compare them all. The hpg h145 is by far the easiest to fly as it has that extra autopilot stability features kicking in to stabilise flight control which is great for “manual” flying as well as for HEMS ops. The Shrike 530 probably is next in ease of use followed by Cowansim helis (of which the R66/500e are probably the easiest to fly) followed by other 3rd party helis like the Lama, 429(freeware), SA342(freeware) etc which take a good bit more fine control of cyclic and anti-torque to get airborne under control to a steady hover. All helis do stabilise with enough forward airspeed though, where they start to behave more like other aircraft.

If you want a really stable heli the CH47D Chinook is fantastic too.

Just my own observations.

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HPG free H135 isn’t that good reference model to compare because its flight model isn’t good. If I could recommend really to learn fly some helicopter that is free and inside sim, only B407. With HPG H145 all was described here correctly but it’s maybe quite expensive for some users. Sensitivity settings are that clue to have better flight experience.

Also worthy of note is to pay real attention with the Cowansim helis and collective. They seem to become way more unstable if you raise collective too far/fast.
The H145 won’t complain as much, but the Cowansims seem to prefer less collective. Too high especially on takeoff & they become decidely unstable. Especially true of the 500e, not sure about the 222 can’t remember.
Just add collective in very small increments until you are in a controlled hover.

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Of course the 222 is going to feel more twitchy than the H135. The 222 is a semi rigid 2 blade rotor. Where the H135 is a fully rigid 4 blade rotor, inherently it will be more stable than a 2 blade rotor.

As well their rotors rotate opposite. So any muscle memory you have in the H135 is backwards from the 222.

It’s the 2 blade simi rigid rotor that makes the 222 feel like you’re controlling a spinning top that wants to wobble.

Give yourself more time to feel it out. You’ll get it.


One final point I forgot to mention (then I promise I’ll shut up). I found that the two in sim assists for helis can be a problem with some of the non default helis.
I used to have the tail rotor (anti torque) assist on. I never really knew why I’d need or want the other cyclic assist on tbh. I did the tail rotor assist because I have no foot pedals, so Z-Axis was it for my anti torque, and I was protecting my wrists (which have an old computer RSI type injury already).
BUT what I found is that some of the 3rd party helis don’t like the in game heli assists as much so I ended up turning them off as I was finding I was fighting against the assists for control most of the time especially with Cowansim’s helis.
Again, worth checking, but I’d recommend making sure both heli assists in sim options are set to OFF/DISABLE to restore predictability (and control).
Between this and not being aggressive with collective on Cowansim helis, they all generally fly quite well.

Thanks for all the input. After some more tests, I can add more to how it feels:

  1. It feels twitchy because the smallest adjustments on the cyclic has a significant impact. Feels like mouse acceleration & sensitivity set waaaaay to high.
  2. It gets unstable beyond 150knots.

I am sure that with practice it can become manageable but my right arm will feel the stress from constant control over the very small adjustments. Ill have a look if there is a setting for this.

FWIW my sensitivity setting are ( and they’ve been this way for all aircraft since I used it on XBox before moving to PC)

R-AXIS Z is ANTI TORQUE (which I have a big dead zone as I have a pot ‘wobble’ on this cheap HOTAS)

Works fine for me though. ps. just compared the 429 with the 222 in wind and the 429 (freeware) seems to be slightly easier to control to a hover fwiw. May be worth giving it a go. Similar sized heli and it’s very nice too.

One other point is do you have a resistance dial/setting on your stick. On my HOTAS it’s a dial on it’s base that slackens resistance off. I have it set to the slackest setting possible to allow easier small movements at least for cyclic. The Z-Axis (anti-torque) can’t be slackened on my stick.

The 222 has a cruise speed of 110 knots and a max speed of 139 knots.

At 150 knots, it would be very unstable and most likely you would encounter RBS (retreating blade stall) which would cause an un-commanded pitch up and right roll in a CW rotor system.

Well, I guess I will do without the Airwolf feel of speed :smiley:

The Warthhog is fairly heavy in its movements. I was used to this going in. However, its just a bigger problem for the 222 than other helis.

One thing i do i’m sure others will condem is to have a rather large extremity dead zone on the cyclic, you do not need that entire range on a helicopter, small movement are all you need so by having a reduced range your sensitivity issues are vastly reduced.

i use linear with no dead zone on collective and anti torque i have extremity dead zone on that

And this was using those settings

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i found some setting that should help going to try them today ive been flying the hype performance h160 and im spoiled the 222b is a handful