Helicopter (Bell) is almost impossible to control

So, I’m playing with heli assists off as well as doing the flight model thing to potentially remove the flight model bug (setting flight model to legacy, sliding it down to beginner then back up to full realism, hitting apply).

And I just can’t control this thing at all. It almost always either starts shooting me backwards or I go into an incredibly fast right turn when trying to hover. I’ve been practicing for about three hours and nothing I do can stop this behavior. I’ve read everything on this forum so far giving advice (making very small adjustments to collective, rudders and main stick and waiting to see the result. No matter what I’ll always end up in the uncontrollable right turn.

It also seems that right when I start a flight it is somewhat more stable when I take off. But then if my heli goes into one of these crazy spins it I can land it, bring the collective all the way down then slightly adjust it up to the point where my heli rises slightly off the ground and the spin kicks in almost immediately. I need to apply full left rudder to compensate, but no amount of left rudder stops this right spin- even lowering the collective doesn’t stop it. It almost feels like the flight model is degrading as I play.

All my controls are fine, and I’m not accidentally trimming the rudder or rotors. I’ve also set the weather to have zero wind.

No idea what to do going forward here.

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I fly helis in DCS so I have not had a chance to try them yet in MSFS. The ones in DCS are of course military grade…but…forget everything you know about planes.

I use constant input, not one moment goes by that does not require input with rudder or stick. Helicopters are inherently unbalanced. The inputs are very small, no abrupt stick or rudder movements. It is like walking on ice, if you run you loose control. You have to prepare every phase in advance, there is rarely an opportunity to do quick turns or sudden changes.

Preparing for landing takes time, you can’t just put it down when you feel like it.

Helos are very difficult to fly if you transition from airplanes. I fly as a passenger often in real life, not a heli pilot, but real pilots use vet delicate inputs and constantly stabilize the helo with inputs.

Very easy tip,

imagine heli as typical wing plane rotated in view to up with propeller, simply as it fly vertically to space direction, but you are looking with horizontal direction to control it. Try imagine now how to control it. I think is better now to understand but with very easy look at this problematic.

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Have no fear, I’m in the same boat. I have assists turned back on for now, but I’m going to turn them off again when I have some time and just keep working at it. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I wrote your original post :slight_smile:

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Practice. Heli flying is hard IRL.

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I used to fly remote control Helicopters and they are INSANELY hard to learn to begin with.

I attribute that fact to being able to fly helicopters in the Sim because of years of remote control flying. I have more issues trying to fly tail draggers. That’s a mystery to me.

My advice.

Begin with raising up out of ground effect. Hover and slowly land in control.

Then begin Mastering forward slow flight
Then back and forwards and to starting position.

Then finally turns coordinating yaw and cyclic.

Helicopters require continual very light control inputs. Light touch is biggest thing.

Just my advice. Have fun learning. Once you get it - it’s second nature.

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First thing to know: in helicopters you always take off with pedal already pushed (left one in this case) because all choppers yaw during hover (it’s plain physics). You may need up to 50% left pedal depending on wind before hitting collective and then adjust it once hovering. Cyclic movements must be gentle because all choppers will also pitch and roll a bit as well, so cyclic must be also set before or short after hovering to compensate that (it’s also a matter of plain physics).

Anyway on cockpit top panel there’s an autotrim button. You can activate it and that can help you. It’s a native assist that helicopter has.

Cheers

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Not sure if same IRL but with a remote control you also want to take off out of ground effect smoothly but expedited…

Remaining gingerly in ground effect can send you all manner of directions and make control way harder.

Smooth and light control.

I think a twist joystick or pedals will really help, the controller is hard if using that.

What exatly does the two helicopter control assists do? Im not much for assists, but when things is starting to go haywire in the air, I wish there was some kind of it. What does the “Force trim” and “Trim ON” do in the helicopter?

Are you turning (yawing) right or translating right? The first needs just more left rudder. The second needs left stick, but be careful of pilot induced oscillations.

The game does have some kind of tracking of vortices you whip up with your rotor. You are probably getting caught in one there. Rather than landing, push forward on stick to establish forward movement and relocate.

They seem to automate the minute adjustments you need to do to establish and maintain hover. Not a bad idea to experiment using one or the other at time, for example switching the tail rotor assist on would allow you to focus on how to use the cyclic to counter drift.

Dont forget to trim before you take off, you know its going to rotate right so give it some left trim, and you know that its going to start rolling backward so give it some down trim. Though there is something not right with that copter…IMHO

In the gumball you can turn off the governor and set power / rpm to acceptable levels and it will launch almost like a real helicopter, but it seems a little flakey here as well.

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You will suffer yaw, pitch and roll bacause that’s the way it has to be. You have two axis rotating at 90° from each other and their blades are pitched independently. Compensation needs to happen in time therefore. If not the situation will be just worse as time passes by. Thats why you normally set controls before take off indeed. On the other hand ANY movement on collective requires a compensation with pedals as well, so lowering collective only won’t help. In case of panic the best thing to do, when possible, is to get some forward speed. That will relax tail forces and help main rotor to estabilize.

Cheers

There needs to be a degree of study of the principles of flight before actually trying to fly a helicopter.
One thing to understand if you want to jump in and fly is that the helicopter main and tail rotor system is rigged to be stable for cruise flight, sadly there are a few phases of flight to go through to get to that (relatively) stable flight phase.
As the aircraft can only be rigged for one phase it is obviously not as stable in the other phases such as take off, in ground effect hover, and transition to forward flight etc.
What this means in practice is that as you try to leave the ground by raising the collective, you will need to move the other controls from their central positions to new positions that balance the forces that will otherwise move the aircraft away from the desired stable controlled position (ie hovering over a constant spot).
You need to anticipate with the controls as the aircraft skids leave the ground and stiction with the surface is lost, suddenly the aircraft is free to rotate and be moved with the wind and its rigged rotor direction. Raise the collective slowly and try to feel the point the aircraft starts to fly, keep looking ahead at a point such as a lighting pole, if it appears to move right you need to squeeze harder on the right pedal, if it appears to move further away you need to push the cyclic forward.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, it really is difficult in real life. Day one of military helicopter flying training is just lifting off and putting it down again, whilst trying to stay in a 30-metre square box!

What doesn’t help is that most sim players are probably using a desktop joystick and throttle and probably no pedals so there’s a huge degree of lack of fine control which often leads to pilot induced oscillations. If you can afford it get the stick between the knees and on an extension, a separate throttle on the left side of the seat and some pedals.

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One more tip liked to your words about understanding the helicopter before flying it: the rotors are connected to fuselage so any forces introduced in fuselage by the rotors thelselves when you operate controls will also affect the rotors as well afterwards. There’s a feedback therefore.

For instance: while in hover, once I move cyclic forward I change the plane of the main rotor and that creates forward movement but that will also make nose pitch down resulting in rotor plane being changed yet more than initially. This means that at that point neutral cyclic will still result in forward movement until nose is levered again and rotor plane is levered as well in accordance.

Cheers

I’ve found that if I apply just enough power to lift, say about 23% to under 30%, then leave it at that, I can concentrate on the cyclic, collective and pedals. We only have a limited number of hands and feet. Once I get the aircraft reasonably controlled in hover, then I return to the throttle and set her down.

That´s how I fly too. You don´t need too many adjustments on collective to hover as ground effect provides enough lift to keep the bird in place, and not even during taxi either if speed is not too high. Indeed, as soon as you have some speed, cyclic can be used to perform small altitude adjustments as well by pitching nose up or down, so it´s not only usefull to adjust horizontal movement. On the other hand pedals can prevent roll in some cases as well because when correction is done in time they prevent further rotor deviations, which will result in a noticeable roll later on. So basically keeping chopper aligned properly most of the time and staying within the ground effect limits is the best solution to avoid further problems.

What I do is to adjust the initial hover to know the required collective setting for the current payload and leave like that. Then get some initial speed with a small forward cyclic movement and use the extra airflow created by speed on the rotor to get a initial lift with just a small nose pitch up (cyclic moved a bit to center). You can easily take off like that without touching too much the collective. As soon as I add more speed then I add more collective too as nose will pitch down and that may result in a dive if not corrected by adding collective in accordance. That reduces the need of many corrections at the same time on all controls and also reduces the unstability created by yourself by excessive and constant operation of the controls. All you need to use is your own inertia and anticipate to it to avoid any additional correction, as most of the time once inertia disappears the chopper will estabilize itself after some small bouncing.

Cheers

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Exactly. Very gentle back pressure on the cyclic or you start to move backward. It’s a very delicate balance.

Raise the collective slowly while balancing it out. Keep going slower until you can control it. The amount of collective being used also alters the rotational torque of the helicopter.

Does it look like this:

If more or less yes, try the procedure which is in the description!

Changed it a lot for me!

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Who let you out of the Airbus!? :slight_smile: