A real pilot’s impressions of the AH-64D Apache for DCS

Some of you know this, and some don’t, but my day job is as an AH-64 pilot for the United States Army.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.helisimmer.com/articles/real-pilot-impressions-ah-64d-apache-dcs/

Hey Joe, first of all thanks for your write up I really enjoyed your insights and I wasn’t aware that the DCS Apache is so far off the real thing still. Me as a naive gamer would’ve thought the DCS apache is really close to the real thing :smiley:

Would you mind recommend me some good helicopters to fly in X-Plane? I have no idea which ones are modelled really well and realistic.

Thanks in advance!

Hey Joe, thanks for sharing you impressions on this DCS module. It was a very interesting read indeed. I think your conclusion on which helicopter module developers are using to test a model could be spot on. I never thought of that.
I’m curious to read ED’s response to your review and if the things that are not completely correct or lacking in the early access model planned to be fixed or updated in future updates.

Thanks again for sharing your insights.


A link to this article was posted on r/Hoggit where ED Community Manager u/bignewy commented as follows:

"Its an interesting article, and some of the feedback is good, it was an opinion piece and not data driven, but we will take the feedback on board for early access as it progresses. I do feel the author was having some control issues, transitioning from real controls to a home sim can be difficult.
The comparisons to newer versions of the AH-64 probably did not help, the avionics are different in various ways from the version we are modelling in DCS and we still have more work to do here during early access.
Flight model tweaks are still to come, roll at high speeds, having to use to much torque pedal, VRS ect. so that will be addressed in future patches.
Always good to get the feedback from real pilots and the team have all taken a look, including our own AH-64 pilots.
Thanks - Bignewy"

Hi Joe.

I think you’re spot on with the comments about VRS and the controls used during development.
For example I know for a fact that the devs of the gazelle use desktop throttle and stick. No collective.

As for VRS, the helicopters seem to have no real inertial value to the rotors. They slow down and speed up incredibly quickly depending on how much pedal you’re using. You can “fool” DCS by wiggling the tail of the UH-1 to dump power back into the engine and main rotor.

Appreciate the review and the insight into how the module differs from IRL.

I’m actually relieved to hear of YOUR difficulties with the flight model(!) because it’s been a fairly frustrating experience for me, even though I’m able to operate other DCS addons & other sim’s helos decently.

I can only hope folks don’t misconstrue your very factual comparison to mean that it’s a “bad” module (given the knee-jerk extremism commonly found in flight sim, I wouldn’t be surprised…).

In the end, all I care about is to hear a credentialed pro like you say, “Is it the best representation of an AH-64D since Janes Longbow 2? Yes! It absolutely is.”

This is quite a good article I think.

Its a shame that DCS people post dismissive stuff like “it was an opinion piece and not data driven”

I guess that is in keeping with the sort of rubbish posted on the DCS forum such as this snarky statement: “When it is 10 years old it will be were the Ka is today. Just needs more time in the oven. They call it Early Access, perhaps you’ve heard of it?”

Over a third of aircraft in DCS are early access. Everything released in the last 5 years or more is early access.

Now that is 2023 and DCS has made some improvements and fixed some of the bugs it would be interesting to read a further update of the authors opinion. Thanks for your site helisimmer.