Media Hype Train has announced that they have released the first helicopter for Microsoft Flight Simulator. In fact, you can download it right away.
The community is well-known for pushing the envelope of sims and doing things out of the box, so, something like this was to be expected.
But after Asobo and Microsoft announcing they weren’t adding helicopters until 2022, how come a small team adds their own to the sim? What does this mean? Did Media Hype Train really, as someone out there in the community said, “beat Asobo to the punch”?
What to expect – and not to
When you download the helicopter, you will find the helicopter under the “Others”, as there is no helicopter/rotorcraft category. Media Hype Train (MHT) provided 4 different liveries to choose from and, from there, select your airport and it’s time to take off.
The first thing you’ll notice is that you will be placed on the left seat of the helicopter. Not the default PIC seating on this model but it’s not an issue. After all, we want to get this thing in the sky. Could it be a sim limitation? I honestly don’t know – and don’t care. I want to get the helicopter up.
I took a few seconds to sink it all in and was greeted by a rather simple 3D model and very simple gauges as well. Something to be expected as Media Hype Train has been warning us this is all work in progress.
Again, I ignore that.
Then the helicopter takes off on its own. I remember reading something about the throttle and hit full throttle up and down to make sure it “registers” (yes, the throttle, there’s no collective here). I’m back on the ground.
Time to take her off. And I do, very easily, as I stop that the throttle actually controls the speed of the rotor. So, when the throttle is down, it spins slower, which is kinda odd.
I could “hover” although I never managed to establish a very stable position do some sort of pedal turn and move sideways, but it all felt a bit clunky. Which is, again to be expected, not only because this is a huge hack into the flight model but also because, again, MHT warned us about it.
I picked up speed and tried to turn but no dice. The helicopter does bank but it doesn’t turn on its own. High speed flying is really odd, and we lose a lot of authority and control. I try to slow down (not an easy process right now for me) and land.
Partial success, but mainly because the model is very forgiving, and you can crash land without destroying it. Which is a welcome addition since, honestly, a lot of folks are landing hard for sure.
So, is this the first helicopter for Microsoft Flight Simulator?
This is not an easy model to fly for me. Not because it behaves like a helicopter but precisely because it doesn’t.
Nothing I have learned during the last 15+ years flying helicopters in sims really applies here. Yes, it can mimic some behavior of helicopters but that’s it. It doesn’t mimic the physics, the dynamic details or anything you would expect from a helicopter.
Will MHT be able to add that to this model? I don’t know, really. Can they fake it enough? Maybe…?
Microsoft and Asobo have not added helicopter flight dynamics to the sim. That is something that is planned for 2022. Until then, MTH and other teams will continue to hack their way into making their models look and act like helicopters, but I think that will be quite a hard job.
To answer the question, though, I have to be 100% honest with all of you: I don’t consider this to be the first helicopter in Microsoft Flight Simulator, simply because it’s not a helicopter.
It looks like a helicopter, it has some of the very, very basic characteristics, I appreciate Media Hype Train’s enthusiasm and excitement, the time and love they put into this project.
This project and the team have a lot of merit and I am impressed with what they have achieved. These guys must be really proud of what they managed to do so far.
But I cannot, in all conscience say their H135 is the first helicopter in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
It could be, in the future, if the team manages to really do some serious hacking into the sim – and I mean serious hacking. But not right now.