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Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Discussion and requests for new features. Please note that FlightGear developers are volunteers and may or may not be able to consider these requests.

Would this feature be useful?

Yeah, why isn't it there already?
8
31%
Maybe, but depends on how well it could be implemented.
9
35%
No, if you don't have pedals or a twist control you'll deserve to suffer.
9
35%
 
Total votes : 26

Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby pauljs75 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:45 am

Probably not something seen typically on real models, but it'd be nice to have the feature available in-sim. I'm betting it's something every user w/o rudder pedals or a third axis control on their stick would like to have. So perhaps in the future if auto-coordinate is set to true, also have some means to automatically keep the helicopter from circling too easily during low speed approaches (and setting rudder trim via the properties browser can only do so much, not to mention it's less effective a hack than it was in 9.10.) Not to mention that 0 and enter on numpad are kinda ineffective with autocoordinate on, since any other flight corrections tends to snap the anti-torque back towards center. (But on the otherhand, autocoordinate works plenty well enough once a helo has transferred into a fairly decent forward flight.) Perhaps a modest hack that makes yaw behavior behave closer to some FPS game helos at slow speed? (Those are plenty flyable using a stick with keyboard controlling yaw.) Then that way the keyboard anti-cyclic input wouldn't be completely useless. (As of now, I can get stable enough to land, but while doing so the best accuracy I can manage is an imprecice path along a large circular arc.)
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Re: Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby moonman » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:34 pm

It's a feature on the larger helicopters such as the EH-101.

Hopefully, it can be cockpit/runtime selectable.
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Postby HHS » Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:48 pm

Hi,

we had this feature when the helicopter model has been developed - it's gone now, and I can't remember why.
Ask Maik or Melchior, if he can bring it back- but notice: on all helis, ( eccept maybe the 101) there is no such feature.
I know that the Real-EC 135 has a helping stabilisator, but you need the rudders as well.

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Postby HHS » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:03 pm

Hi again.

I had just a little discussion with Melchior and he has the same opinion:
Sorry, no.

We have the one of the most, maybe the most, realistic helicopter simulation!
Real helicopters need very fine and small inputs And a lot of work with your hands and feets - a helicopter has to be forced to fly- so in FGFS too!

Keyboard is a rather bad thing for that - FGFS is not a game or Arcade.

FGFS is developed as a real simulation, to simulate things right- so this yaw-helper isn't real.

Show some sources were this yaw-helper is decribed for the E-101- iif someone will do this heli and the real one has something- then it well be made!

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Postby Buckaroo » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:03 pm

It's taken me a while to learn enough to fly the s76c and Bo105 without smashing them into the ground. I fly with keyboard and sometimes a little mouse input near the ground and I manage to get by. Fine maneuvering is very difficult but even so I can land on top of buildings. This has taken many hours of practice and is something of an accomplishment for me. I've played game sims and the feeling of accomplishment is not the same. I would be a bit saddened to see a yaw stabilizer implemented on aircraft that don't feature it for real. It would make it easier for instant-gratification folks to manage what I did with a lot less time and learning, and I feel they would not gain as much from the experience.

So I'd vote 'No', except I don't think those without the toys should suffer-- they simply need to learn helicopter mechanics as anybody else would, whatever their means of control input. I could not object to such a feature if it was present on the real aircraft, but for those without such a stabilizer mechanism I would prefer not to see the option.
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Postby StephenDennis » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:27 am

I am all for precision and realism in the sim, and therefore agree that if the aircraft doesnt have it, then it shouldnt go in.

On the otherhand....flying the helicopter is hard, and getting the right input hardware only slightly easier. Especially right as in anywhere
near ergonomically similar.

In 'real' helicopter training the instructor can provide this service
on one or more controls. Perhaps this could provide a loop hole
for providing, at the very least, anti-torque stabilization, though
for realism, instructor pilot should be able to provide stabilization
for collective, cyclic and anti-torque.

This would be a big assist to fgfs user that want to learn to
fly the helicopter.

Perhaps a single key could switch between instructor input
and student input, so that student could have some control
over what the instructor is doing....

Or three keys (one each for collective, cyclic, anti-torque)
that provide a 'You take it' 'I have it' hand off
for each control. When 'You take it' stabilization turns on.
'I have it' puts the control back in the student pilots hand.
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Re: Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby Hooray » Fri May 23, 2008 6:32 pm

It's a good idea not to provide something like this by default, because it would result in decreasing realism.
However, some users would obviously appreciate some help to control helicopters - thus, this could be pretty elegantly
addressed without touching any helicopter at all, simply by providing a generic autopilot implementation for helicopters: the current autopilot configuration is targeted at fixed wing aircraft, however it should be possible to also provide similar functionality for rotary aircraft such as helicopters.

Comparing to the fixed wing autopilot, only certain modes might make sense - while others could be added:

    * climb/descend at constant rate
    * fly heading
    * maintain altitude/hover
    * maintain attitude

In fact, using some low level modes and a nasal script one could probably even add an auto start/land facility to the autopilot.

All this, without touching any helicopter configs
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
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Re: Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby Hooray » Sat May 24, 2008 9:53 am

Indeed, once you do some research on modern multi-crew helicopters, you'll see that most of the ones equipped for IFR flight in IMC are indeed also equipped with autopilots. This applies mostly to professional helicopter ops that have to be done regardless of bad weather or night time, i.e. for offshore activities but also USCG helicopters appear to be equipped with autopilots. Autopilots have long been known to decrease pilot workload and free resources, so that overall situational awareness is improved as pilots will mainly have to control and monitor an aircraft's autoflight system.

In FlightGear, the autopilot for fixed wing aircraft can currently easily be abused as a "teaching aid", i.e. by telling the autopilot to control certain parameters (modes) of the plane (airspeed, vertical speed, heading etc), and then allowing the user to try to control the remaining ones. In fact, this is very similar to flight training, where the instructor right from the beginning decreases the student pilot's workload by controlling most of the aircraft controls, so that the new student can familiarize himself with the aircraft, as he is confronted with more and more complexity of the aircraft, until the student eventually no longer depends on this help.
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
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Re: Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby pauljs75 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:41 pm

In light that there's no other fix I could think of, I came up with a hotkey binding for Auto-coordinate. Not sure how well it'll work, but perhaps better than nothing. (Short of getting some rudder pedals for cheap, or coming up with a dual joystick setup.) This is because auto-coordination seems good for forward flight, but makes a helicopter behave worse than an amusement park puke-o-tron when trying to slow down to a hover (which makes landing and takeoff difficult). This way it's possible to toggle AC off and then adjust the anticyclic with the keyboard. Also thanks to AndersG and cptf for their assistance in the FG chat. (Because my script-fu is pretty weak actually.)

Code: Select all
<key n="67">
   <name>C</name>
   <desc>Toggle AutoCoord</desc>
   <binding>
      <command>nasal</command>
           <script>
           var p = "/sim/auto-coordination";
           setprop(p, var i = !getprop(p));
           gui.popupTip("Auto-coord " ~ (i ? "enabled" : "disabled"));
           </script>
    </binding>
</key>


Of course you can change this if your particular helo has a cockpit visibility toggle or some other binding that uses "C". But it's just something that came to mind quickly for "auto-Coordinate".
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Re: Helicopter automatic yaw stabilizer

Postby Yasumune » Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:12 pm

I agree with not making the Sim into an arcade game. It should take some skill and expertise to operate the helis in Flight Gear so I had to vote "No" to adding stuff that makes it less realistic and easier.

I think #3 option of "No" should be changed to not be so insulting. There are more rational reason why this is not implemented other than to make people suffer. :wink:
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