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DCS: AH-64D Mini-Updates


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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, it’s time to talk about the AGM-114 Hellfire II missile. There are two primary versions of the Hellfire II: The Semi-Active Laser-homing version and the active radar-homing. The radar-homing version will come later during early access when we add the Fire Control Radar, or FCR. At release, we will include the AGM-114K laser version, commonly called the “SAL”.

Each AGM-114K weighs 100 pounds, has a tandem, shape-charged High-Explosive Anti-Tank warhead, with a theoretical range of 11 km, but more practically around 8 km. The motor burns for only 2.5 seconds, but it can reach Mach 1.4.  Up to four can be loaded on each of the four possible Hellfire launchers.

Although it would be a heavy bird, you could carry up to 16 Hellfires into combat.

There are two principal ways to fire a Hellfire, autonomous mode in which your aircraft is laser-designating the target and Remote mode in which another aircraft or ground asset is laser designating the target for you on a matching laser frequency. We’ll first discuss autonomous mode that would be handled from the front, CP/G seat.

We’re sitting on the ground at Deir ez-Zor, and before lifting, let’s talk about a few things.

First, I’ve got the weapons page up on the left MPD, and I will select B3 to display the Hellfire format. This page is a bit busy, so let’s break down its components.

In the center is the aircraft depiction and we can see eight missile symbols, four on each wing. The “L” indicates that they are the laser-guided version. As in the previous weapon videos, we have windows for the selected sight, arm/safe status, and acquisition source.

Along the right side at R1 we can select between SAL and Radio Frequency for radar guided Hellfires. As mentioned, we will first release with only the laser version.

Below at R2 we can select between ripple, normal, and manual modes. Normal will auto-sequence to the next missile automatically, and Manual will require manual missile selection between each launch. We’ll keep it in normal mode. Ripple mode will not be included at initial release but will be available later in Early Access. When you see a barrier next to an option, it means that the selection is not available. You can see this for ripple and Training at R4.

At R3 we can determine the missile flight trajectory. We can select between Direct, Low, and High. I’ll come back to this once airborne and ready to put warheads on foreheads.

At R5 we can select between the First and Last laser detection. When set to First, the laser range will be based on the first return the laser receives. If set to Last, it will determine the laser range based on the last return received. For example: if you want to lase a tank behind an opening in trees, you will set it to Last such that the designation is based on the tank and not the trees that may be the first return received.

At the bottom at R6 is our acquisition source. In this case, I am going to set it to waypoint 3, where I have some targets.

Because the AGM-114K is laser-guided, we need to determine the frequency at which our laser will designate the target and the frequency at which the missile seeker will detect and track the reflected laser energy. These frequencies are stored in Channels, of which we have 4 readily available at any given time, and can be set on the CHAN page, more on that in a moment. For an autonomous attack, our primary channel, and Laser Range Finder Designator, or LRFD, will need to match.

In the bottom center of the display, we see our four missile channel assignments, A, B, C, and D. Our primary missile channel will be labeled PRI, or Primary, with a white box around it, and the alternate channel will be labeled as Alt with a green box around it.

Let’s first see how we can set the laser frequency that the laser-Hellfire seeker will look for.

Selecting Channel at T1 displays our laser code assignments to each of the four missile channels listed at the top. On the left, right, and bottom sides of the page, we see the available laser codes labeled A through R. I and O are not included to prevent confusion with one and zero. We can see that we have “Alpha” code set to a frequency of 1688 and assigned to channel 1. If I then select channel 2, we can see that “Bravo” code frequency is set to 2111. If we wanted to change a channel assignment, simply select a different code, in this case “Rome” with 1788 for channel 1. Pulse Repetition Frequency, or PRF, frequencies range between 1111 and 1788 and Pulse Interval Modulation, or PIM, range between 2111 and 5888. Now selecting either PRI at L1 or ALT and L2 we can assign a missile channel. If we assign the same channel as the PRI and the ALT, they will swap.

That is how we change laser codes that the laser-Hellfire seeker will look for, but now we’ll change the LRFD code from the Code page at T4. This will be the code that the TADS will use to designate the target. We can see the same lists of laser seeker codes and their frequencies. If we want to edit a code’s frequency, we can press FREQ at T5 to do so. But for now, we’ll leave the frequencies as they are. From the list along the left, right, and bottom of the page, select the LRFD designation code to match the frequency that the laser-seeker will look for. The laser code the LRFD is set to will be boxed.

On this same page we can press SET at T2 to toggle the page to the LST format for setting the laser code the Laser Spot Tracker will look for, but I’ll save that for a later video.

Going back out to the Missile format page, we now see that our LFRD has changed to match our PRI channel. We now have our codes set for an autonomous attack.

Before we lift, let’s take a second to talk about those letters on the Missile icons. The more common ones you may see are:

L when the missiles are not actioned and it’s a laser-guided version.

LS when it’s a laser-guided version with no code assigned.

The laser code letter and T that indicates the missile sees and is tracking laser energy that matches that assigned laser code.

The laser code letter and R indicates the laser code the missile is assigned to and R to indicate the missile is ready.

The priority missile to launch next will be in white and pulsing.

Let’s lift now and shoot some tanks.

Ahead of us at around 5 clicks is an amor group that we’ll engage with Hellfire. First, we’ll action missiles by pressing right on the Weapon Action Switch, or WAS. Next, press the Arm/Safe button to arm the weapon systems.

With the TADS as the Sight, I’ll select Waypoint 3 as our Acquisition Source, and press the Slave button on the TEDAC. You can see the TADS slave to Waypoint 3 automatically, with the Cued Line-of-Sight Reticle over it. We’ll now de-slave so we can use the manual tracker to slew our TADS Line-of-Sight Reticle one to a target.

At R3 on the missile format page, we currently have the trajectory set as Direct. When using Direct, the missile will fly the shallowest flight profile of the three options and will get there the fastest.

We’ll lase the target and diagonal lines appear with the TADS LOS Reticle. The TADS source range is displayed to the left of the High Action Display. Well keep holding down the laser trigger to the second detent for continuous lasing. To the right we see that we are in Direct mode. If we are within azimuth, elevation, and range launch constraints, a small, solid box appears. This is the launch constraint box and indicates where the TADS is looking in relation to the nose of our aircraft. If the constraint box is below and to the left of the TADS Line-of-Sight Reticle, it means that the target is below our nose and to the left. If out of launch constraints, the box will be segmented, and you’ll need to maneuver the aircraft into constraints based on what the constraint box is telling you.

The pilot will also see the constraint box to help you align the aircraft to the TADS Line-of-Sight.

The box will become large when you are within constraints and the missile seeker can see the matching laser code from the TADS LRFD.

While continuing to lase, pull the weapon trigger to launch the missile in Direct mode. Most often you will continue to laser the target before launch and until impact. This is termed Lock On Before Launch, or “low-ball”. You could, technically, launch the missile and only laser the target while the missile is flight. This is termed Lock On After Launch, or “Low-Al”. However, LOAL is mostly done for Lo and Hi trajectory shots.

Once the missile is in the air, you must keep the Line-of-Sight Reticle over the target and continue laser designating the taret, but it’s okay to be out of constraints.

Back to R3, we can also select either LO or HI trajectory, these operate the same, but HI will have a higher-loft trajectory. LO and HI provide a bit longer range, have the missile come in at a steeper angle, and can be used to clear obstacles between you and the target. In this example, we’ll select HI.

As before, we have a constraint box, but in this case, it is in reference to the Aircraft Datum Line, or ADL, and not driven by the TADS Line-of-Sight. LO and HI have tighter launch constraints compared to Direct, and you’ll want to align your ADL with the target. The target in this case will be a selected Point. This could be any point like a waypoint, target point, or control measure. We are basically telling the missile where to fly to before looking for a laser designation.

Once aligned, you may wish to squirt the laser to ensure that you are in rage.

If in range, you then launch the missile without first laser-designating the target. This is a LOAL engagement, and you will notice the pronounced loft angle of the missile. Roughly 12-second before the Time of Flight, as indicated to the High Action Display, laser designate the target by pressing the laser-designation trigger to the second detent.

If you were in LO or HI and designated the target before launch, then it would perform a LOBL attack.

During this engagement from the front, I’ve been using the George AI system, but you’ll also be able to do this with a friend in the back seat using multi-crew. This will be available at launch.

Although you do not have the same level of missile engagement control as you do in the front seat, you can still engage with Hellfires from the back seat using a multi-crew friend or George in the front seat. In this example, I’ll use George.

With the George interface open, we can set the weapon to Hellfire, select missile type, select LOBL or LOAL, select the trajectory, and hand-off targets to the CP/G.

To get a better idea of what my CP/G is engaging and range, I’ll view the TADS through the VID page.

Upon designating a desired target location through the HDU Line-of-Sight Reticle, the CP/G will slave the TADS to your HDU Line-of-Sight and begin searching in that area and moving out. He’ll then provide a list of targets to choose from. Once you’ve commanded the target, he will de-slave the TADS from your HDU Line-of-Sight and automatically engage if he is in free-fire mode, green, or wait for you to give engagement permission, amber.

I’ll come back to this in more detail in a later George video.

The last item I want to touch on is remote mode. So far, we’ve only been using autonomous mode in which we are self-designating our Hellfire shots. In remote mode, we can use another designation source. As you might imagine, your Hellfire laser code will need to match the off-board designation.

When the Hellfire seeker code and the TADS LRFD code do not match, you will see a REMOTE indication by the High Action Display and a mis-match indication.

Most often, you will set the target area as the acquisition source and lob a Hellfire at it in ether LO or HI mode. Rather than you then designating the target, the off-board asset will then designate the target on the same PRF or PIM to guide the missile in. You never fire your laser.

Thank you
The Eagle Dynamics Team

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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll explore flying the 64. We’ll discuss how to taxi, takeoff, also called picking up or “pulling pitch”, and basic trim. We’ll dive into landing and the attitude and altitude hold modes in later videos.

We’ll begin today’s lesson in western Iraq. I’m on the ramp with all the systems set up and ready to go. We’ll discuss the startup procedure in the final video of this series.

To better help see what I am doing, I’ll display the controls indicator in the top left corner. The large cross shows our cyclic, or control stick position, and the bottom bar indicates our anti-torque pedal position. Along the left side we see the position of our collective. The white diamonds indicate where our controls are currently trimmed to, and the green lines indicate movement of the controls to maintain our commanded trim.

Before we go much further, let’s talk about the very basics of helicopter flight control. The cyclic, or the control stick between your knees, controls aircraft pitch and roll. Moving the cyclic left or right will slide the aircraft left or right and low airspeeds and bank the aircraft left or right at higher airspeeds. Pushing the cyclic forward dips the nose and will result in the aircraft gaining speeds, and pulling the cyclic back will raise the nose and decrease airspeed.

The anti-torque pedals control the thrust of the tail rotor, and in turn, controls the yaw of the aircraft, or the lateral side to side movement of the nose. For a helicopter, this is a very important control element, and a good X / Y axis controller is recommended. However, we do plan an auto-rudder option later, for those that do not have such a controller like rudder pedals or a good axis switch.

The collective moves up and down, and as you raise collective, thrust is generated by the main rotor blades. Note that this will in turn generate a right yaw that must be compensated for by the tail rotor. This tail rotor thrust will also impart a right roll and right drift and will need to be compensated for with a left cyclic.

Lastly, there are the two engine power levers. These control the RPM of each engine, and once set to FLY, the engine control units will automatically regulate the rotor speed to a constant RPM. The only reason you would ever move the power levers out of fly is if you’re performing single engine failure training, or if an engine digital electronic control unit failure occurs.

This will make a lot more sense once we get airborne.

We’ll first do a hover check to ensure that the engines and other systems are operating correctly, and it will allow us to discuss hovering in the 64. We’ll begin by ascending to a 5-foot hover and check the engine torque readout. This will vary based on the aircraft gross weight, pressure altitude and temperature.  [Assumes Non-FCR, 2 rocket pods w/ 38 PD rockets, 2 HML w/ 8 hellfire, 300rds of 30mm, 80% fuel. Take off weight ~ 18,197lbs – Sea Level and 15 deg C] Currently our aircraft weighs around 18,197 lbs. Based on our performance planning, we expect to hover at 78% torque in ground effect and 95% torque out of ground effect. Our maximum allowable gross weight out of ground effect for the days conditions is 18,829lbs, this equates to a torque of 83% when measured at a 5 foot hover and is called our ‘go/no-go torque out of ground effect’. If our current hover torque is less than this value, then we have out of ground effect hover power. If it’s not, then we cannot perform out of ground effect hovers until we are less than this value because in order to hover out of ground effect we will exceed our continuous torque limit of 100% torque. Notice that this weight is significantly lower than the published maximum gross weight of 23,000lbs. It should be noted, that 23,000lbs is the maximum gross weight for non-combat flights, i.e. a long distance ferry flight, but the maximum allowable gross weight for combat flights is 20,260lbs. However, as we’ve just discussed, we may not be able to load the aircraft to this weight and still be able to perform our primary mission: Putting warheads on foreheads and sneaking tactically into a position at an out of ground effect hover.

Like the rockets, there is no single “right” way, but rather different techniques. Find the one that works the best for you.

I’ll first make sure my cyclic and pedals are centered and slowly pull collective until I start to get light on the wheels. As I add collective, the nose will want to swing a little to the right, so you’ll need to add just a little left foot. Also, the aircraft will want to roll a little to the right, so add in just a little left cyclic. You’ll probably also notice the AH-64 hovers a little left side low when in a hover. This is due to the right-wards translating tendency of the aircraft. The combination of the main rotor torque and the tail rotor thrust countering that torque produces a right translating motion of the aircraft, which is countered by applying left cyclic to maintain a constant position over the ground.

From here, there are two primary techniques.

The first is to keep a close eye on the velocity vector and acceleration cue in the HDU. The goal is to prevent the velocity vector from growing in any direction. The point of origin for the velocity vector is the center of the LOS, which approximates the mast. The velocity vector is always seeking the center of the acceleration cue. So, the goal becomes to maintain the acceleration cue in the center of the LOS reticle to prevent the velocity vector from moving in any direction. The acceleration cue can be thought of as a cyclic indication. So, if the acceleration cue is constantly moving, look at your hand, you’re likely moving. It’s important to not chase the velocity vector, but rather set the acceleration cue where you want it and keep it there. If the acceleration cue is to the left, apply right cyclic to bring it back to the right. If the acceleration cue is forward of center, apply aft cyclic to bring it back. It does take practice.

Although the human body primarily uses visual cues for 3-dimensional orientation, without the additional “seat-of-the-pants” feeling of the real aircraft moving around you, focusing on the symbology too much can lead to over-controlling and “chasing the velocity vector.” Don’t forget to look outside.

Which brings me to the second technique of using near and far outside references. Meaning, alter your view between near and far references outside the aircraft to gauge movement forward and back, and left and right, and then counter with control movement. As before, it takes practice, and it’s easy at first to get ham fisted and over-control. Smooth and steady wins.

Once we see that we are airborne based on the radar altitude tape, let’s first stay within the ground effect, in this case, 48-feet which is the diameter of our main rotor disk. This will allow us to hover at a lower torque setting. This is termed IGE, or In Ground Effect. Practice a stable hover here, and then slowly reduce collective to set her back down.

Those are the basics of a hover, now let’s talk about how to taxi.

There are two methods, ground taxi and hover taxi.

To ground taxi, gently add collective to 27-30% torque, and then push the cyclic forward to taxi forward. To stop or taxi backwards, pull back on the cyclic.

With the tail wheel locked, as indicated by the tail-wheel push-button UNLOCK light not being illuminated, the aircraft will want to taxi straight forward or backward. If we unlock the tail wheel, indicated by the UNLOCK light on the tail-wheel button, we can use the pedals to steer the aircraft left or right using tail rotor thrust.

To hover taxi, we’ll get into an IGE hover, and then use gentle cyclic movement and pedal inputs to taxi. As before, push the cyclic forward to move forward, pull the cyclic back to slow down or go backwards, and pedal left and right to turn the nose of the aircraft left or right. If you taxi at higher speeds, you will also want to add a little cyclic into the direction of the turn to maintain a level fuselage attitude.

Let’s taxi out to the runway threshold.

To takeoff, we can do this several ways.

If very heavily loaded, you may wish to do a rolling takeoff. To do this, we’ll start with a fast taxi forward, and then keep adding collective until the aircraft becomes airborne. You’ll also want to maintain your pitch attitude on the horizon line when adding collective to ensure you don’t drive the nose into the runway. The forward velocity of the aircraft will increase the efficiency and lift produced by the main rotor, and it require less of the engines to get airborne.

Next, we can enter an IGE hover first, and them bump the nose forward and to gain forward airspeed.

After around 6 knots, or when the velocity vector line in the Hover symbology is at its maximum length, switch the symbology mode to Transition or Cruise. In these modes, we now have our Flight Path Vector, or FPV, that shows where our aircraft if flying to. We can then “fly the FPV”.

During this process though, we’ve been altering our torque value through the collective and this in turn is changing where our nose wants to point. We counter this with the pedals but can be tiring and a lot of work. So, we can force trim the cyclic and pedals to new positions to maintain our flight attitude.

Both the cyclic and the pedals have magnetic brakes that clamp down on them to hold them at a new center-point location from which all control inputs are based on. If we press the Force Trim Release, or FTR, switch on cyclic forward, we release the brakes, reposition the controls to a new center point, and then release the FTR to set the controls center point at a new trim location. Like hovering, this does take a little practice and time to get used to.

Note though that if there are heavy aerodynamic forces against the aircraft or a control is already at its maximum setting, the trim authority of the flight control servos may become saturated and unable to maintain the set trim position.

That’s it for today on getting your 64 up in the air.

AH64D_PerfData_-_Tabular_Data.pdf

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  • ED Team

By the book:

VMC Approach to a Hover

From an altitude and airspeed that affords the best observation of the landing area, place the LOS reticle on the intended point of landing. Press and hold the force trim interrupted and reduce the collective approximately 20% below cruise torque. Place the acceleration cue at the 40-knot ground speed position and adjust the collective for a 500 fpm or desired rate or descent. Maintain the FPV slightly above the intended point of landing to prevent “under-arcing” the approach. Control the flight path vector vertically with the collective and horizontally with the left/right cyclic. Maintain the acceleration cue behind the tip of the velocity vector to ensure a smooth, consistent deceleration while maintaining a 500 fpm or desired rate of descent. Prior to descending below the obstacles or 50 feet, keep the trim ball centered. Once below the obstacles or below 50 feet, use the pedals to align the nose with the landing direction. The decision to abort the approach should be made prior to descending below the obstacles. When the velocity vector is within the LOS reticle, select Hover symbology and terminate to a 5-foot stationary hover. Engage the hold modes as desired to assist in maintaining the hover.

 

Rolling Landing

From an altitude and airspeed that affords the best observation of the landing area, place the LOS reticle on the intended point of landing. Press and hold the force trim release interrupted and reduce the collective approximately 20% below cruise torque. Place the acceleration cue at the 40-knot ground speed position and adjust the collective for a 300 to 500 fpm or desired rate of descent. Maintain the FPV slightly above the intended point of landing to prevent “under-arcing” the approach. Plan to touch down in the first 1/3rd of the useable landing area. Control the flight path vector vertically with the collective and horizontally with the left/right cyclic. Maintain the acceleration cue behind the tip of the velocity vector to ensure a smooth, consistent deceleration while maintaining a 300 to 500 fpm or desired rate of descent. Prior to descending below the obstacles or 50 feet, keep the trim ball centered. Once below the obstacles or below 50 feet, use the pedals to align the nose with the landing direction. Maintain the velocity vector straight up and down the 12 o’clock post of the LOS reticle with the pedals and lateral cyclic. Maintain at or above ETL or VSDE until touch down, or if single engine maintain at or above VSSE until 30 feet. Once the aircraft touches down reduce the collective slightly to settle the aircraft, then increase the collective to 30% dual engine (60% single engine) or more prior to applying aft cyclic to aerodynamically brake the aircraft.  Maintain heading with the pedals and a level attitude with lateral cyclic. When the velocity vector is within the LOS reticle, select Hover symbology and maintain the acceleration cue in the center of the LOS reticle. Neutralize the flight controls and reduce the collective after the aircraft has stopped. It is permissible to utilize the toe brakes to assist in stopping the aircraft.

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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll explore the defensive systems that will be available at launch. These will include the Aircraft Survivability Equipment, or pronounced “ACE”, that consists of the wire strike protection system, the AN/APR-39A(V)4 radar signal detection set, and the Common Missile Warning System, pronounced “C Moss”.

Combined, they work to detect, warn, and provide countermeasure options against both radar-guided and infrared-guided threats.

Later in early access we will add the AN/AVR-2A laser signal detecting set, the AN/ALQ-136 electronic radar jammer, and the AN/APR-48A Radio Frequency Interferometer.

Thank you
The Eagle Dynamics Team

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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, learn how to setup our controls to fly the AH-64D.

Thank you 
Eagle Dynamics team. 

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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll learn how to cold start our AH-64D. 

Please note that this was recorded from a pre-release version in mid-March 2022. Later in development, aspects of the procedure may change.

My Cold Start Cheat Sheet:

Pre-Flight
1. Doors
2. Lights
3. Engine Levers Off
4. Rotor Brake Off
5. Parking Brake On
6. CMWS Off
7. COMM Levels
8. Battery
9. Tailwheel Locked
10. Lights Test
11. Fire Detection Test

APU
12. APU
13. ENG/SYS Page
14. Check EUFD
15. Check DMS Page
16. Set COMM Page
17. ASE Off and Setup
18. Set TSD Page
19. Set FUEL Page
20. Set FLT Page
21. Set WPN Page
22. IHADSS Boresight

Engines Start
23. Set NVS as Desired
24. Uncage SAI
25. ENG/SYS Page and ENG Page
26. ENG 1 Start Wait for TGT Less than 80 C
27. Power Lever to IDLE at Ng Increase
28. Repeat for ENG 2
29. Power Levers to FLY When OIL PSI is Less than 70 and NGB Temps Above 20 C
30. Check RPMs at 101%
31. APU Off

Before Taxi
32. Parking Brake Off
33. Tailwheel as Desired

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  • ED Team

Hello there.

Please find attached a graphic of the George Interface that may help you better visualize it.

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll explore our AI crew for the 64 that we call George. George is a common reference to auto-pilot systems in real aircraft. 

When we developed this system, we did so with helicopters in mind that pose a unique set of challenges compared to fixed wing AI crew command systems. For instance, you must be able to rapidly input maneuver instructions, it must not block any of our forward view, it should not require head-movements, and it must be flexible to adapt to different flight conditions.

While there are certainly some very capable AI command systems for fixed-wing aircraft, they would not translate well to helicopters.

At early access release, George will be available for both the pilot and co-pilot/gunner, or CP/G. You will be able to fly and entire mission from just the pilot or CP/G seat.

During the early access period, we will continue to improve and refine it, particularly the automatic sighting and engagement abilities of the CP/G.

03a1_AH-64D_QuikRef_Card_-_George_AI.png

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  • ED Team

With the release of the DCS: AH-64D, I've seen a list of common questions.

Although the bulk of these have been covered in earlier videos, I thought I'd make a separate one to address them all in one place.

In this video I'll touch on:
- Setting up the laser
- LOAL HI and LO attacks
- Force Trim Release (FTR)
- George Command Switch

Have fun!

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  • ED Team

One common question that I often see asked is why my aircraft crashes into the ground when in a hover or very slow speed. This can be due to one of two reasons, either Vortex Ring state, VRS, or settling with power. I often read folks blaming VRS, but it is often not, and rather settling power.

I’ll try to explain both and how to avoid them. For a detailed explanation of why it happens, I’ll leave that to Casmo and his magic white board.

Before we get started though, a quick PSA regarding a very common question I get: how do I remove the TADS video from the HDU when I want the TADS as my sight? The easiest and fastest way is to just remove the IHADSS by pressing the “I” key. If though you want to retain the monocle, just set your level to zero on the TEDAC.

Okay, back VRS and settle with power. Let’s first review the most important controls. First, from the Pilot, Axis controls, make sure that the collective and lower levers are bound and have full range.

First, we’ll talk about VRS. This happens when three conditions exist. You have low forward airspeed (lower than 16 to 24 kts), your vertical velocity in exceeding 300 feet per minute as indicated on the scale along the right side of the HDU, and insufficient collective power. 

If you avoid any one of these three conditions, you should be fine. 

The much more common issue that most of you are running into is settling with power. This happens when you are at very low airspeed, or a hover and you are demanding more collective power than the aircraft can generate to produce enough lift. When you are outside of ground effect, over 48 feet, the rotors must generate a lot more lift to maintain, much less, increase altitude. If the aircraft is heavy, there is a high outside air temperature, you are operating at a high MSL, can all lead to power requirements that the aircraft cannot meet.

If you continue to pull back on the collective and demand more power than the engines can give you, you’ll just make matters worse and lose rotor RPMs. The engines of the AH-64D, like the engines in any other DCS helicopter, can only produce so much power before they encounter some sort of limitation, whether that be engine RPM or engine temperature. The engines will limit themselves to prevent damage or failure, so once they reach a limit, they will no longer produce any additional thrust to keep the rotor spinning at the current RPM. However, if you keep increasing the collective, which increases blade pitch angle and drag, the rotor RPMs will begin to slow.

Just like any other airfoil, when you reduce your airspeed over the wing, it produces less lift. Therefore, when your rotor slows down, you produce less lift. Therefore, continuing to pull up on the collective when your rotors are slowing down actually makes the situation worse, and results in falling faster. This can be equated to a fixed wing pilot continuing to pull back on the stick to prevent a stall due to low airspeed, but as a lot of you know from playing our other fixed-wing modules, this exacerbates the stall.

You can see when the engines start limiting themselves due to turbine temperatures by observing the Engine page in flight. As you continue to pull on the collective, as the engines approach 867 degrees Celsius, they will top out and the rotor RPMs will begin to drop. As mentioned, when operating at higher altitudes and/or higher temperatures, like NTTR in the summer, the engines may encounter this limit before the torque reaches 100%. This may lead to rotor RPMs decreasing and a loss of lift.

As mentioned, this can be experienced in the other DCS helicopters as well, such as the Ka-50, Mi-24 or UH-1.

To get out of a VRS or a settling with power situation, the easiest solution is to drop the nose and get forward airspeed. But, before getting in such a situation, keep a very close eye on your VVI when entering a hover or very slow speed flight and don’t let it fall to less than 300 feet per minute.

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  • ED Team

Since the Early Access release of the -64, our focus has been on tuning the existing systems and fixing bugs. Today though, we’ll talk about a new feature coming to the -64, using Hellfire missiles in Ripple mode.

From the Weapons, Missile page, select RIPL from the mode button. When in this mode, the channel will automatically alternate between the Priority channel and the Alternate channel. When might you use this? The most common use would be when working with a flight member online in which he or she is designating on the Alternate channel, and you are designating on the Priority channel. In this way, you can alternate your shots as one for you and then one for them.

Naturally, if you used RIPL and just used self-designation, you would need to manually change the code each time to match the channel. As such, this would most often be used with a flight member. It’s worth noting that if an Alternate channel hasn’t been set, in which case ALT at B2 says “NONE”, the RIPL mode option will remain “barriered”.

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Forum rules - DCS Crashing? Try this first - Cleanup and Repair - Discord BIGNEWY#8703 - Youtube - Patch Status

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  • ED Team

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll explore both the Position (often referred to as Hover) and Velocity Attitude Hold Modes. For Position mode, you must first establish a stable hover between 0 and 5 knots; it is not a magic button that places you in hover. For Velocity mode, establish a stable airspeed between 6 and 40 knots. 

In both modes, first center the trim using the Force Trim Release (FTR) switch to center the control reference point. This allows the Flight Management Computer (FMC) the greatest flight control systems movement to maintain the hold mode.

To release an Attitude Hold mode, press left again on the Trim switch on the Cyclic.

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  • ED Team

DCS: AH-64D | AI JTAC

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll look at using the AI JTAC with the AH-64D. In this case, the JTAC will provide a target coordinate and an IR Pointer. From this, we’ll explore how to enter the coordinate as a Point and using the Night Vision Goggles (NVG) to see the IR Pointer and confirm target location.

Please note that the IR Pointer range was increased in the build this video was created, and this change will be coming soon to an update. Also note that the JTAC coordinates are in a 3+3 format but the AH-64D requires a 4+4 format. Simply add a zero to the E/W and N/S. For example: 123456 to 12304560.

Later when Laser Spot Tracker (LST) is added, the AH-64D will also be able to locate a laser designation spot. However, even now, the JTAC can lase a target and you can launch on the target coordinate using LOAL mode and the seeker tuned to the JTAC’s laser PRF.

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  • ED Team

DCS: AH-64D | Altitude Hold Mode

COMING SOON

Force Trim/Hold Mode Switch (Cyclic Stick controls):

- Altitude AL/Right

- Attitude AT/Left

-  Cancel D/Down

-  Set Trim U/Up

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll talk about the Altitude Hold mode of the AH-64D. Using either the radar altimeter or barometric altimeters, the Altitude Hold is a very useful function to automatically hold a hover altitude or keep the aircraft at a constant altitude in forward flight.

To engage radar altitude hold, the ground speed must be less than 40 knots, vertical velocity must be less than 100 feet per minute, and the altitude must be less than 1,428 feet AGL. It should be noted that the Radar Altitude Hold is NOT a terrain following mode since it provides a distance directly below the helicopter and not in front of it.

Barometric altitude hold will be active whenever the aircraft is outside the parameters for radar altitude hold, which is the case if the altitude is greater than 1,428 feet AGL or the ground speed is above 40 knots. To engage barometric altitude hold between 5 to 40 knots ground speed, the vertical velocity must be 200 feet per minute or less. The vertical velocity limit for engagement then scales linearly from +/- 200 feet per minute at 40 knots to +/- 400 feet per minute at 160 knots. 

Regardless of which sub-mode it is in (radar or barometric), the Altitude Hold will automatically disengage if the rotor RPM (Nr) drops below 97% or exceeds 104%, either engine torque exceeds 100%, either engine’s temperature (TGT) exceeds 867 degrees C, or whenever the pilot displaces the collective more than half an inch from the original position at the time of the Altitude Hold was engaged.

Altitude Hold relies on the Flight Management Computer, or FMC, and is engaged by pressing right on the Force Trim/Hold switch. Once engaged, the FMC will automatically adjust collective pitch to maintain the altitude at the time the Altitude Hold was engaged. However, like other axis within the SCAS system, it only has a limited authority to do so. For this reason, before engaging altitude hold, ensure that you are first established in a trimmed state.

Combined with Attitude Position Hold, this can allow a 3D hold for a hands-free hover.

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Forum rules - DCS Crashing? Try this first - Cleanup and Repair - Discord BIGNEWY#8703 - Youtube - Patch Status

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  • ED Team

DCS: AH-64D | Attacking Moving Targets with Target State Estimator (TSE)

Useful Commands AH-64D Controls:

Axis Commands
- RHG MAN TRK Controller – X axis
- RHG MAN TRK Controller – Y axis

Right Handgrip
- RHG LRFD Trigger – First Detent
- RHG LRFD Trigger – Second Detent
- RHG Sight Slave Button

Left Handgrip
- LHG Linear Motion Compensation (LMC) Button
- LHG Weapons Action (WAS) Switches
- LHG TADS FOV Switches
- LHG Weapon Trigger Switches

In this DCS: AH-64D video, we’ll examine the addition of the Target State Estimator, or TSE, to greatly assist with engaging moving targets with the gun and rockets.

When using the TADS as the sight, TSE allows to determine actual target velocity relative to the TADS line of sight. Using laser-ranging, embedded INS and GPS systems, TADS slew rate, and the air data system, the TSE compares aircraft movement rates from target rates. Once the actual target rate is known, the appropriate amount of lead can be calculated to account for weapon time of flight and required lead. Naturally, this will be essential for accurate fires when using Linear Motion Compensation, or LMC. The most important takeaway is that TSE will provide accurate lead against moving targets when engaged through the TADS.

When using the IHADSS, lead is not calculated.

A very important item to understand is to avoid range jumping. This can happen when you switch between range sources, and it will appear as the TADS line of sight jumping away. This can easily happen if you do not establish an accurate range to target before initiating TSE. Therefore, it is important to use automatic ranging and perform a first detent ranging pulse of the target before to committing to a TSE/LMC track.

To use TSE, you will first want to set the manual range from B6 to A, or automatic, on the keyboard unit. Although a default, manual, or “stale’ range can be used, it is more effective to use AUTO ranging.

Make sure the laser and weapon system are armed and we’ll select the gun for this first demonstration.

Setting the TADS as the Sight, either slew or slave the TADS line of sight to the target area and perform a first detent laser ranging that sends a three-pulse ranging distance to the target area.

With the TADS over the target, engage the second detent of the laser for continuous ranging, enable LMC, and use the thumb force controller to track the moving target. The key is not to rush it and allow TSE to gather enough data to calculate proper lead. I handy tip is to say “T-S-E, catch up to me” with a steady LMC track and only then fire.

With the target in range and a good LMC track with TSE, fire the weapon.

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