Which helicopter simulators do real helicopter pilots fly?

Which helicopter simulators do real helicopter pilots fly?

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We always get asked lots of questions on what is the best helicopter simulator? Which flight simulator should I buy? Which helicopter is the most realistic?  So we decided to ask the people who actually fly real life helicopters on what they thought was the most realisitic helicopter simulator. pchelicopters.com has the largest and oldest helicopter simulators community on Facebook. In our group we have real life pilots as well as developers of helicopter simulations from the major flight simulators, so we can say we have a lot of experts in the community. For those of you interested in joining the helicopter community head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/pchelicopters/

We asked 2 very experienced pilots in Michael and Gonçalo a number of questions about flying real helicopters compared to helicopter simulators on the PC. Read on and find out what they said!

Gonçalo's answers :

How long have you flown helicopters?
I've been flying helicopters for 21 years.

Which helicopters have you flown?
I have flown the Schweizer S300, the Bell 206, I have logged some time on the Bell 407 and Bell 412 but most of my helicopter flying has been done on the AS350 Esquilo.

Have you also flown planes?
Yes but not professionally and I do not have a license. Only with friends instructors.

If also flown planes which is harder to fly?
For me is planes because I have little experience with them.

What's the hardest part of flying a helicopter?
Bad weather. I think it's that for all aircraft.

Which helicopter simulators have you used ?
X-Plane and P3D

Which simulator more realistically reflects flying s real helicopter?
Between X-Plane and P3D, X-Plane.

What is your favourite helicopter?
The Esquilo (AS350)

What's your tip on how best to land a helicopter?
Point towards the wind. Come in slowly and look around you always.

Now for Michael's answers

How long have you flown helicopters?
I've flown helicopters since 2010

Which helicopters have you flown?
R-44, R-22, OH-58D(bell 407)TH-67(bell 206)

Have you also flown planes?
Yes I've flown a number of small fixed-wing aircraft.


If also flown planes which is harder to fly?
Helicopters are by far harder, like riding a unicycle on top of a beachball

What's the hardest part of flying a helicopter?
Hardest part is to hover and even harder is to hover using vertical reference (looking straight down for reference points) i.e. Long line.

Which helicopter simulators have you used ?
Fsx, xplane 11, Dcs,

I remember using Dcs a little bit and it seemed pretty real, almost too real. Ive flown x-plane 11 and I actually gave the company some feedback on the helicopter before there final release. I think it works pretty good and it's a powerful platform so add ons should be good. On fsx it was a bell 412.
Also played aix for battlefield and surprisingly the md500 was very similar to the flying characteristics to my military helicopter. You see in modern helicopters there are stability control systems in them so when you do fly it's like playing a video game. Most helicopters don't have this, but military and fancier ones do. I remember playing Dcs on realistic settings and in real life it's not nearly that hard.

Which simulator more realistically reflects flying s real helicopter?
I've spent a lot of time in fsx, and I had downloaded a pretty real acting helo. I think xplane 11 will be a pretty good simulator though.

What is your favourite helicopter?
Md 530F


What's your tip on how best to land a helicopter?
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast, on approach just keep thinking forward and down. Pick a spot on the windscreen for a touchdown point and keep it there until you set down.

So there you have it, 2 experienced helicopter pilots with 28 years experience between them express their view on helicopter simulators for PC. From their answers it seems x-plane is a favourite but also mentions of FSX, DCS, P3D and even Battlefield!

It seems all the sims do a good job in simulating helicopter flight. If you are interested in seeing videos of some of the helicopters mentioned in this article head over to our youtube channel here where you will find many videos for helicopters across all formats.

 

We also have started to compile a comprehensive list of helicopters available for PC on our website here.

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