The system, although extremely limited by DCS itself is proof that the community always comes out with creative – and fun – ways to expand their rotor wing operations.
Before we move on and you start imagining your helicopter dropping water in a blaze environment, let’s keep our expectations in check.
There are quite a few limitations and the whole firefighting system, although ingenious, may not be exactly what you expect. You are not going to see your helicopter carrying water or dropping it. In fact, you do the actual drop in the map.
It is still quite an astonishing feat, but I just wanted to make sure that we would all “keep it real”.
The firefighting system simulates water being transported in belly-mounted tanks, instead of bambi-buckets. The developers assign this to the fact that there is no way to change the weight of cargo transported via a sling.
To fill the “tank” (which is not visible in the sim, mind you), you will need to hover above a body of water (sea, lake, river) and a virtual pump will do its job. Keep in mind the weight of the helicopter will change, of course, so you need to keep your head in the game and master the collective.
Water drop is done via the F10 menu, where hitting F1 will release your water until your virtual tank gets empty. Unfortunately, again due to DCS limitations, this may not be done via a joystick binding.
The authors talk about the best ways to extinguish a fire on this forum thread, where the project was presented. They also explain how the system works in the background. Fires grow over time and you can drop water to prevent it from spreading, making it a strategic game, not just about dropping water into the fire.
Go check it out and hop on into the server sometime to fight some virtual fires. Oh, and don’t worry: if you extinguish a fire, another one will be spawned!
Some of you have asked for the server details (which you can still find on the forum thread), so here it is:
Server name: Search And Rescue Server