New To Site and seeking guidance on my simulator plan

Hi. I am new to helicopter sims and looking to build a Simulator setup. Sorry if this is a little long but I want to be clear in my asks. I need a new hobby as I am now to old to race and crash motorcycles as the last one almost did me in, but still need something fun to do. I was planning on getting a helicopter pilot license but there doesn’t seem to be many options when you become a pilot to fly unless you own your own helicopter and that seems a bit too expensive but who knows one day.

Right now I want to build a very realistic simulator that will give me the best experience within the realms of being a hobby. I want the flying dynamics to be accurate. After reading, reading and more reading and watching countless videos, I have come up with what I think will meet my needs.

I know I want to go the VR route and I am waiting for the HP Reverb G2 to come out as it appears to be one of the best for resolution and FOV.

I will be building a dedicated PC for this most likely using the new Nvidia 3080 video card to hopefully be able to push the graphics to full setting.

For Hardware I figure if I’m using VR and not going to invest in realistic consoles I could spend money on the Pro Flight Trainer Puma PAS.
Pro Flight Trainer Puma PAS

That brings around my first question. The main helicopter I want to fly is the Bell UH-1 but I don’t know what others I might want to fly in the future. I have always loved the UH-1 from when I was first exposed to it many years ago in ROTC in high school as my teacher was a 1st Cav Medivac pilot in Vietnam and then later in ROTC I got to sit in the open door of a real UH-1 flying around a military base. Anyway, I understand that many helicopters don’t use the twist throttle on the collective so is it worth spending the extra for the Puma that has this setup? I’m thinking it’s better to have it and not use it than one day it have a use and not have it. Plus the buttons are a big advantage. I have search and searched and just can’t come up with anything better that is this complete but if you know of any options, please share.

Last item that is still just a consideration is a motion platform. I think I could always add that and it would be about as much as everything else combined so not something I would out the gate, but is it something to consider in the future? If you have it, worth it?

Last question and most important. With what I’m looking for and what I’m looking to invest, what would be the best simulator software that would give me real flying dynamics and physics, have some interesting things to do and give me options for other helicopters that I might want to fly? I know Xplane and DCS get mentioned repeatedly for the UH-1. Not sure if Microsoft Simulator 2020 will have this.

Oh, and also any advice on my plan would be welcome. Lesson’s learned, etc.

Thank You!

Hi there and welcome to the forums.

Well, first of all let me congratulate you: you have done an amazing amount of research and it shows. You pretty much hit the nail in everything you mentioned. I know you are seeking for validation of all that, so I will do just that.

I believe you have made the right choices. The G2 is a good headset (I haven’t used one myself but I read good things about it). That’s a thumbs up.

The Pro Flight Trainer Puma is an AMAZING kit. I have one and I love it. A lot of helicopters still use the throttle. Even if they didn’t, you want to fly the Huey! And the Huey does have a throttle! How can you do proper startups and autorotations without a throttle? You will need it! MAJOR thumbs up.

About the software, you are right once again. I use several sims (FSX, P3D, MSFS, X-Plane, DCS, Aerofly FS2, ARMA 3 and I have other sims installed that I rarely use such as FlightGear and FlyInside. So, I have tried them all. DCS and X-Plane are the ones I tend to orbit the most and both have great Hueys. Which one to choose, though? That depends. Do you want to be able to fly around the world? X-Plane will be your sim of choice.

Are you OK with only flying in certain parts of the world (DCS comes with 1 free map but you need to buy other maps such as Nevada, Persian Gulf, etc.) but you want to blow stuff up? DCS is your choice.

Do you want to have fun and do both? Go the extra mile and get both. X-Plane will set you back $60 and the Nimbus Huey $40. DCS is free but the Huey costs $50. So, we’re talking of a $150 investment. But it’s worth it. Two thumbs up here.

You will be on cloud nine with such a setup. Let me give you a piece of advice, though: if you are new to VR, do not start flying helicopters right away with VR. You need to get used to it and grow your “VR-legs” first.

Flying helicopters is hard and you will roll over and crash a lot. Which will cause you to feel sick and throw up. Motion sickness is a real thing in VR. Here are my tips to fight motion sickess: https://www.helisimmer.com/articles/5-tips-fight-motion-sickness-vr

One last thing: did you ask to join the Helicopter Flight Simulation group? As you didn’t answer our questions, I have not accepted your request, but please do so again and I will let you in.

I hope I managed to help. Please feel free to ask away if there’s anything else I can help with! Let’s get you up and running! Or flying. Or hovering. Whatever works for you!

Edit: forgot to address motion platforms. They are fun but they are really expensive, and they can’t simulate all types of motion. The VR Motion platform I tried was being developed with specialists to fool the inner-ear and you could even “feel” like you were doing barrel rolls. But no other platform I know of does that. I would personally not invest on it (it IS a lot of money) but I know of other simmers that have and they like it.

Sergio,

Thank you for the reply. Yes, you answered everything beautifully and gave me thought for some additional considerations.

I had some trouble signing up so I don’t recall the questions you mentioned. I said to use my Google Account and when I submitted it just clocked forever. I tried again and it said my requested name was in use and did I want to Login. I hit the login button and here I am. Lol. Yes. I would love be part of the group. How do I get back to the questions?

I had the same thoughts on the motion which is why it isn’t a serious part of my plan but felt it a good place to ask and now can put that to rest.

So the suggestion of buying both is a good idea. I was hesitant because I heard DCS has a huge learning curve so if one was clearly better, I would want to put my time into that. Ideally I don’t think what I want exists. I would love a sim that had combat but more Vietnam era based when you could fly in and pick up wounded or jump in a Huey Cobra and take out bridges. I know DCS has combat but it is more focused on current maps and times. I would also like to jump in and fly around the city where I live. I think Microsoft Simulator is good for that but not an option at this time.

I’m pretty good with VR. My daughter and I have a Playstation VR setup so I don’t suffer from motion sickness too much. I know the difficulty in flying helicopters from the perspective of flying an Align T-Rex 450 Pro. Not sure how it translates to being inside the sim vs doing it from outside with a Radio controller. I’m thinking is some aspects it might be easier as I know when I started with RC, it took me a week to be able to hover, then another two weeks to hover in all four orientations, lol. For fun, I attached a video of my flying it on RealFlight Simulator.

RealFlight Simulator Align 450

The new HP Reverb G2 isn’t out yet but people that got their hands on the pre-release model had nothing but great things to say but unless you have a beefy video card, it will only run in half resolution instead of 4K.

Thanks again for the help and hopefully you can add a bit more based on some of my comments in this post.

Hello there!

Unfortunately, the Vietnam-era sim that you wish for is something we don’t have right now in the market (we would all love to, though). For combat DCS is, definitely, the best (and pretty much the only) option but the learning curve has to do with the fact that systems are very well modelled so, if you want to learn everything, you’ll have to invest some time in it.

But this doesn’t mean you can’t grab a Huey with the engines on waiting for you on the runway and just take her for a spin. You can make DCS as simple or as hard as you can. Those folks that say that you will need months to use it are over-selling it. If you want to master all systems of, let’s say, the F-18, yes, you’ll have a few weeks of practicing and reading to do. If you want to do some aerobatics with the F-18, you can just take off from a runway and do that. Honestly, we don’t need more than the throttle, stick, pedals and be able to retract and extend the landing gear, right?

Of course, if you want to do a full startup and learn the ropes, you’ll need a bit more of time.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is really not an option for helicopters at the moment. I would stick with DCS and X-Plane for now.

If you’re experienced with VR, great! You’re probably ready to take it to the next step. Flying a virtual helicopter from inside the cockpit is quite different but you already know what’s happening with it, the physics involved, etc., so you just need to get into the sim and get used to it. Build muscle memory and practice and you’ll be all right!

I really think you’ll be all set and have a blast. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

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Wait for a Steam sale, X-Plane and the DCS helicopter modules will likely be discounted in it. The default DCS map is plenty big enough in a craft whose top speed is 100 knots though so don’t waste money on maps until you know you’re sticking with it.

The DCS Huey needs a couple of hours of your time to learn to start from cold, and it’s very forgiving of new pilots. But if you want to blow stuff up, the Ka-50 is by far the best option.

Apart from a 10-minute rip on Komodo’s display at RAF Cosford I haven’t used any dedicated helo controls & my HOTAS is aimed at DCS fixed-wing. But I exclusively fly helos in X-plane & have no problems controlling them that aren’t of my own making :slight_smile:

I am also new to swimming and in exactly the same position planning to build a very good setup. I have read all the threads and appreciate all the comments. My plans are somewhat delayed with difficulty getting the nvidia card in UK and not all the flight controls are available so I’m probably looking at early next year to be able to put it all together.
My question is should I wait even further for Microsoft or will the helicopter promise drag on forever. The world detail flight is my top priority.

We have no idea when Microsoft is adding helicopters to the sim. I would probably go with X-Plane right now. It’s not a huge investment anyway, unless you start buying lots and lots of addons.

I keep my installation quite simple. I have the scenery for the areas I usually fly at and perhaps a couple of other plugins to do missions, etc. but that’s pretty much it. I don’t like to bloat the sim. 99.9% of issues with X-Plane come from problems with plugins, not the sim itself.