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An Answer to my Flight Model Question


Scarecrow84
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I posed a question earlier to any IRL Gazelle pilots regarding the odd cyclic behavior of the sim.

 

I realized early on that in order to control attitude this module requires a very different kind of cyclic input from other helicopters I am aware of.

 

Basically, the cyclic stays centered and is sort of "bumped" in the direction you want to decrease pitch/tilt the aircraft, and then quickly returned to center.

 

For example, in straight and level flight, I found I actually had to just move the cyclic forward initially and then return it to the center position - while adjusting collective. Most helicopters, of course, require the cyclic to stay in a forward position during straight and level flight (Hence the need for trim in the Huey, etc. I never found I even needed trim in this aircraft as the cyclic would always return to center regardless of attitude.)

 

I found this very odd, and asked if this was how the actual aircraft works due to the the SAS or just its own aerodynamic quirks.

 

No answer ever came, so I poured over some of the Gazelle videos on youtube and found my answer.

 

Verdict: the cyclic behaves like a typical helicopter in this regard, as can be seen starting about 6:30 in the below video.

 

 

The aircraft is in straight and level flight, and in order to accelerate the pilot moves the cyclic forward and keeps it there while adding collective.

 

I saw another video that shows the same cyclic behavior for the roll axis in a steep turn - i.e. the cyclic stayed pushed to the side during the entire maneuver and didnt snap back to center during it.

 

I understand we are in a waiting state for FM updates, but for some reason some keep insisting the FM is fine the way it is.


Edited by Scarecrow84
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Basically, the cyclic stays centered and is sort of "bumped" in the direction you want to decrease pitch/tilt the aircraft, and then quickly returned to center.

 

For example, in straight and level flight, I found I actually had to just move the cyclic forward initially and then return it to the center position - while adjusting collective. Most helicopters, of course, require the cyclic to stay in a forward position during straight and level flight (Hence the need for trim in the Huey, etc. I never found I even needed trim in this aircraft as the cyclic would always return to center regardless of attitude.)

 

 

You can test this yourself in sim very easily which I have as seen below in the pictures. Use the Gazelle trim hat to position the cyclic for level flight and include the right amount of collective of course.

 

I see no center position for level forward flight when I test in sim.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=155884&stc=1&d=1485561839

 

 

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Gazelle1.thumb.jpg.36a83ffce540a26d9efcbbc922acf71c.jpg

Gazelle2.thumb.jpg.f10354ac055188a384f90dde091b8a18.jpg

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Some of the problem here is that we fly with small not to scale controls. I would love a proper full size cyclic myself, maybe one day! Don't tell the misses tho:)

 

If the Gazelle systems are modeled accurate and to scale which I believe them to be extremely accurate.

Now take a look just how much (Full size cyclic) movement the stick has once positioned to the level flight using the example in my last post.

 

Now when we are controlling this with our sim controls on pc you are talking not even perhaps 1mm of movement here.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=155890&stc=1&d=1485564072

Gazelle3.thumb.jpg.aa69e1996ce9b3bad8c03e605ccae2bc.jpg

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Yes, I re tested this after my original post and you are correct. Thanks for the in depth response.

 

It does require some slight forward cyclic for sustained straight and level flight.

 

I don't mean to cloud up the FM issue further...Might try to delete the original post.

 

I would be interested in your overall takes on the FM though...both David and TheM.

 

Others with more in depth knowledge than me have made better points regarding the FM.

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I have never flown a Gazelle only an R44 so cannot say. FM's to me are SimArt really and no simulation can be 100% I have spoken to real pilots and even the full size sims they use to do their check rides in are not perfect.

 

I believe it's a very good FM, all the FM's in DCS are mind boggling close to the real thing and ED and third parties will always push to get as close to real life as they can. Even farther down the track will make changes if more accurate information becomes available.

 

To me, it is what it is and it's a very accurate FM and systems, so that's what I will learn here and do enjoy every moment, even if it's not exactly 100% as there is no such thing in modeling a simulated world.


Edited by David OC

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Straight and Level flight.

 

No trim, stick or pedals used to maintain a 4 deg pitch.

 

Stick centred, SAS off, gyro off, no AP.


Edited by Holbeach

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Looks like the FFB box is actually under Miscellaneous.

 

I had it checked before, unchecked it, and don't notice any difference.

 

I don't have a FFB stick.

 

I have found the Gaz can be flown straight and level at a constant speed with either slight forward cyclic or centered, depending on how you adjust collective.

 

This tendency for attitude to stay where you put it with a centered cyclic is more pronounced in turns and quick stops.

 

So, I think the point stands, honestly.

 

And I still don't get why some people get bent out of shape over these flight dynamics discussions.

 

We just want the FM to match the awesome model, systems, and weapons.

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I'm sure Polychop wants the Gazelle to be as good as they can possibly get the FM, some get upset and frustrated with the same threads being opened all the time about the FM.

Kicking a dead horse comes to mind.

 

This should just stay in the bug section that's all.

I still enjoy the Gazelle very much and focus on the positive and there is lots to be positive about, even if it's perhaps not 100% correct as I know Polychop will do all they can to make it as close to real life when able to.

 

I was quickly looking for some information on the flying characteristics when the Gazelle is at cruise speed. Does the Gazelle aerodynamics allow little forward pressure when at 264km/h ? with or without, SAS off, gyro off, no AP ? I'm sure the Gazelle pilots would have said something to PC if this was out. I haven't seen here that anyone has asked a Gazelle pilot about this and if true add the findings to the bug thread section.

 

Real world aviator here- No... No helicopter would fly like a laser with stability systems off, and hands off the controls. I've not flown the Gazelle, but I've flown helicopters of comparable size and due to atmospheric factors and physics it just wouldn't happen and I think you know as much, but if you didn't there is you answer. What this thread strikes me as is again another thread searching for a response from Polychop. The issue I have is Polychop has stated many times the FM is a work in progress. There are no SFMs for DCS helicopters, and they have to be made from the ground up. As such that takes a lot of work and time, as the physics involved are incredibly complex.

 

They are working on it, but I'm reaching a point were I am wondering if there is continued benefit on making new threads for every single issue. Filling out a bug report and posting your findings to one of the pre-existing bug threads seems like a good idea. I do find the title of this thread and video to strike me as a bit sarcastic or rhetorical

 

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=174696&page=3

 

So just some history about how things get developed. We pour through lots of manuals to learn everything we can about the aircraft - this includes both flight and service manuals. This helps us determine when a pilot turns on X it's suppose to do Y. There is a lot of that even in a small helicopter like the Gazelle.

 

Then the FM starts. We take any flight data we can find (and usually we have a lot before we even start) and work to convert that to DCS. DCS itself is a bit different then other simulators, mainly X-plane, in that the FM is programmed into the aircraft. In X-plane, you model the aircraft and engines and the real world determines the FM. In DCS you could have a C-130 with a FM of a Gazelle because that is whats programmed into it. So we program the FM. Now at this point, we need pilots who fly the aircraft to tell us if it feels correct or not. If it doesn't, we have to translate what they tell us into FM code. Not as easy as somewhat would think. We fix, and re-test, and fix, and re-test. Sometimes the pilots are busy and testing takes longer...so you get some gaps between FM tweaks.

 

Currently we're working on fixing up the multi crew side of things. There are a lot of small things that need to be fixed. Also the FFB needs a bit of work as well and we are working on that already. We're also getting the snipers ready for their version, and working on the BO-105. So a bit busy.

 

So, yes, we hear you. Keep the issues coming, but if you can please limit it to the bug report section so it can be classified correctly and so we don't have to search half way through thread to find it.

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I just posted about there being no need to compensate for collective adjustments provided we're moving, even if at low / médium speeds.

 

Even abrupt collective inputs, that I would expect to require anti-torque pedal compensation, do not cal for it, thiswith SAS, AP, and MAG Trim off .

 

Is this the way the real Gazelle handles ?

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Is your "FFB" option checked (settings > gameplay), by any chance?

 

No, it's unchecked, thanks.

 

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I just posted about there being no need to compensate for collective adjustments provided we're moving, even if at low / médium speeds.

 

Even abrupt collective inputs, that I would expect to require anti-torque pedal compensation, do not cal for it, thiswith SAS, AP, and MAG Trim off .

 

Is this the way the real Gazelle handles ?

 

No it isn't. In fact no single rotor helicopter can do it, without pilot/AP/SAS input.

 

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Does the Gazelle aerodynamics allow little forward pressure when at 264km/h ? with or without, SAS off, gyro off, no AP ? I'm sure the Gazelle pilots would have said something to PC if this was out. I haven't seen here that anyone has asked a Gazelle pilot about this and if true add the findings to the bug thread section.

 

 

That was the entire point of my original post.

 

I asked our supposed real life gazelle pilot that question multiple times and he ignored it.

 

I then found the answer in that youtube video (original post) that clearly shows the cyclic pushed forward inches from center for forward, level high speed flight.

 

That is completely different from how the module works.

 

We keep "beating a dead horse" because some keep making excuses for the developers and acting like the flight model is up to DCS standards.

 

It's not.

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No it isn't. In fact no single rotor helicopter can do it, without pilot/AP/SAS input.

 

..

 

Thx and this other video even makes things worst...

 

 

A total immersion killer for me :-/

 

I'll be back when basic aspects of rotary wing flight dynamics like this get fine tuned ...


Edited by jcomm

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Ok gents,

 

I see you all talking about the incredible - but unbelievable stability of the Gazelle and telling that this is unreal. I see the videos you quote and all the forum entries here about the FM and the long lasting dispute about that.

So I did a quick research today and I´d like to share that with you because these are statements of real life pilots you request....and these pilots are not affiliated with ED ot PC in anyway:

 

All quotes are from test flights IRL

 

1. http://www.mwhelicopters.co.uk/File/LeapingAheadText.pdf

Some Gazelles are fitted with a Stability Augmentation System (SAS). This might be a nice extra as it eases the workload if flying in IMC or at

night, but in my opinion not a necessity as the aircraft is extremely stable.

 

But in the cruise it really comes into its own. The cambered airfoil section housing the fenestron offsets the torque effect of the engine. This allows virtually all the powerproduced by the engine to go into rotors to

keep it airborne and propel it forward without any draggy tail rotor to slow it down.

2. from: The Undiscovered Gem by Richard Boswell (The feature originally appeared in the May 1998 issue of FLYER)

The civilian variants do not have the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) which is standard fit in the military machines but quite frankly you wonder why they needed it: the Gazelle sits solidly with a big helicopter feel about it.

3. https://books.google.de/books?id=2iPpBN29ezMC&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=gazelle+helicopter+SAS+augmentation+system&source=bl&ots=GOWG54nix9&sig=9-att5JLo9zsmJXwswV3PZEAfJE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi05YrR5enRAhVmG5oKHaPFAmAQ6AEIOjAF#v=onepage&q=gazelle%20helicopter%20SAS%20augmentation%20system&f=false

 

 

.... SAS is more of a stick-positioning device that tends to hold any selected altitude, hands off, but the Gazelle also gets a high degree of stability in forward flight from it´s big horizontal and vertical tails, except in roll.

 

 

Personal findings flying the Gazelle in 1.5.6 release:

 

a) no chance to completely fly the GAZ hands off, but as stable as described in the arcticles from test flights above

 

 

 

b) SAS (if used) engages around 80km/hrs and makes no need for anti-torque rudder as intended, exept in extreme turns to keep altitude together with cyclic. But still (AP off) no chance to keep hands off from the stick for long times. And before you ask: yes...stick is neutral, no spikes in hardware, tested against other airframes in DCS = all is fine :-).

I fly the GAZ with the "realsitic mode" in setttings, no FFB.

 

 

c) SAS off, AP channels off, and also Gyro off if you like: NO WAY to fly it hands off guys...you really can feel the helicopter getting more senstive, sluggish... and we are talking of no or moderate wind conditions in DCS

 

 

 

d) forward and horizontal flight: the helicopter has always a little pitch down in axis...otherwise it would climb...and this means the stick has to be in a slight (very slight) forward position, trimmed by the pilot. This is realistic otherwise you would climb. I flew for 12 years on Uh1-D and even there (totally different helicopter) we had this attitude - so I am not sure If I got you right? I flew on EC135...and we have this littel pitch down in axis on sreaight forward flight. I see the same behaviour with the GAZ in DCS.

 

 

 

e) abrupt collective inputs: yes...above 80 km/hrs no need to compensate with anti-torque rudder, below definitely.This is the only thing I can not comment on if it´s realistic or not!! It´s stated above in the first article that the huge fenestron neutralizes the torque - not mentioned if it offsets ABRUPT changes in torque though.

 

 

 

Conclusion from my side: I love it as it is, some fine tuning my be fine, definitely no immersion killer.

 

 

I´d really wish to see this "it´s unrealistic"-discussion to fade out.... make bug reports and prove that it´s faulty...fine.

 

If you´d wish to come back when basic aspects of rotary wing flight dynamics (??? hey really??) like this get fine tuned...fine. Hopefully you are not flying FC3 aircraft such as F15/SU33/Mig27/29 etc...otherwise you´ll never come back due to their FM :-)))))). And please keep in mind...GAZ is still BETA...so there´s an ongoing development.

 

 

 

It´s Your choice.

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Polychop in any way, I am a fixed wing pilot IRL for 16 yrs now, I flew 12 years on UH-1D as medic, had the chance to fly Bo105, EC135 occasionally in the past years. And I am a happy customer of PC, even happier with every improvement they make to the GAZ over the time. My excuses if anyone feels beeing attacked by my post, but it seems that I am a little bit fed up with these kind of posts about FM here.

 

 

 

by the way: the EC 135 is a bit closer to the Gazelle concerning Fenestron and stability systems...and guess what.... in straight ad level flights...hands off without AP and no need to counteract with anti-torque rudder under normal flight conditions.


Edited by docWilly
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@docWilly:

 

First of all, as being one of the authors of posts in this thread, thank you for your excellent post and for providing further insight into some of the issues identified.

 

In as far as I am concerned, the video of the approach in an upside down situation was probably recorded with a former version, and this is no longer possible in version 1.5.6 ( ? )

 

Regarding the "abrupt" collective inputs I mentioned in my post, well, I made sure all of the SAS, AP, Gyro and Trim systems were Off for my tests, and I really don't think there should be no need at all to input anti-torque compensation. As much as the fenestron system can be a very advantageous one, the main torque itself results from the main prop, and should have an impact unless the SAS is working ( ? )

 

Finally, regarding the flight model mode, I'll check how mine was set and report back. Just as I forgot to untick the FFB option from the General options, I might have skipped this one too ?

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Ok gents,

 

.... SAS is more of a stick-positioning device that tends to hold any selected attitude, hands off, but the Gazelle also gets a high degree of stability in forward flight from it´s big horizontal and vertical tails, except in roll.

 

I take this to mean the SAS holds the stick in place where it is put? Kind of like an automatic trimmer? That's what it sounds like to me, and makes sense from what I've seen in the real life videos.

 

This is different from how the module works. In the sim, the attitude itself holds while the stick moves back to center. Big difference.

 

From this it sounds like the most realistic setup would be a stick that is non-centering and set up with a gimbal that stays put...? Maybe like that new VKB stick that allows axis tightening...

 

Anyway, this take on the SAS does not account for what we are seeing in the sim...forward full speed flight with a centered cyclic.

 

Did you watch the video I posted, starting at 6:30? There is a generous range of movement forward for straight and level flight.

 

 

 

d) forward and horizontal flight: the helicopter has always a little pitch down in axis...otherwise it would climb...and this means the stick has to be in a slight (very slight) forward position, trimmed by the pilot. This is realistic otherwise you would climb.

 

 

You can see on the real life video I posted the forward stick movement at high speed is not "very slight". It's plain as day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

@docWilly:

 

Finally, regarding the flight model mode, I'll check how mine was set and report back. Just as I forgot to untick the FFB option from the General options, I might have skipped this one too ?

 

I unchecked mine and didn't notice any difference.

 

Also, I'm pretty sure the SAS is always on as far as the FM is concerned...not sure though.

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Thanks for posting that article, DocWilly. A few points I found interesting:

 

"In normal operation, he cautioned, the controls are extremely light and responsive"

 

"Even without SAS, it is more stable than the average light helicopter"

 

But...

 

"It's controls are so light and sensitive that if feels more like a jet fighter than a helicopter"

 

The controls in this sim are not "light and sensitive", they are laggy. A helicopter can be relatively stable and still sensitive on the controls.

 

BTW, I have a little time in an R22...Not much, but I paid lots of attention :)

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@Scarecrow84

 

(Also, I'm pretty sure the SAS is always on as far as the FM is concerned...not sure though.)

 

That's correct. Even when you turn it off, it's still working and will attempt to return you to its datum point of 0/0 deg. trim/bank, which equates to 68 kts S/L at sea level.

 

To stop this happening, you MUST turn off the gyro, which gives info to the SAS and then it will impart no influence.

 

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@Scarecrow84

 

(Also, I'm pretty sure the SAS is always on as far as the FM is concerned...not sure though.)

 

That's correct. Even when you turn it off, it's still working and will attempt to return you to its datum point of 0/0 deg. trim/bank, which equates to 68 kts S/L at sea level.

 

To stop this happening, you MUST turn off the gyro, which gives info to the SAS and then it will impart no influence.

 

..

 

In my tests I also made sure the Gyro was disengaged, but I still can apply collective, say at 110 knot, without having to use the anti-torque pedals.

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The very big housing of the Fenestron is there to remove the need of using the anti-torque pedals. If I remember correctly it is not necessary to use tham after reaching 80- 100 km/h because the tail counters the torque. it has nothing to do with the SAS or gyro

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Thanks for all the constructive replies - highly appreciated!

About stick movement: with my HOTAS I need just a small physical movement to make the helicopter react. In a real gazelle - as stated correct and seen in the video - the movement is rather "crude". This may be related to the different length of the sticks. The longer the stick (the one in real life) the more you have to move it. Am I right? So we in the sim make small movements and get big results and I confess this is NOT reflected in the visual movement of the stick in the cockpit. Here I would expect more deflection and this is not modelled like the movement in real gazelles. But it is in the code - otherwise I would not get the anticipated output to my input :-)

 

 

I take this to mean the SAS holds the stick in place where it is put? Kind of like an automatic trimmer? That's what it sounds like to me, and makes sense from what I've seen in the real life videos.

This is different from how the module works. In the sim, the attitude itself holds while the stick moves back to center. Big difference.

Right, Sir. What the author describes in his article is not what we see in the sim. When you use Magnetic trim (brake) and trim the stick in our simulated GAZ you see what the auhor describes but not with SAS activated alone. This is something to look into.

 

About sensitivity: You are right. The very interesting thing is that I experience sensitivity...I do not feel it to be laggy in response....some people feel different. I assumed in an earlier post last year that this may be related to different sim hardware/sticks we use.

Personally I use the stock Warthog HOTAS/Stick with the following setting in axes:

 

Joy_Y and Joy_X: deadzone =0, SatX =100, SatY=100, curve = +15

Joy_Z (collective) 0-100-100-0

 

Rudder (Saitek combat pedals): 0-75-100-0

 

This gives me a responsive reaction to my controls but not oversensitive.

 

Your needs may be different.

 

 

"It's controls are so light and sensitive that if feels more like a jet fighter than a helicopter"... I am just in a wild guess what the author is telling us there as there´s no additional reference to that statement. I heard the same statement from one of our rescue helicopter pilots couple of month ago talking about the BO105 (he flew earlier) with the hingeless rotor system and referring to extremely agile reaction to the input.

Some RL Gazelle lovers state that it feels like a racing car compared to other light helicopters (due to speed and agility). Just a guess: is the author using the word sensitivity but wants to tll us something about agility?

 

 

 

@jcomm: I tried to my very best to fly up-side-down as shown in the vid.....and messed badly every time - can´t keep the copter in a stable situation regardless of what I try. So I´d say it´s not possible in 1.5.6 anymore unless you "tweak" your settings or the FM to a totally unrealsitic behaviour just to prove PC that they are doing crap in development.

 

If I have the chance to interview one of our pilots on EC 135 I´ll ask about Fenestron/stability/torque/input at different flight regimes.... I am on duty twice this week as medical doc but on ambulance and maybe I have a chance to ask and report back here - promised :-)


Edited by docWilly

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In my tests I also made sure the Gyro was disengaged, but I still can apply collective, say at 110 knot, without having to use the anti-torque pedals.

 

I'm agreeing with you.

 

You can in fact yank the collective up and down as much as you like at any speed and it will remain at its set attitude until the fuel runs out.

 

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I'm agreeing with you.

 

You can in fact yank the collective up and down as much as you like at any speed and it will remain at its set attitude until the fuel runs out.

 

..

 

This not my experience!

 

This is really, really, really, really, really not my experience!

 

By default, at speeds above 120 km/h, the SAS autopilot is in altitude mode:

 

When switched to the “ALT.” position the autopilot will maintain the helicopter’s current altitude.

If the collective input value is upper than the needed collective to maintain the altitude, the autopilot will pitch down the helicopter to maintain the altitude and the speed will increase.

If the collective input value decreases, the autopilot will pitch the helicopter up.

 

But go below 120 km/h and dump the collective and she goes down. I "grav"-antee it!

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