Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

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Thirith
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Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Thirith » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:56 am

Here's hoping there isn't such a thread already; I did a search, but I don't know how good the forums' search function is.

How many of you are fans of the Arma helicopter gameplay? I'm not a particularly good pilot, but I enjoy flying around and am hoping to improve with practice. Yesterday I spent about an hour watching dslyexci's Art of Flying videos, which gave me a couple of ideas (and made me wonder, briefly, whether it's worth getting rudder pedals - at which point I realised that a) I'm not really into flight simulators otherwise and b) I have a history of getting very interested in something only to drop it a month later).

So far I've been flying with an Xbox360 gamepad, but since I'm crap at targetting and pretty bad at landing without the auto-hover cheat option I thought I'd give dslyexci's setup (KB+M, although I wouldn't have the rudder pedals) a go. After all, the guy pretty much seems a flying wizard with those controls.

What are your preferences when it comes to controlling helicopters? What are your favourite missions and your favourite environments? Are there any helicopter-heavy user missions you can recommend, either because they make for good practice or they're great fun?


P.S.: I'm thinking of downloading CAA1 so I can also fly around Sahrani. Any other downloadable environments people can recommend for piloting practice?
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango

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Nothun
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Nothun » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:42 am

Hi Thirith,

Well, Arma Helo's are pretty fun to fly.... Once you get the hang of it! :o
And no, one does not need rudder padels to fully control a Helo in Arma.
Thirith wrote:Here's hoping there isn't such a thread already
Well there is :cop: : www.folkarps.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=877

And to get some Practice in Arma 3, here's a thread where you can find some Helo Practice Missions.

www.folkarps.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=965

Enjoy!
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Thirith
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Thirith » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:32 am

Thanks, and my apologies for not finding that other thread. (I probably looked in "ArmA 2: Discussion" only.) Good to hear that rudder pedals aren't an absolute must - although if I end up putting dozens of hours of practice and enjoying it, perhaps I'll end up getting them after all.

At the moment I'm doing most of my practicing in Arma 2 rather than Arma 3, since it runs better. Are the flight models very different? Are there major advantages to practising mainly in A3?
Last edited by Thirith on Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango

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Kefirz
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Kefirz » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:38 am

I like to fly with my joystick, it has 3 controllable axis (Roll, Pitch, Yaw) a throttle control and a small knob to quickly control point of view. And the most important part of it.. it's quite cheap and very reliable, I have it for about 4 years now and everything works like it is brand new.

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Extreme- ... o+joystick

P.S KB+M setup has ''pedals'' also... I think it is X and C to control the yaw, but I think you should better check it out in settings for yourself
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Thirith
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Thirith » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:45 am

P.S KB+M setup has ''pedals'' also... I think it is X and C to control the yaw, but I think you should better check it out in settings for yourself.
Oh, absolutely - it's more that in dslyexci's Art of Flying videos he made the point that controlling rudders with the keyboard can be pretty inexact. Most likely it's a case of him being so good at piloting that having the most precise controls makes a huge difference, whereas with a beginner like myself it doesn't.
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango

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head
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by head » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:09 pm

I fly with keyboard only.

It's abit shaky but it allows me to observe the other place without having trackir.

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Nothun
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Nothun » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:48 pm

Thirith wrote:At the moment I'm doing most of my practicing in <i>Arma 2</i> rather than <i>Arma 3</i>, since it runs better. Are the flight models very different? Are there major advantages to practising mainly in <i>A3</i>?
Well, the flight model in terms of how to control the Helo's is the same, the behaviour too. However, those are different Helo's and some reaction to your controls are different, but in general switching in between the games should be no problem.
I advise you to practice first of with the Littlebird, then the Blackhawk and go from there.

There are no advantages in practising in A3. Partly because I think Folk ARPS is not going to switch over so fast. But it is quite fun... :clint:
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by EBass » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:25 pm

You can be an excellent helicopter pilot in Arma using only a mouse and keyboard. Whilst analogue rudder pedals are certainly an advantage in flying attack choppers (particularly those where the pilot aims the weapons and there are no autolocks such as the little bird and FFAR Blackhawks), they are really just useful for precise targeting and aren't really useful on transport milkruns.

Also, if you want to be a good pilot, never use auto-hover.

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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by tryteyker » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:48 pm

Don't practice in ArmA3. Don't. Their auto rotation is bugged and I haven't seen it fixed so far, which is a major setback as you'll be wanting to practice a lot of it (it prevents death by fall 80% of the time if you know how to do it properly, but there are other factors you need to account for, obviously). Mouse and keyboard is a fine setup, and absolutely enough. You'll want TrackIR to look around, however, as it is a pain in the ass to not be able to do so during landing (I personally don't have Freetrack or TrackIR, and as such, I'm experiencing another major setback when it comes to landing in tight areas). If you don't have TrackIR, you'll have to rely on luck and being able to get talked down during session, because that's what you have to rely on. Use your gunner(s) as (a) person(s) that can talk you down safely onto the ground, inform you of any obstacles, so on so forth. During practice, you'll just have to scout the LZ well beforehand (you should do this anyway, regardless if you have TrackIR or not), find a nice approach, and then rely on goddamn luck ArmA doesn't put you into a tree all of a sudden.

When it comes to practicing in general, you'll have to find your own rhythm. I prefer practicing with ACE as the littlebird there is fantastic, but you have another factor added (Airflow) which, somewhat, prevents rapid landings. So I strongly suggest you start with vanilla Littlebirds, and only Littlebirds. You do not want to practice flying a metal bathtub (Mi-8) or the slightly more advanced version with proper guns (Blackhawk), as the CONCEPT of the helicopters is always the same. In vanilla, they control the same all the way, just that, with size comes decreased mobility (obviously). During practice, just fly around, train LZs, train low flight (20-30 m above ground, consistent, if terrain allows it), train low speed approaches (never go above 100 km/h when on approach, and maintain a reasonable altitude (20-50m above ground) during approach, so you don't get raped by the ground when you pull up to lose speed). So why'd I black the low flight thing out? Simple, you don't necessarily want to exceed altitudes of 100m unless forced to by terrain (and then you should find an alternative route), this is to prevent you from being mowed down by AA in any way, shape, or form. Low flight is an essential technique that can be done with any helicopter (Advanced low-flight: Street-level flight with a Littlebird in Paraiso, which also combines low speed approaches. This is a great training scenario coming from Dslyecxi's AoF series), and should be done.

When it comes to landing, Dslyecxi's AoF video explains it pretty well (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSd2rAcq ... wY&index=3). Train being on low altitude but high speed, then slowly descend onto speeds of 80-100 km/h on approach. Bleed all speed by doing a sideways turn and then land where you want to (only works with a Littlebird). The technique for Blackhawk+ is a little different, as you can't turn like a maniac and land. You'll want to lower your speed even further (50-70 km/h) and then, at the LZ, pull up, lose speed, and land. Make sure to maintain relatively high altitude (20-25 m above terrain level is usually enough) so you don't accidentally get your tail rotor killed. He won't like it, trust me. That plugs the engine too.

Personally, I practice a lot with ACE nowadays. The Littlebird feels a lot better, and having a combined modpack with maps such as Sahrani, Cindercity, and others, I have perfect locations to practice on. I strongly suggest, if you're relatively serious about practicing, to download these islands. Especially Sahrani, as it provides an excellent mix of locations where you'll be able to practice standard LZs, and non-standard LZs. Don't add pressure though (like adding 50 UAZs around town to shoot you on approach), as it'll quickly diminish the fun and will get you frustrated when you consistently fail. Unless ofcourse you like being shot by UAZs all day, then go ahead. Examples of LZs you could practice are standard, flat-land LZs, rooftop insertions, landing in the woods (well, that's relatively advanced), total bleed-flare LZ (fly at 160 km/h, make a sudden turn, even yourself out, land. Works in vanilla, but is harder in ACE due to airflow), and that kinda stuff. Other than that, go on with survival, as I like to call it. You set yourself out for the craziest situations (street-level flights, rotating inside a building, flying through woods) and see how long it takes for you to die. Repeat it, and you'll slowly get better.

That's it for now, can't really think about more to write down. Hope it makes some sense.

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Thirith
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Re: Helicopters: tips, controls, personal preferences

Post by Thirith » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:31 pm

Thanks a lot to everyone - some great advice there. In the meantime I've been playing around a bit with KB+M (not with the TrackIR yet, mind you), and it does control better than the gamepad, although right now it feels a bit less fluent, strangely enough.

@tryteyker: Fantastic tips, thanks! Quick question re: what you've written - is the Littlebird included in the complete Arma 2? I haven't found it in the editor, but then I've never used the editor before today. Also, the CAA1 pack should get me all of Sahrani, right? I'll also make sure to check out Cindercity.

Edit: Found the Blackbird. While I like Arma, I know next to nothing about which army has which equipment and vehicles...
"Until now we scraped along the ground like rats, but from now on, we soar. Like eagles. Yeah. LIKE EAGLES... ON... POGO STICKS." - Grim Fandango

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