Basic Rotary Wing Module
Unlike a fixed wing aircraft that must have forward airspeed over its wings to generate lift, a helicopter rotates its wings or rotor blades to generate lift while remaining stationary. This allows a helicopter to fly in any direction and also enables it to hover. Turning the rotor blades generates an enormous amount of torque which is translated into the fuselage of the aircraft, causing the aircraft to yaw opposite the direction the rotor is turning. This is counteracted by the use of a tail rotor or a coaxial, counter-rotating rotor system (as found on the KA-50).
There are 4 basic controls for all helicopters, only 3 apply to Armed Assault: Throttle, Collective, Cyclic, and Tail Rotor pedals.
- The throttle in real turbine helicopters is set to one of two settings; flight idle and fly. Flight idle is used on startup, shutdown and when waiting on the ground to conserve fuel, but this does not apply to ArmA. Fly is 100% throttle, or more accurately, it's telling the governor to achieve and maintain 100% rotor RPM speed. The governor will then adjust the throttle as needed to maintain rotor speed as the pilot makes pitch changes to the rotor system.
- The collective is located to the pilots left, by the seat and is a lever that is either pulled up or pushed down; pull pitch to climb, push pitch to descend. This does so by raising or lowering a swashplate. Pitch control rods are attached to the swashplate on one end, and a blade horn on the other, transfering control inputs from the swashplate to the rotor system. Raising and lowering the swashplate collectively changes the pitch of all rotor blades at the same time to generate more or less lift over the entire main rotor system.
- The cyclic is located between the pilots legs and is used to provide pitch and roll control. This does so by tilting the swashplate, so as the rotor turns, the pitch control rods attached to the swashplate transfer the change in blade pitch in cycles (each complete revolution is one cycle). This tilts the rotor system in the same direction the swashplate is tilted, which in turn, changes the direction of thrust.
- The tail rotor pedals control the pitch of the tail rotor blades on conventional helicopters. Increasing the tail rotors blade pitch will cause the tail to be pushed opposite the direction of T/R thrust, and decreasing pitch will allow the main rotor torque to yaw the aircraft in the other direction. On co-axial, counter-rotating rotor systems, the pedals cause one rotor system to increase pitch to increase torque in the direction that rotor is turning, and decreasing pitch on the other rotor to decrease torque in the direction the other rotor is turning. This allows the helicopter to yaw.
The flight instruments in ArmA are often unreadable or uncalibrated. Though the few that do function can be quite helpful.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full image.
KA-50 Black Shark
Forward flight is the simplest form of flight to perform in a helicopter and is achieved by tilting the rotor disk forward, pitching nose forward while controlling pitch and collective to maintain a desired altitude or climb/descent rate.
Turning a helicopter in forward flight is very similar to that of an fixed wing aircraft; just roll in the direction desired and control pitch to maintain level flight. Turning in hovering flight is achieved by using the tail rotor pedals to yaw. Roll, pitch and yaw can be combined to form a co-ordinated turn. A co-ordinated turn is a turn in which the aircraft does not slip sideways, but flies in the direction the nose is pointed.
Hovering flight is flying while remaining stationary, and is perhaps the most challenging for new pilots. Remaining completely stationary for more than a few seconds is near impossible due to the inherent instability of a helicopter. Therefore, a standard stable hover is achieved when a pilot can maintain his position within +/-3ft laterally and vertically in ground effect (<50ft) and +/-10ft laterally and +/-5ft vertically when flying out of ground effect (>50ft).
Transitional flight is the period of flight between a hover and forward flight, and vis versa. The most difficult aspect of transitional flight is accurately judging your closure rate to your intended landing point. If you come in too fast, you'll overshoot and have to go around for another approach; too slow, and you're spending more time than necessary in your most vulnerable phase of flight. This is something that takes practice. The goal is to start your decel and descent at the right moment and the right rate to smoothly descend and decelerate so that when you reach your intended landing point you're at a 10ft hover. From that hover, you will slowly descent to land. This is done for non-combat landings to give the pilot a little room for correction. For a combat landing, the goal is to bring it smoothly all the way to the ground, skipping the 10ft hover which expedites landing at the expense of allowing less room for error.
Basic Rotary Wing Module Testing Standards
The student will be graded on the following tasks. All tasks are graded GO or NO GO.
- Peform hovering flight
- Perform forward flight
- Perform a landing approach.
Method of Testing
Students will be given a check ride by an instructor and will perform all maneuvers listed above. Students will be expected to be able to maintain a given heading (+/-5º), speed (+/-10 km/h) and altitude (+/- 3m). An instructor will then give the student a target to land and the student will be expected to make an approach and bring the aircraft to a hover without over-shooting the landing zone or using excessive corrections. Students will also be required to maintain their position within +/-3ft (1m) when hovering and gently land the aircraft. During the check ride, instructors may also ask questions on any of the material covered.
Failure to perform any of the maneuvers or correctly answer any questions will result in failure. The results of the check ride will not be disclosed until it is complete. Students will be permitted to retake the check ride up to 3 times, and are only required to retake the portions they failed provided it is with the same instructor. If the student retakes the check ride with another instructor, the entire check ride will be given again.