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Tipping point...and Casmo's checklist


Raisuli
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Decided to bite the Hellfire and learn the Apache.  I can fly the Huey, if you call what I do 'flying', so not my first egg beater.

The Apache always wants to tip.  It doesn't roll, it doesn't slide, it tips and so far the ground always wins when rotor blades come in contact.  Statistically this is pilot error, but I can't seem to figure out what the fix is.  Any thoughts up front?

So I did Casmo's checklist:

1. Try to fly the Apache.  Check.

2. Get frustrated.  Check.

3. Go fly a jet.  Check

4. Which is lame...

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Without a video or track to observe, this is what I can say:

Make sure wheel brakes are off. Get the hover mode symbology up, make sure you arrest any sideslip as much as possible. Don't fiddle around too much in takeoff and landing regimes; be gentle but firm with the collective - light on the wheels is nice, but unnecessary. Watch the pedals as the tail rotor can induce a strong rolling moment. Work with forward takeoffs and landings as these are a bit less bouncy on the pedals.

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I find theres a temptation when you are in a good hover pre-land to just go "Cool, Im close enough!" and drop a chunk of collective... which means you get some yaw on descent, and generally means you're tipping.

I still botch my landings about 5% of the time, but its always due to my own impatience.  

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I'm new to DCS and the AH-64 was my first Helicopter....ever (haven't even been successful in the ones from Microsoft Flight Simulator before I dove into the Apache). Picked it up on 6/17.  If you have experience with the Huey I image that you are far ahead of me in the learning curve. But my experience mirrors yours. My first landing I was just happy to get land on the planet, much less anywhere close to where I needed to be. 

I'm no authority, but my recommendation is to keep with the practicing and it will come to you. 

There are a lot of good YouTube resources out there too in ComsoTV and the thread by Bradmick.

 

 

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Which way are you tipping? The Apache need a little left cyclic and left pedal for a hover in no wind. 

Rightward tip (Need to counter with left cyclic):

 

Leftward Tip (Too much left cyclic or right pedal):

 

Normal takeoff (Note that to hover in one place you need to have a little left cyclic. The helicopter naturally hovers with a lean and therefore the right wheel will leave the ground first):

Hover with a left lean and no wind:

 


Edited by Poptart
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21 hours ago, WhiskyTango said:

I'm new to DCS and the AH-64 was my first Helicopter....ever (haven't even been successful in the ones from Microsoft Flight Simulator before I dove into the Apache). Picked it up on 6/17.  If you have experience with the Huey I image that you are far ahead of me in the learning curve. But my experience mirrors yours. My first landing I was just happy to get land on the planet, much less anywhere close to where I needed to be. 

I'm no authority, but my recommendation is to keep with the practicing and it will come to you. 

There are a lot of good YouTube resources out there too in ComsoTV and the thread by Bradmick.

 

 

Keep in mind that the ah64 flight model is a WIP and has many issues, one of which is it wanting to tip over. 

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I think some of the instability comes from ‘human desync’ issues. If you look at the engine behavior during startup you’ll see that there is a lag between your collective inputs and engine response. There is also often some overshoot. When you start to pull pitch, if it’s done too quickly, youll hear engine warnings. After I noticed this, i changed my collective inputs to small stepwise changes while watching the engine page-waiting for changes to stabilize after every input. This has allowed me to actually do a proper hover check without much tipping or wandering 

4930K @ 4.5, 32g ram, TitanPascal

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On 6/22/2023 at 9:14 PM, Raisuli said:

Decided to bite the Hellfire and learn the Apache.  I can fly the Huey, if you call what I do 'flying', so not my first egg beater.

The Apache always wants to tip.  It doesn't roll, it doesn't slide, it tips and so far the ground always wins when rotor blades come in contact.  Statistically this is pilot error, but I can't seem to figure out what the fix is.  Any thoughts up front?

So I did Casmo's checklist:

1. Try to fly the Apache.  Check.

2. Get frustrated.  Check.

3. Go fly a jet.  Check

4. Which is lame...

Think of the Huey as training wheels.


Then try the Hind.

 

After you are ready to kill yourself, come back to the Apache, and she'll feel easier.  🙂

 

Since the latest update I haven't rolled her once.  Before the update she'd roll all the time.  You're likely being far too aggressive with your controls, where in the lighter helicopters this isn't punishing because they weigh far less and their center of gravity is different.  The Apache is a flying brick.  Treat her with respect and be very delicate with the controls.  Also, what helped me the most was learning to turn without using the tail rotor.  She doesn't like you touching the tail rotor much over about 60 - 70 knots.  Turn her like a plane, except raise the nose above the horizon before pulling harder.

 


Edited by Mr_Blastman
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On 6/23/2023 at 5:26 PM, Poptart said:

Which way are you tipping? The Apache need a little left cyclic and left pedal for a hover in no wind. 

Rightward tip (Need to counter with left cyclic):

 

Leftward Tip (Too much left cyclic or right pedal):

 

You nailed it, apart from the over-corrections and tip this way and that and really make things exciting for the ground crew (most of whom cower in a bunker any time they see me on the flight line) right up until it falls over.  I figured out George is actually a blow-up doll with a helmet, because no person would possibly sit up there with me flying...  Apparently the LSO from Supercarrier called and warned them about me.

6 hours ago, Mr_Blastman said:

You're likely being far too aggressive with your controls.

 

 

This.  I suspected as much, but thank you all for the confirmation.  Actually got into a dead-steady hover for a few seconds at a time before I decided to start over-correcting this weekend; about the time I get it perfect my brain turns back on and decides it wants control back.  The ground crew never left the bunker, so they were all safe.

Probably a good thing I declined the offer for Army flight school all those years ago... 

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my experience with this is

-on takeoff its usually brought on by excessively aggressive collective input

-on landing its usually brought on by lateral velocity

rolling landings have been much safer for me, even if its only 2kts of forward speed. while its not prescribed, using a hud mode that displays the flight path indicator has been useful to ensure im not translating as im touching down

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Each helicopter in DCS requires a lot of training until it stops to feel "too hard to fly". Everytime I learn a new chopper in DCS, I can't help to wonder if this is a bug, and everytime it becomes natural after a dozen flight hours. Landing the 64 is indeed one of the specific hard point for this chopper (at least for me) because I feel the front landing gear is too narrow and it wants to flip all the time. But I am getting much better at it recently: very careful approach, making sure I am well trimmed in stationary, coming down reaaaaaally slow, counting the feet left beneath me. 

Of course, if you want to fly something easy, you can always fly any DCS fixed wing.... 😛 

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4 minutes ago, BaD CrC said:

Everytime I learn a new chopper in DCS, I can't help to wonder if this is a bug

Totally bugged!  I really wish DCS would issue a patch for a meatware actuating the stick, because it needs a patch badly! 

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PEDALS!

For Fu%ks sake balance your pedals!

Hold the centre sill level to horizon as the collective increases!

HP G2 Reverb, Windows 10 VR settings: IPD is 64.5mm, High image quality, G2 reset to 60Hz refresh rate. OpenXR, Open XR tool kit disabled.

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.

Vaicom user. Virpil Mongoose base CM3 & Mongoose stick CM2 (not set for dead stick), Virpil TCS with apache Grip. MFG pedals with damper upgrade. Total controls Apache MPDs set to virtual Reality height. Simshaker Jet Pro vibration seat.. Uses data from DCS not sound.

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Tipping typically comes from people not managing their pedals properly when pulling collective.  The wheels have suspension and as you pull collective it loads the suspension on one side or the other when the ball is not in trim, looks like the chopper is rolling, and will tip from static friction in the wheels.  You need to counter this with pedal movements.  First to the right in the early part of the collective pull (from Zero), and then move over to the left pedal as the collective nears a hover check.  You also need to add a little left stick at the hover check, but then remove it after lifting off, that part may or may not be a bug, the SMEs don't all agree on the physics here.  

Another fix to illustrate the point is to turn off both the parking brake and the wheel lock, and then instead of loading the suspension and rolling the chopper, the apache will just spin in place.  This is actually good training for hover lifts if you use the pedals to keep the unlocked wheels from rolling by countering the torque with tail rotor.

Or if you're feeling lazy, you could just yank up the collective, skip the hover check, and wobble a bit at lift off.  That works too, but it's uglier and you may get an RPM warning. 


Edited by Syndrome
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Hrm.  So now I've got people saying cyclic, and people saying pedals.  Maybe I should have joined the Army after all. 

Anyone want to vote for the collective?  🙂

Whatever I'm doing it's getting better.  Slowly.  Had some good landings (I could limp away with only a few broken ribs and a herniated disc or two) but no great landings, where the aircraft could be reused.  George?  Better if we don't talk about George.

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1 hour ago, Floyd1212 said:

It’s almost like the inputs from the cyclic, collective, and pedals, all relate to each other, and always need to be adjusted as a cohesive system.

And that’s what we call “flying a helicopter”. 🙂

Wait, what?  But...that would make flying helicopters...hard!  I remember Choplifter, so that can't be right!  🙃

The fix, and I really appreciated all the input, is being gentler with...everything.  Oh, and patience.  Casmo was also right that helos are a lot harder to fly.  As much as I gave a couple 'future rotorheads' grief back in the day I'm really starting to enjoy them.  When I can land consistently I'll enjoy them more...the most recent attempt is immortalized as a background screen titled "Apache Flambe".

Back to training!

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Curves can help when you're starting out.  They can however exacerbate any input lag you may have. They also create a non linear response to inputs which kinda messes with muscle memory. 

I have gradually reduced my curves to zero, and now I have far less wobbles, no PIOs, and the axes all move and respond in predictable linear ways. 

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3 minutes ago, Syndrome said:

Curves can help when you're starting out.  They can however exacerbate any input lag you may have. They also create a non linear response to inputs which kinda messes with muscle memory. 

I have gradually reduced my curves to zero, and now I have far less wobbles, no PIOs, and the axes all move and respond in predictable linear ways. 

Good to know, and maybe that's part of my problem with a few other things, many of which are helicopter related.  I'll dial down those curves and see if it that helps, or at least if I can learn a new set of skills before the old ones set.

Thanks!

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12 hours ago, Syndrome said:

Curves can help when you're starting out.  They can however exacerbate any input lag you may have. They also create a non linear response to inputs which kinda messes with muscle memory. 

 

I doubt that curves on the input axis' create any noticable input lag. If so, it is far below my perception treshold. (Edit: Come to think about it. Smoothing the raw input data by applying some kind of moving average would introduce a (very small) amount of input lag - but that is done on a system level by the windows drivers probably; The input curves just apply an offset or an factor to the input. That is, what, half a dozend instruction cycles? Measured in nano seconds. So no - no input lag is added by the curves).

Anyhow - there are different methods of tinkering with the input curves. Linear and non-linear, and they only mess up your muscle memory, if you change them all the time. How can they mess up your muscle memory if you apply them once and then leave them alone?

They are meant to allow for all different kinds of different input hardware. Long throw, short throw, strong springs, soft springs, no springs....and so on. It is/was a brilliant move of whoever came up with the idea to implement such an interface in this kind of software.

I think to encourage people to not to make use of those possibilities is bad advise.


Edited by Hiob
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"Muß ich denn jedes Mal, wenn ich sauge oder saugblase den Schlauchstecker in die Schlauchnut schieben?"

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Well, I cut the curves from 20 to 10 in some FixedWingAircraftThatShallNotBeNamed.  AAR and formation were no easier or harder.  I'll probably cut the curves in the -64 just to see what happens.  I have seen a few references to increasing curves to help with over-correcting, and maybe it worked.  I still over-correct, but I can correct the over correction eventually.

Another interesting input topic is springs; Casmo mentioned he uses stiff springs, mine are very soft.  They'll get the stick back to center without being pushy about it, and in fact I went to soft springs for helos, because at the time I didn't know what force trim was and I've gotten used to them.

Speaking of force trim, sometimes that really takes me for a ride!  I'm probably doing that wrong, too...

It's about time to get back into the AH-64.  Transitions were really, really bad when I took the break.  From 'getting there' to 'there'; vertical and horizontal oscillation enough to make squid sick, all of which has to be a meatware bug and I'm not patient enough for DCS to fix it.  Eventually I'm going to have to add a helo formation trainer to (one of) my grant canonical training missions.  That should be embarrassing.

 

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35 minutes ago, Raisuli said:

Well, I cut the curves from 20 to 10 in some FixedWingAircraftThatShallNotBeNamed.  AAR and formation were no easier or harder.  I'll probably cut the curves in the -64 just to see what happens.  I have seen a few references to increasing curves to help with over-correcting, and maybe it worked.  I still over-correct, but I can correct the over correction eventually.

Another interesting input topic is springs; Casmo mentioned he uses stiff springs, mine are very soft.  They'll get the stick back to center without being pushy about it, and in fact I went to soft springs for helos, because at the time I didn't know what force trim was and I've gotten used to them.

Speaking of force trim, sometimes that really takes me for a ride!  I'm probably doing that wrong, too...

It's about time to get back into the AH-64.  Transitions were really, really bad when I took the break.  From 'getting there' to 'there'; vertical and horizontal oscillation enough to make squid sick, all of which has to be a meatware bug and I'm not patient enough for DCS to fix it.  Eventually I'm going to have to add a helo formation trainer to (one of) my grant canonical training missions.  That should be embarrassing.

 

Especially in Helicopters - try to lower the Y-saturation instead of applying a curve or do a mixture of both to eliminate the steep reaction towards the maximum deflection.

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"Muß ich denn jedes Mal, wenn ich sauge oder saugblase den Schlauchstecker in die Schlauchnut schieben?"

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On 6/27/2023 at 6:22 PM, Raisuli said:

Wait, what?  But...that would make flying helicopters...hard!  I remember Choplifter, so that can't be right!  🙃

The fix, and I really appreciated all the input, is being gentler with...everything.  Oh, and patience.  Casmo was also right that helos are a lot harder to fly.  As much as I gave a couple 'future rotorheads' grief back in the day I'm really starting to enjoy them.  When I can land consistently I'll enjoy them more...the most recent attempt is immortalized as a background screen titled "Apache Flambe".

Back to training!

Choplifter was/is the best helo sim EVER! 🙂

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@Raisuli
In a perfect SIM world, you'd have a joystick with magnetic brakes, (could be Force Feedback), collective and non-centering pedals. NO CURVES!
Can't remember what you have, but a stick with an extension, NO CURVES, that's OOB non-centering or modded with rubber bands or RC dampers.
No matter the above, keep the trim button pressed when moving the stick.
If you have the Ka-50, have a go in it first, as it's easier, but sort of similar.

Cheers!

Sent from my MAR-LX1A using Tapatalk

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