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Pre-recorded flights

Helicopter flying is completely different from flying a fixed-wing aircraft and thus requires different skills.

Pre-recorded flights

Postby danividanivi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:09 am

Hello,

I am new to FlightGear and working in a project to connect it with an external software.
I had success in the connection part, but now I need to flight an helicopter and it is really difficult (specially without a joystick).

Could anyone provide me with pre-recorded helicopter flights?
Any flight would be appreciated, but ideally I want a slow speed and short one, take off, go to a couple of waypoints and come back home.
(The idea is to replicate it later with a multicopter in Gazebo).

Thank you very much for your help and for creating such an amazing simulator.
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby Clive2670 » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:25 pm

Well may I say welcome to the world of Flightgear, I hope you find it as enjoyable as I have for the past few years! Have you thought about looking at Youtube, as there are several users on there that put up videos, also there are Flightgear dedicated channels as well. This may help you in your quest to help with your flying!
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby wlbragg » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:20 pm

Hi danividanivi and welcome,

Actually it is not difficult to fly some (at least one that I know of) helicopters without a joystick.
Try the AirCrane in fgaddon. I have been flying it with only a mouse and it is actually easy once you practice for a short period of time.

Hints would be to turn down the sensitivity, use power sparingly and minimal or subtle mouse control.

I have a few videos on YouTube, they are all controlling it via a mouse. Some demonstrate some fairly delicate maneuvering such as docking sections of tower pieces together.
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby Hooray » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:57 pm

Besides, the general autopilot works just fine for most helicopters - you only need to understand what it is doing and how it works - i.e. obviously, you cannot expect the general AP to fly helicopter specific maneuvers. But other than that, once the helicopter has taken off, you can normally change altitude/heading etc just fine.

That being said, it might be a nice little project to come up with a generic autopilot specifically for helicopters - or even just generalize the existing AP to make the output properties configurable via the UI, too - that way you could hook up those PID controllers to arbitrary aircraft/spacecraft
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby wlbragg » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:17 pm

Hooray is correct in the case of the AirCrane the default autopilot has some functionality that works reasonably well. The Amelia autopilot helper was designed specifically for the Alouette-III and you could use it to help achieve your flight using that helicopter.
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby danividanivi » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:23 pm

Thank you for your answers.
I see that many tutorials are available in Youtube, and the Aircrane looks like one of the easiest helicopters to control.
However, I am having trouble doing so. After I start the engines, it starts turning even with the wheels on the ground. When I go upper it turns like crazy. Could this be the bug described here? https://forum.flightgear.org/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=29788&p=288468&hilit=friction+bug#p288468

EDIT: It starts turning even with the engine off
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby wlbragg » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:52 pm

I suppose it could be that issue discussed in the other thread. I have noticed a "slight" tendency to spin right but I am usually able to compensate with the tail rotor [Ins] and [Enter]. I've also noticed the drifting when no power is on and assumed it was wind pushing it. My thinking about that was the ground friction is not set perfectly or there are underlying issues with the FDM. I don't think the copter should move at all in any wind other than a very strong one while parked on the ground. I don't think I ever noticed it spin with no power on.

I guess I mostly tune this behavior out of my mind but it isn't an accurate depiction at all, not while fully rested on the ground. Eventually, maybe I'll take a look at it and see if there is a fix as I don't care for effect either.

In the mean time you can try to adjust with the [Ins] and [Enter] keys.

Does the Alouette-III do this? If not try it and use Amelia (autopilot) to help get you started and in the air.
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby Thorsten » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:24 pm

Does the Alouette-III do this?


Depends on whether you engage brakes or not - the Alouette-III actually has wheels, so you can taxi it and take off rolling if you know the motions.

But yeah - your problem is what Amelia is for - she's an animated helicopter-specific autopilot who can take off, land, hover and move in hover flight - just ask her to take off and get you as high as she'll go, then to go forward and then take over - this will be the easiest transition. Once you know what to expect, you can take over lower and even in hover.
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Re: Pre-recorded flights

Postby Hooray » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:59 pm

how does that work, i.e. is this actually being animated in the sense that her limbs (feet/hands) are attached to the controls to mirror the PID controller outputs (I do realize that this would be simplistic, I think you once mentioned "inverse kinematics" in that context?)

Simply put, a set of PID controllers may not directly use the controls, but rather control the corresponding joints - even though the complexity is probably becoming huge quickly, you said, you had solved that for the shuttle ?
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