Monday, May 9, 2016

DCS SA-342M Gazelle

Brand new helicopter for DCS World 2.0 Alpha and DCS World 1.5 Open Beta.

Yeah, "the World" of DCS is getting complicated so things that are up to date in a release version of the world are not necessarily so in other beta, alpha ... Oh, the joys of these fractured worlds of DCS simulation.

So, make sure that you have DCS World 2.0 Alpha or DCS World 1.5 Beta installed to fly the Gazelle.

This utility helicopter comes from Polychop Simulations and is for DCS World.

A nice, very small helicopter conceived as an utilitarian that ended up in use by many military forces around the world as a recon and even as an attack platform. Speaking of attack, the current version of the SA-342M only has HOT-3 wire-guided anti-tank missile.

The accommodations are small, and you will see yourself brushing virtual elbows with your weapons officer. The cockpit is well rendered and the buttons are clickable. It is clear that Polychop has aimed high for their level of fidelity in this virtual helicopter.

One of the worst attitudes one can have jumping into the virtual cockpit of the DCS SA-342M Gazelle for the first time  is to assume that this helicopter is heavy. Au contraire, the Gazelle was designed as an agile aerial platform. So don't rush to take off pulling the collective up to your armpit because you will spin out of control. But don't fly like an old lady either. Just get acquainted with the Gazelle and learn its response to your inputs.

A good amount of important bugs are to be squashed, many of them regarding the flight model. Others -like the extreme sensitivity of the pedals- have been circumvented by virtual pilots, by adjusting the curves that regulate the input of their peripherals. This bug is being worked on by Polychop.

Surprisingly enough, the DCS SA-342M Gazelle flies rock solid when airspeeds are above 120 km/h with almost no pilot input required. A coordinated turn is a handful, and very odd for a military aircraft. The DCS Gazelle bleeds speed too fast and the rotor's torque at this slow speed will take care of messing up the bearings for many inexperienced virtual pilots. Many real life pilots have pointed out that this is likely a bug, but I don't know what is being done regarding this.

The DCS Gazelle features the powerful Viviane target acquisition system, a radar warning receiver and is equipped with FLIR and a laser rangefinder. For launching the HOT-3 missiles, the DCS Gazelle has an auto hover system that can be slaved to the Viviane.

The learning curve for the avionics and weapon systems is not too steep because this is a simple helicopter. Flying properly -considering personal pilotage shortcomings and flight modeling bugs- will be a different story.


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