Don't expect high fidelity flight models, advanced physics and not a lot to do except blowing stuff up! But War Thunder can be a fun game and could actually inspire players to try real sims and get into the more serious side of our hobby.
Gaijin does indicate that they are adding helicopter-specific physics, though as seen in the FAQ blow (taken from the official website). On the last item of the FAQ, you can read "Helicopter FM has the same level of detail as all in-game aviation. Such effects as auto-rotation are implemented. Besides the effects based on aerodynamics and other physical laws, we have also implemented various helicopter systems, such as gas-turbine engines, transmissions, control systems etc.".
Here's the official FAQ:
— Which nations will have helicopters available from the start?
We will start with helicopters of the USA and USSR. As for the introduction of helicopters for other nations, we will let you know at later date.
— In which game modes will helicopters be implemented?
Helicopters will be available in combined ground battles (all modes). We will probably add ‘helicopters vs helicopters’ battles in the future.
— May I join the battle in a helicopter from the start?
Helicopters are limited with spawn points, just as with aircraft, so you should first gain enough SP whilst controlling ground vehicles.
— Do you plan any unique events for helicopters only or events where they play a special important role?
It’s too early to say at the moment, considering helicopters’ characteristics and capabilities. I think that special events will be introduced when the time comes.
— What will the control mechanics be in different game modes? Will there be “full controls” option as for aircraft?
As is the case for aircraft, we plan 4 control modes as for aircraft.
The easiest mode is mouse aim - in this mode a player controls helicopter through autopilot that is very similar to aircraft MA but with specific helicopter FM features. All other modes will also be available up to full control mode where automatic system is completely switched off and player has total control of the machine.
— Can you tell us about researchable modifications for helicopters?
Just like other vehicles, they will divided into types that affect “flight characteristics”, “survivability” and “armament”. Available modifications - just like other aircraft - will affect flight characteristics and unlock new armament types.
— Will the helicopter research tree be available for all players from the beginning, or will there be a CBT first?
We plan to launch the CBT after the release of update 1.81. You will be able to get access by completing specific tasks or purchasing special packs in the store. More details will be released later.
— Will helicopters have their own research tree? What rank will the first helicopters be?
Helicopters will have their own tree, which players will get access to after unlocking rank 5 of the aviation or ground vehicles tree.
— Do you plan on making premium helicopters available for purchase right from the start?
Yes. The UH-1C XM30 and Mi-24D will be available in the store.
— Helicopters from what time period will be available in the game?
Starting from the first strike helicopters - modifications of the multipurpose machines and special designs up to modern gunships. But it is possible that most modern modifications will not have all the possible armament, especially modern missiles that use “fire and forget” principle. At least not until ground forces will have something to counter that.
— Is it possible to research all helicopter tree whilst flying only aircraft? Is it possible to convert RP for Golden Eagles?
You may only gain RP to research helicopters whilst flying helicopters. As for RP conversion - it the same as for other vehicle types.
— Will there be separate helicopter crew or will it be the same as for aircraft?
Helicopters will be using aircraft crews and their skills.
— Will there be user-created camos available for helicopters? What about decals?
Yes we plan to introduce possibility for users to create camos. Decals are already available - they are implemented the same way as for aircraft.
— What armament is planned for helicopters?
Almost all weaponry that was available for them in real life: turnable and stationary MG and cannon mounts, grenade launchers, MG/cannon/grenade launcher pods, unguided rockets of different calibres, ATGMs. We also have plans for air-to-air missiles.
— Will you make cockpits for helicopters?
“Dimensional cockpit prototypes” will be available - they will have the cockpit’s geometry and all instruments and devices needed for flight control, with a separate gunner position and helicopter aiming system view.
— Will there be special landing sites for helicopters? In ground battles, in naval battles? Or will helicopters land on the same airfields and carriers as aircraft?
We have already added helicopter landing sites in test flights. Special landing sites for take-off, landing, resupply will also be added to those maps where battles with helicopters will take place.
— Will I be able to capture a zone using my helicopter?
Yes, we have already implemented these mechanics.
— Helicopter FM is very different from that of aircraft. Will it have the same level of detail as aircraft FMs have? Will such aspects as auto-rotation (with possibility to land helicopter with dead engine) be implemented?
Yes. Helicopter FM has the same level of detail as all in-game aviation. Such effects as auto-rotation are implemented. Besides the effects based on aerodynamics and other physical laws, we have also implemented various helicopter systems, such as gas-turbine engines, transmissions, control systems etc.