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How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

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

How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby xen_steda » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:28 pm

Hello, I recently installed the Robinson R22 beta version and attempted to take it for a test flight. I am using a keyboard+mouse and Microsoft SideWinder Precision 2 Joystick. Every time I try to launch the R22, it spins out of control and I crash.

Could anyone explain in simple terms how to fly the helicopters with my setup?

Also, I will gladly take recommendations for a proper beginner helicopter if the R22 is not the best.

Thank you!
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby StuartC » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:32 pm

Technically the R22 is a beginners Helicopter because its difficult. The Real one is a little twitchy pig.
Easier to fly than the R22, mostly all of them, except the BO105 at the mement.
Good selection of choppers here:-
http://www.fguk.me/hangar/rotary/catego ... otary-wing

Easiest ones would be, EC145, BK117, Lynx HMA8, Bell 430, Hughes 500E, S76C++

That should be enough to get you started.

A little tip I always tell people is Press 5 on the Keyboard to ensure all the trims are neutral before you start.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby xen_steda » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:26 am

It just tips over after I let it idle up for a few seconds. Is it not viable with a joystick, m+kb setup?
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby Thorsten » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:11 am

Well, first of all you need to control the spin via the rudder input (not sure how your setup does that) and you need to be aware that the liftoff position of the stick is definitely far from neutral - you need to determine the required position when the helicopter is on the verge of lifting and just starts to skid in small steps - the position where it doesn't skid in any direction is the one you want.

For most helicopters (especially the R22) this is rather difficult and needs lots of practice to get right, so it's not surprising that you lose control, it's normal.

Could anyone explain in simple terms how to fly the helicopters with my setup?


No, because it's actually complicated, both conceptually and from the required hand-eye coordination, so it can't be put simply, but you will find a good guide in the wiki.

Anyway, the Alouette-III has a working co-pilot who can take off and land for you and you can take the controls in air (which also needs some practice, but is arguably easier than doing it yourself - that's intended so that you can get some feeling for how a helicopter feels in flight and with that knowledge come back to learn to take off.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby StuartC » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:45 am

Remember if your stick setup has a throttle, it will operating in the opposite direction for a helicopter. What would be full power in an fixed wing will be Zero collective in a chopper.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby Timi » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:29 pm

Microsoft SideWinder Precision 2 Joystick seems to have a twist control on
the handle. So I recommend you control the pedals with that. And use the
throttle on the left side of the stick for collective.

And to take off you would _very_ carefully pull the throttle towards
yourself and this eventually will start yawing the chopper to either left
or right depending on the direction the rotor is turning. This turning
tendency is caused by the torque force of the rotor system.

You counter this turning tendency with the twist grip at the same time you
are pulling the throttle to keep the nose to the direction you intend to
go. Then when the skids are getting light and you are starting to lift off,
then also _very_ carefully push the stick forward to gain forward speed.

The movements are really subtle. Real helicopters are controlled with
fingertips and the movements are small like the stick is rotating around
a coin.

Your stick has all the needed controls so I wouldn't use the mouse for
anything.
Last edited by Timi on Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby xen_steda » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:47 pm

@Timi, thanks for the advice, I will try to do it the way you describe.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby Timi » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:54 pm

Oh and another thing. It's important to have enough peripheral vision. The
wider your view is the more peripheral vision you have for orienting the
helicopter. So I usually set the field of view to 90 degrees. I've found
that this is the widest view I can have without too much distortion on a
16:9 aspect ratio display. I've tested 120 degrees on a wider curved
screen as well and it works fine with those.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby xen_steda » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:56 pm

Well your directions were amazingly well put and I can now fly the R22 reasonably well, not so much landing buuuuut.

Thank you very much!

I keep exceeding my maximum speed tolerance, how do I slow down without losing altitude by adjusting the throttle?
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby Timi » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:16 pm

Yes, as you accelerate in a helicopter the rotor system starts working more
like a fixed wing and produces more lift at a higher speed and thus requires
less power than in a hover.

The opposite is true when you slow down so you need to compensate with
more power when coming in for a landing.
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Re: How to fly Helicopter with Joystick?

Postby Timi » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:33 pm

And you generally slow down by raising the nose up a bit. But at a high speed
this also gains more altitude so you need to adjust the throttle so you will
not gain altitude if you just wish to slow down. But below about 30 knots you
will start losing lift too and it's generally below this speed that is known
as the effective translational lift speed that you need more power to hold
the same altitude.
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