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Thread: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

  1. Default Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    I'm a helicopter pilot and swear by fs 2004/2002 for IFR practice and precision skills development.
    The helicopters in the microsoft flight sim line always seemed to have been the least developed of the aircraft... I was impressed with the r22 beta of 04' in that it took things like ETL into account, but the rotorcraft equivalent of a "stall" or "vortex ring state" isn't there...
    But the one major disaster in fs regarding helicopters is that you can't autorotate!!! The jetranger has a sort of autorotation kludge built into it, but all you have to do is lower the collective and you're set... I've found that you can actually continue flying indefinitely with the engine failed if you're careful! And the r22? forget it! If you fail the engine, the rpms just fall away with it... The most important part of an autorotation is RPM control, and you simply don't have that in the sim.
    Torque is VERY poorly simulated as well. You can fly the jetranger all day at any power setting and not have to compensate for the change in engine output... If you modify the .air file of the r22, it becomes possible to add a torque-like quality to the helicopter, but it is based on collective percentage, not engine power, so you can't practice controlling you're yaw in the event of a tailrotor failure...

    I think helicopters deserve a massive overhaul in FSX... Please!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Shelton, WA, U.S.A..

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    The above post could not have been worded in any better way.

    I wholeheartedly agree. But, have you ever tried the DoDoSim Bell JetRanger add-on? It has a revised visual model courtesy of Owen Hewitt's Bell JetRanger freeware package and several months of nonstop custom gauge programming. I haven't bought it yet, but I hear that it's "as real as it gets" when you take into account that real-world Bell 206 pilots actually worked on the development of the DoDoSim JetRanger.

    I do agree, though, that proper helicopter flight dynamics have been sorely lacking in Flight Simulator. It seems as if the helicopter has been considered the "ba$tard stepchild" of aviation by the Flight Simulator software developers, both by the fact that by default, Flight Simulator only has two default helicopters and that the default Jetranger wasn't very realistic on a visual level (read - virtual cockpit). There needs to be more attention paid to helicopters, as they are just as vital and as significant to the aviation industry as the fixed-wing planks are.


    Kilo-Sierra-Hotel-November. This is November-Six-Three-Six-Echo-Sierra, aircraft type Bravo-Zero-Six, making final approach to helipad landing area.

  3. #3

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    Interesting post...I hope you both did see that a lot of the new screenshots contained helicopters....maybe we will see a better heli platform this time around!

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    Autos are completely unrealistic as you mention.

    Also lets have induced flow affecting RRPM, inflow roll, tail rotor roll and flapback. There's always hoping!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Abbotsford, BC, Canada.

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    Frankly, it's a wonder that the helicopter was continued beyond FS2000 considering the bashing it took in FS98 and FS2000. People expected it to be easy to control based on what they'd seen in movies, TV & real life, not knowing they were watching an experienced helicopter pilot who spent the first 17-19 hrs just learning to hover. The experts condemned it as being unrealistic because it was impossible (for them) to fly. There was no "dumb down" slider in FS98.

    When FS2000 came out, the so-called "realism" (general) slider could be "lowered" which effectively increases the Moments-of-Inertia which, in their eyes, made it more "stable" (which it doesn't). This did reduce the bashing but it still continues to this day - the enigma will probably never disappear completely.

    Only a tiny percentage of serious simmers fly the helicopter and of those, an even smaller number have taken the time and trouble to learn to control it realistically. Most are satisfied to fly it like STOL with crash detection off. They don't know what they're missing!!!

    It only makes marketing sense that MS is devoting their time to meeting the demands of the majority of users who are calmouring for more eye candy. The "big iron" rules the FS skies. I was really surprised they brought out the R-22.

    No one would like to see improvements in the helicopter flight model more than I but they don't include vortex ring state or some of the other hair-splitting helicopter aerodynamic characteristics. The basic flight model needs to be fixed first - torque reaction is the main one, but there are several others. That would be a big improvement.

    I'm looking forward to FSX like everyone else but after 3 successive FS versions where the helicopter flight model has changed very little, I don't have much hope for much change.

    Cal (CYXX)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Durham, England.

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    Oh great!!!

    After spending about a million hours learning to hover in fs9, (which I can just about do providing I don't breath or blink) I discover it's not realistic!!!!
    And yes the slider is set to easy - I'd have set it to easy peasy kiddies only - if there was one.

    Does anyone know if the existing fs9 models can simulate collective pitch instead of increasing/decreasing power?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Shelton, WA, U.S.A..

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    The last time I ever read something about the flight dynamics of the default Bell JetRanger for Flight Simulator 98, the article had summed it up that the experience of flying the Jetranger was pretty close to realistic. It'd be interesting to see your sources.

    There is a substantial jump in realism settings for the default JetRanger in FS '98 onto FS '04 by a wide margin. They don't perform the same under the exact same "realism" settings. I've tested this.

    There are indeed some inaccuracies of the flight dynamics, but a large percentage of those has been rectified by the DoDoSim Bell JetRanger payware add-on.


    Kilo-Sierra-Hotel-November. This is November-Six-Three-Six-Echo-Sierra, aircraft type Bravo-Zero-Six, making final approach to helipad landing area.

  8. #8

    Default RE: Autorotations and torque for helicopters in FSX?

    Going a little bit off topic, but trying to stay alongside it.......

    In order for MS to do this would be a major feat.

    Consider, Each blade throught its arc generates variable lift dependent on whether it's moving forward / backward in relation to the direction of travel. For full autorotation to be simulated the mathematics of working out airflow over the blades would be "staggering"

    Taken to the other end of the spectrum. At higher airspeeds that some of the newer heli's reach its not impossible to get into the realm of retreating blade stall. Perhaps MS could look into modeling that also.

    Would MS really put that much development time into the product for us hard core rotary wings fans ?

    Here's hoping

    Ian H

  9. Default

    I agree, You can autorotate the Bell 206B Jetranger (set the throttle to idle and cut-off the red fuel switch on the right-side of the instrument panel).To make a safe landing:
    1) Confirm the engine faillure.
    2)Pitch the nose down - 20 ° and keep the indicated airspeed above 80 knots.
    3)Look for a landing spot : you need something that looks like a runway because you gonna land like a fixed-wing aircraft. Prefer a real runway or higway above a grass field.
    4) Stay calm! You need to flare at the last possible moment. And hope for the best...
    5)Flare! Slow the helicopter down like a fixed wing aircraft (nose up position). Land with a vertical speed above 500 feet/a minute or you will chrash. Pull the nose up while you land or you will make a nose dive into the grass or tarmac.

    This needs some pratice.

  10. #10


    I'm not a chopper nut and know zilch about autorotate, but it might be worth juggling the 4 FSX Flight Model realism sliders (top left) in this pic to see if they affect chopper handling-

    I also ran a keyword 'Autorotate' forum search and it threw up these threads going back over the years, some guys swear they can autorotate, but double-check whether they're talking about FSX or FS9 or earlier versions-
    Last edited by ScatterbrainKid; 09-12-2015 at 06:14 AM.

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