Jump to content

A Minor Revelation


SonofEil
 Share

Recommended Posts

TL/DR: Fly without the autopilot.

 

I hadn’t flown the Black Shark since A-10C Open Beta was released. So, what, a little over nine years? (Damn.) But in the back of my mind it’s always been my favorite module. It was the first heli sim on any consumer platform that was worth a damn, subjectively it’s still the most interesting aircraft in DCS, and its also still one of the most brutal weapons delivery vehicles in the game. If you can sneak within a few km of your targets you’re virtually guaranteed to eff them up, with fuel and ammo to spare.

I’ve been flying the Shark again for about two weeks now and couple nights ago I had a minor revelation.

I’d been getting a little frustrated with the actual flying of the Shark, specifically the well-known argument between pilot intentions, autopilot and trim. The mechanics of it came back to me relatively quickly, but so did the mild annoyance at its quirks.

Training and tutorials on flying the Ka-50 have always focused on the autopilot and trim systems, and for good reason. They make the bird exceptionally stable. When I first started flying the Shark back in ‘09 I experimented a few times with flying with the autopilot channels disengaged. Disastrous results usually ensued and I just reasoned that she was always meant to be flown with autopilot on. This notion is backed up in the manual and checklists, on Reddit, YouTube videos, and here in the forums. As far as I can tell it has always been gospel: from startup to shutdown, use the trimmer to fly the autopilot. It’s an idiosyncratic but effective, if not somewhat obnoxious way to fly.

Since 2010 I’ve flown ~100 or so hours in the DCS Huey (love it!) and a little over 20 hours of real world helicopter time (wish it was way more but I didn’t end up going that route), so I know the basics of flying choppers. I finally decided once again to shut off all channels of the Shark’s autopilot, fully expecting a wild ride...and...

Nothing! She actually flys like a helicopter. In fact, the Shark is fun as hell to fly with the autopilot channels disengaged and I’ve found that it’s actually easier to do certain things like effective strafing runs with the cannon and rockets.

I haven’t completely abandoned the autopilot of course. Once established in cruise flight I’ll engage the channels and waypoint following. And it’s still fun to find some trees, set the auto hover and pick off long range targets with Vikhr missiles or lob some precision cannon rounds. But besides that almost all of my maneuvering flight is done with the autopilot off.

So that’s it. Im probably really late in realizing any of this but that’s my little revelation that I thought I’d share. And I’m really looking forward to the long needed updates to this still-fantastic module!


Edited by SonofEil

i7 7700K @5.0, 1080Ti, 32GB DDR4, HMD Odyssey, TM WH, Crosswind Rudder...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reading around here I got the impression there are three schools of flying the Ka-50 in DCS:

 

1. Switch off the autopilot channels.

2. Use the flight director mode (which is what I'm doing)

3. Fly with the autopilot (and depress the trim button until you've found the position you like)

 

There probably are even more :)

Different strokes for different folks...

 

I didn't like to fly it with autopilot, and also not quite without (does autohover work then?). Flight director mode is a good compromise for me.

 

PS Welcome back to the Ka-50, I'm looking forward to the update! :thumbup:


Edited by ams999

"[...] because, basically, in this day and age, if you get to the merge and no one's died - it's not good for anybody." - Keith 'Okie' Nance
"Nun siegt mal schön!" - Theodor Heuss, September 1958

"Nobody has any intention of building a wall." - Walter Ulbricht, June 1961
"Russia has no plans to invade either Ukraine or any other country.
" - Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's ambassador to the EU, January 2022

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah that’s probably accurate. I’m happy to switch schools.

Auto hover has always worked for me. You have to hand fly it into a stable hover before engaging the auto hover, but once engaged it holds pretty well.

i7 7700K @5.0, 1080Ti, 32GB DDR4, HMD Odyssey, TM WH, Crosswind Rudder...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fly it like you stole it!

 

 

Yeah, sometimes the autopilot seems to cause the copter to "bind up", and I wonder if I should hit FD button when doing fast maneuvers. Probably what it was meant for.

 

 

@AMS - No, auto-hover only works with the auto-pilot on. FD cuts off the channels, but still tries to control minor stability functions ( like keeping the nose from oscillating ).

 

 

I think if you cut off all the channels, with FD off as well, then there is NO autopilot what-so-ever.

 

 

Still a lot of mystery about the autopilot. According to ED, errors can build up as well, and I don't know what would clear those. I think there used to be a "reset AP switch", but it's not in the real Ka-50.

 

 

x


Edited by 3WA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Once in combat I almost never hover. It's a sure fire way to get killed by a tank.

 

I almost always trim to some level of strafe and then attack from that strafe situation. I pretty much only use auto-hover if I know I'm close but I'm not quite sure the best route to get closer. Once I'm made though... I stay moving and low. It's a lot easier and more effective in VR.

Win-10 x64

 

Nvidia RTX2080 (HP Reverb)

Asus Prime X570P

AMD 3800x

32GB G-Skill RipJaw 3600

 

Saitek X-65F and Fanatec Club-Sport Pedals

Using VJoy and UCR to remap Throttle and Clutch into Rudder axis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I flew her without any AP the first few years, just because I wanted to learn to FLY her myself without any help from it. Definitely recommend! I actually mostly just flew around for the fun of it, not bothering about armament and advanced avionics. Then when it was time to start using her for wat she was built for, it was also time to learn the use of AP.

By the way, I use the "without spring and FFB" trimmer mode and frenetic clicking the trim button during attitude changes. Each by his own.

Helicopters and Viggen

DCS 1.5.7 and OpenBeta

Win7 Pro 64bit

i7-3820 3.60GHz

P9X79 Pro

32GB

GTX 670 2GB

VG278H + a Dell

PFT Lynx

TrackIR 5

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

It ain't difficult to fly without AP channels, but it can be impossible to perform some of the tasks effectively. Like target searching while manipulating ABRIS while you fly toward area.

 

With AP pilots you can fly hands-free and spend a lot of time with avionics as well looking outside from Windows.

 

The flight experience becomes true only by two controllers, a FF stick or non-centering stick, both with good extension.

That, so you can move your hand away from cyclic or loosen grip so you don't move cyclic.

 

With the AP channels on, shark is laughable easy to fly and perform in combat.

 

But everyone should as well know how to fly and land without any AP channels, as once getting serious hit, you need to bring it home without AP channels.

 

One thing that many gets wrong is the trimmer being hold down, and AP flight director mode. Both are the same, and they just disable the AP channel 16% authority for control inputs, leaving only input dampening optimal for all active channels.

That alone makes as well flying easier as shark didn't react exactly 1:1 to your inputs but dampens then so they become smoother.

 

But one can dislike how "laggy" the helicopter is then, and like to fly with AP channels disabled to get complete input authority.

 

The AP channels are the best thing one can have next to a another human pilot. As you can program the helicopter to perform a attack curve or run, and completely focus to use weapons via Shkval. It is simply so amazing that you are not fighting against any AI or communicate with other player, you just do it and you are free to do combat with missiles and cannon. The rockets is then like with Mi-24, at the launch moment press and hold trimmer and you get the authority to aim easily, and then trim to escape area by releasing trim button.

 

The is why I was so much expecting to see Mi-24V instead P, as the Gunner would have performed the aiming or AI the flight profile.

 

The KA-50 is truly a testament that one pilot is capable easily perform complex engagement and flight same time.


Edited by Fri13

i7-8700k, 32GB 2666Mhz DDR4, 2x 2080S SLI 8GB, Oculus Rift S.

i7-8700k, 16GB 2666Mhz DDR4, 1080Ti 11GB, 27" 4K, 65" HDR 4K.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to use different schools as well. Most importantly, the one I use is called a decent stick, with FFB. The BS is totally unflyable without once you have it. Then, I usually switch on pitch and roll APs on the ground, taxi to the runway and line up, then switch the yaw AP on as well, doing a rolling takeoff, just because it's possible. Then I keep the channels on, add alt AP when I reached my desired alt that I want to keep, after roughly trying to do so without. When changing alt, I don't use the rotorbrake grip though, but rather switch the AP off again. Usually it's just on for enroute flight and auto hover. I trim via hold, maneouver, release mostly. When getting into action with rockets or close up gunnery, I go for the FD to have maximum control without losing the dampeners. And when landing on runways, I typically disengage the yaw AP again, sometimes I reengage it when being lined up with the runway or get there via trimming instead of disabling the channel. Not so if doing it vertically though where the channels stay on.

dcsdashie-hb-ed.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the FD On method when:

 

1. In combat and target locked

2. Defensive flying

 

FD Off when:

1. Cruising to target area

2. Acquiring target in a slow manner or hover.

 

I think disabling the AP channels is not the correct way of doing it. It's just not meant to fly without them as they will provide cyclic control damping when the flight director mode is engaged.

With flight director mode on, you will have a helicopter that flies more like the huey in a sense, with the trim and all, and an autopilot that wont have "it's own say" in where you're going.


Edited by chrisofsweden

MOBO: ASUS ROG STRIX Z390-F GAMING
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K 3,6GHz/4,9GHz Turbo
GPU: KFA2 NVIDIA RTX 2080 EX
RAM: 2 x Corsair Vengeance LPX Black DDR4 3000MHz 8GB
VR: HP Reverb G2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah. You shouldn't "turn off" the AP.

 

I'm not even sure you can. If you turn off all the AP channels, is it the same as just hitting FD?

 

Just hit FD when you don't want to fight the AP. As Chris says, then you still get some damping which fights the odd vibration and oscillation. Plus, the AP only has 20% control of the stick.

 

 

Though, I have noticed in fast maneuvers with turning and yawing, with AP channels lit up, and FD off, I seem to get some binding, like the AP is fighting me more than 20%.


Edited by 3WA
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not even sure you can. If you turn off all the AP channels, is it the same as just hitting FD?

Yes you can. Turning them off isn't like FD. In FD (with the channels on) you have the mentioned damping. Turning them off and you are without damping (I actually believe you can have FD on while all channels off and get directions on the HUD but without damping or other help from the systems).

 

The idea of flying with AP channels off is just simply to learn the aircraft in its most basic configuration. Knowing how to handle it like that will help you a lot in all other confirmations, even if it isn't meant to be used like that on a regular basis. And as already mentioned, when your systems are malfunctioning due to damage you don't have much of a choice if you want to make it home.

Helicopters and Viggen

DCS 1.5.7 and OpenBeta

Win7 Pro 64bit

i7-3820 3.60GHz

P9X79 Pro

32GB

GTX 670 2GB

VG278H + a Dell

PFT Lynx

TrackIR 5

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The AP system should be a part of your Hotas system.

Each and every AP is engaged as required.

Pulling a high G curve through the centre of a high threat battlefield whilst swinging the HMS and 30 mike mike onto targets is a very high work load environment... having only the altitude hold AP on at this time Will work to your advantage.. it will not cure your altitude problems as you roll and drop violently to avoid ground fire, but it will move the collective in the right direction when such a dynamic violent encounter is experienced.... it will be fighting your fight.

 

 

During an ingress into a tight housing estate to find a missile release solution on a well defended enemy position some 5 klicks outa town then all and every AP mode is a critical asset.

 

 

There is no fat on this girl.... nothing is wasted.

She must be mastered AP off and AP on in every mode of flight or engagement.

My gaming system is pure DCS. Nothing but DCS, every bit of software that does not belong there is not there.... I hope!

HP G2 Reverb, Windows VR setting: IPD is 64.5mm, High image quality, 90Hz refresh rate. Steam: VR SS set to 100%, motionReprojectionMode set to "motionreproduction" and Locked in at 45 Hz display,

DCS: Pixel Density 1.0, Forced IPD at 55 (perceived world size), 0 X MSAA, 0 X SSAA. My real IPD is 64.5mm. Prescription VROptition lenses installed. VR Driver system: I9-9900KS 5Ghz CPU. XI Hero motherboard and RTX 3090 graphics card, 64 gigs Ram, No OC at the mo.

Vaicom user. Thrustmeter warthog user. MFG pedals with damper upgrade.... and what an upgrade!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"it will not cure your altitude problems as you roll and drop violently to avoid ground fire, but it will move the collective in the right direction when such a dynamic violent encounter is experienced...."

 

Hmmm... Kinda...

 

I hear you, but...

 

If I drop violently... I did it on purpose. The last thing I want is the Alt hold fighting me. I always fly with ALT off BTW, but mostly because it'll clip your wings at the most inopportune of times.

Win-10 x64

 

Nvidia RTX2080 (HP Reverb)

Asus Prime X570P

AMD 3800x

32GB G-Skill RipJaw 3600

 

Saitek X-65F and Fanatec Club-Sport Pedals

Using VJoy and UCR to remap Throttle and Clutch into Rudder axis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Intersting thread guys!

For me it's FD mod for take-off, landing, slow flight and combat, the rest of the time AP.

Corsair One 140 Windows 10 Home 64 - i7 9700K 3.6 GHz - nVidia GeForce TRX 2080 - Hotas Warthog - Saitek rudder - TIR5.

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keeping the trim button pressed is the same as using the flight director. I usually keep the trim button pressed when maneuvering, then release it when I'm stable on the new attitude. I have a regular springed stick, so maybe this method is not as good if you have a ffb stick, but I do not know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nah you're right Ness...

 

I mean it's not "exactly" the same as it doesn't set the trimmed attitude when you release the FD... but for all intents and purposes... it's pretty much the same.

Win-10 x64

 

Nvidia RTX2080 (HP Reverb)

Asus Prime X570P

AMD 3800x

32GB G-Skill RipJaw 3600

 

Saitek X-65F and Fanatec Club-Sport Pedals

Using VJoy and UCR to remap Throttle and Clutch into Rudder axis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flying with FD on and at high speed during combat is a lot more fun than hovering somewhere and sniping stuff. Probably a lot less dangerous, too, as you stay a moving target and only expose yourself briefly on attack runs. I recommend it.

Virpil WarBRD | Thrustmaster Hornet Grip | Foxx Mount | Thrustmaster TWCS Throttle | Logitech G Throttle Quadrant | VKB T-Rudder IV | TrackIR 5

 

 

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 | Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB | 32GB DDR4 3200 | SSD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Flying with FD on and at high speed during combat is a lot more fun than hovering somewhere and sniping stuff."

 

Yup.

 

As soon as I've taken care of the real AA threats I move in and Rambo everything I see :). SUPER fun :). Running Vikhr shots give me just as many goose bumps as sweet Aim9X shots :). Expecially in VR with the HMS and the cannon :).

 

LOVELY!

Win-10 x64

 

Nvidia RTX2080 (HP Reverb)

Asus Prime X570P

AMD 3800x

32GB G-Skill RipJaw 3600

 

Saitek X-65F and Fanatec Club-Sport Pedals

Using VJoy and UCR to remap Throttle and Clutch into Rudder axis

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keeping the trim button pressed is the same as using the flight director.

 

It's the same on a spring-based joystick. On a FFB stick, holding down the trim button will disable the forces on the stick, which is undesirable. That's where the FD comes in, which keeps the forces on the stick but disables the channel holds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flying with FD on and at high speed during combat is a lot more fun than hovering somewhere and sniping stuff. Probably a lot less dangerous, too, as you stay a moving target and only expose yourself briefly on attack runs. I recommend it.

 

 

Lol, actually, it's a LOT more dangerous! But fun! This is what those 80mm rockets are for.

 

 

 

Those tanks with their .50's can TEAR YOU UP!

 

 

Try doing the "The Rambo" in Battle.miz.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I generally use the AP channels for all the trivial stuff where I can plan all the moves several seconds in advance, like flying between waypoints, takeoff, landing and setting up for a hovering position to shoot targets.

 

Flight director I use when I know I will have to improvise a lot, like heavy combat maneouvres.

 

Contrary to most people, I like to use the altitude AP while flying from point to point. Especially when flying low, it's handy to keep me from accidently hitting the ground because it slowly started ascending up towards the helicopter. Altitude AP with altitude radar will keep me at a set height above the ground even if it starts tilting a bit (unless it tilts A LOT, like with a hill, but I should really be paying enough attention to the front to know it a hill is comming up).

 

Flying all AP off is only something I really do if I've suffered battle damage and lost hydraulics. No reason to make things hard on myself when the systems have been designed to help with the flying. If I want a "hands-on" helicopter flight, I'll go grab my MI-8.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...