The intent of this mission is to give MH-6 pilots an opportunity to build their skills via observation of techniques as well as practical application of the same techniques themselves, to include flying as a wingman in any training scenario. The intent is not to give a from-the-ground-up period of instruction in all things helicopter. You should have some basic helo skills to get the most out of this, though that's not to say that a novice pilot won't find something useful in it for them. Finally, note that this is primarily a skill-building mission - every "real" LZ has to be considered with a multitude of things in mind (see TTP2 for more details), while these have been chosen to show various concepts without the overhead of a fully established enemy presence etc. Note too that all LZs show an exfil as well, since landing at an LZ is only the first half of the dangerous task.
Version 1.1 (public release)
Please do not mirror this file/mission!
Place it in your Arrowhead "missions" directory and access it from the Singleplayer -> Scenarios menu. Note that this was designed as a vanilla mission and does not require any other mods to work. You will see a slight amount of weirdness in ACE when changing tracks due to the immersive dismount feature, but it's nothing major.
Upon launching you will experience a longer-than-usual load time. This is due to processing a lot of scripts (helo paths) at the start.
The interface for this mission is exclusively action-based, aka the mousewheel menu.
The initial options you will have are:
- Training Mode: Ride-Along
- Show Selections
- Display Help Hint
"Show Selections" will display the entire set of training courses. They are labeled either as S, M, or H - translating to simple, medium, and hard courses respectively.
"Display Help Hint" will cause a constant hint to show your speed, the lead helo's speed (if different), and the difference between. This can be used to display the speed when in "Ride-Along" mode, or to compare your speed with the lead helo in "Fly With" mode.
The "Training Mode" option toggles between "Ride-Along" and "Fly With" modes. "Ride-Along" puts you in the copilot seat, allowing you to get a perspective of a given flight path from that point of view. "Fly With" allows you to fly your own helo in wingman (or chase) mode alongside the flight-pathed helo - you will typically start on the right side of the lead helo, offset behind it somewhat and generally above it to permit you to build up some speed at the start.
Once you have selected the training mode and whether you want to use the help hint, show the selections and pick a course. The descriptions of the current ones will follow later in this post.
At this point you will be teleported to the starting area, followed by a quick countdown that ends with the path starting. When the course is complete, the lead helo will freeze in space for three seconds, then teleport safely away. At this point you will be returned to your own helo (if in ride-along mode) and given an opportunity to pick a new course. You can repeat this until a helo blows up, at which point you'll need to restart the mission.
- This is untested on other systems. For me, the given scenes will play reliably for me whether at 1x or 4x replay speed. It is possible to have them glitch out and result in the lead helo exploding due to a collision with 'something'. If that's the case, restarting the mission generally will result in it working. This may happen more often on slower machines, but like I said, I haven't been able to test that.
- I intended to do more 'rabbit chase' scenarios, but these tend to explode more often than not, and after awhile I got tired of watching cool paths explode when being replayed.
- I have recorded some formation stuff that I'd like to make into a training scenario sometime. If you're interested, let me know and it'll bump higher on my priority list. You can see one example of this in my "Omen" video.
I could have filmed dozens upon dozens of paths for this, but due to various concerns I've limited it to 40 paths for now (with 14 of those being autorotate/tail rotor scenarios). I am more than happy to create additional demonstrations of anything anyone would like to see, so if you have an idea/suggestion, simply post it and I'll work something up sometime... hopefully, schedule permitting.
The current courses are as follows.
The easy scenarios are intended to show basic skills that all helo pilots should be proficient in. These are the building blocks from which you can execute more complex and demanding maneuvers.
- 'Low Level Flight' illustrates a simple route flown a few meters above ground.
- 'Low Alt 180' demonstrates the ability for a helo to do a near-instantaneous 180 degree turn even when flown only a few meters above the ground.
- 'High Speed Sideslip' shows how one can keep a helo in a sideways 'strafe' for a considerable distance.
- 'Straight LZ' is just that - a simple, straightforward LZ
Medium scenarios turn the difficulty up a bit.
- 'Roof Landing' is a quick-in, quick-out rooftop landing in a small town. The second one demonstrates a very steep flare to accomplish the same thing in a shorter span of time.
- 'Spiral Descent' shows how one can spiral into an LZ from a good altitude.
- 'Fast Slides' show that a helo can make a landing with high forward speed, so long as the vertical rate of descent is kept to a minimum.
- 'Drops' show how a pilot can drop from great altitude and land in a very short period of time.
- 'Hook Approach' is a descending, turning approach into a courtyard LZ.
- 'Hopper' demonstrates popping over an object to land on the other side of it quickly.
- 'Masked' is a low-alt masked approach on a village. Be mindful of your altitude when slowing down, tail rotor collision is an easy mistake to make!
- 'Oil Refinery' starts at altitude, then combines a few tricks to end up in an oil refinery LZ.
- 'Descending Urban Slope' requires good control of deceleration and 'speed bleed' in order to land on a sloped piece of ground in a town.
Hard scenarios take it a step further.
- 'Rabbit' scenarios involve chasing another helo as it twists and turns through a difficult, low-altitude flight path.
- 'Hard LZ' scenarios show particularly challenging approaches.
- 'Mosque Courtyard' is a straight approach with a quick turn over the Mosque before dropping into the courtyard for a single-helo LZ.
RL scenarios are about rotor loss. There are ten examples, showing recovery at different initial speeds, altitudes, and environments. You can trigger your own rotor loss by 0-0-1 in the radio menu. You will have ~15 seconds of fuel after this, and will have enough damage to cause a heavy spin and require a gentle landing. See "Tips" for more on this.
AUTOROT scenarios deal with autorotation, brought on by total fuel starvation. There are four examples covering the basic possibilities - highspeed at low and high altitudes, and engine failure while going up and down hills. Note that this demonstrates the default vanilla Arrowhead method, and not the how-can-you-possibly-mess-this-up ACE2 hand-holding method. You can induce an engine failure by using the 0-0-2 radio option.
- When touching down for an LZ, the thrust-down key should be tapped, not held. Holding thrust-down is a good way to destroy the engine on impact.
- Slamming your tail is the most likely way to screw up. Many, many helo crashes or engine losses happen from lack of tail awareness.
- The warning siren that can happen on a hard touchdown does not always indicate total engine failure. Your upper-left "component" indicator is generally a better thing to go by, though it can be a bit misleading at times as well. Engine loss will cause a very obvious loss of lift and a spooling-down sound to play - rely on that above all else.
Rotor Loss Tips
Generally speaking, rotor loss that happens at mid to high speed, or high altitude, is very easy to recover from. Low-speed rotor loss that results in an immediate spin at low altitude is very hard to reocover from due to how much can go wrong before you get enough altitude or get the spin under control. This is what I focus on most in the examples, and as you can see, it can get very hairy and require some creative touchdown methods.
This is an inexact science for me presently, but my general actions are as follows. If you find a more reliable method, feel free to post about it.
The basic steps are:
1. GET ALTITUDE!
2. Get control
3. Get on the ground
To go into more detail:
- Immediately press and hold gain alt. You will not know what you're spinning into until it's too late, so the higher you are, the better. 'Rock out' recovery can drop your altitude quickly without you realizing it, so the altitude helps greatly. Once you have achieved a decent altitude (80m+ is good to aim for)....
- Rock out of it. This is achieved by picking a direction (typically the general direction you're moving in) and rocking the aircraft in that direction during each spin rotation. ie, when your nose is pointed in the direction you want to go, nose down. As you spin away from that direction, nose up until your tail is pointed down in the direction you want to go when facing 180 degrees away from it. After a few spins you will end up flying in that direction.
- Note that the way to get out of a spin is to get enough momentum in one direction to negate the loss of the tail rotor. Unfortunately, this can happen in three ways - rearward flight, sideways flight, and forward flight. Only one of them is reliable (forward), while sideways flight can work in some situations, and rearward flight is generally bad news. However, if you can increase rearward speed, you're likely to see the helo flip 180 and begin forward flight - whether you will survive this process is questionable, however. Inducing another spin is a risky way to get out of these unwanted states, but it's pretty much your only option.
- Once you are in forward flight (or after losing your tail at higher speeds), bank slightly left and nose down to maintain speed. An MH-6 torques clockwise (right) without the tail rotor, and this will counteract that.
- Pick an LZ, head to it, and begin bleeding speed while maintaining a low altitude. Using a curving flight path can help to keep the torque minimized for as long as possible, preventing you from going into a spin. See the examples for how this can look. Making a running landing is oftentimes necessary. If landing on a slope, ensure you land facing up it or down it - sideways is likely to cause a roll.
Engine Loss/Autorotation Tips
This is dead simple in the vast majority of cases. Immediately bring your forward speed to a minimum (30kph or lower) while holding your thrust down key. When 20-30 meters above the ground, press and hold thrust up. You should touch down lightly, provided you chose a good LZ. See the "Going uphill" example for a good case of where quick-thinking is required to prevent a disastrous outcome.