Helos are something that are quite unique to DCS, especially combat ones. Choppers are harder to fly (and by fly I mean land) but are immensely fun once you get the hang of it. If you are new to the game or helos specifically, and are conflicted about which one to get, here is a guide to get you started:
1. The Huey (UH-1)
- Probably the best option for beginners.
- Ideal for those who would like to practice and build muscle memory instead of having to learn complex systems. This lets you get into the action faster.
- Its an iconic helicopter used around the world and it does provide a lot of role-play value.
- It’s a utility helicopter so it’s used mainly for transport missions, casualty evac and light combat support.
- This module really allows you to be close to your machine. There is no fly-by-wire, no computer assists. You control everything with your arms and legs.
- Of all the modules on DCS, no other module requires rudder pedals more than the Huey. So make sure you have one and read my review of the best pedals for DCS here.
- Plenty of great campaigns available. UN and Argo are both good.
- Get to the CHOPPAA!
2. The Black Shark (Ka-50 attack helicopter)
- It’s essentially a flying computer.
- Easy to fly, but you will have to learn its various systems. You will have some studying to do but I personally love that aspect.
- Ideal for those who would rather study complex systems instead of building muscle memory over dozens of hours.
- Can go really fast, more than 300 kmph.
- Advanced autopilot, auto hover etc. can make flying a lot more forgiving.
- It really is a BEAST. People have even managed to kill fighter jets with this helo!
- Plenty of great campaigns available.
- It has got SO MUCH FIREPOWA!! (guided missiles, bombs, dumb rockets and a 30 mm cannon)
The Huey or the Blackshark is going to be the first helo for most people.
3. The Hind (Mil Mi-24P)
- The Hind is the newest and meanest helicopter in DCS.
- It is fast, it is lethal, it is brutal. If you dont like the flying computer that is the Ka-50 and want something that feels raw, then the Hind is made for you.
- It’s a twin seater so you can bring a buddy along or use the Petrovich AI and give him commands. Works well enough.
- Even though its new, the Hind is in a pretty refined state. It does most of what it is supposed to.
- It is my new favourtie helicopter to fly.
4. The Hip (Mi-8MTV2 Magnificent Eight)
- A rather big utility helicopter. Think of it as the Huey’s bigger brother.
- Can do all the things the Huey can, but better. Can carry more cargo, more troops and has a lot more firepower.
- It’s also much faster than the Huey and can reach 250 kmph.
- Horsepower by the boat-load.
- It’s also a bit harder to fly (aka land) and tends to get into VRS quite easily (which you will learn about in the tutorials).
- Given its higher learning curve, most people start with the Black Shark or the Huey instead. Think of this an advanced module. It can still be your first helo, its just that it can be a bit harder to learn.
- Not as many campaigns as the above two, but definitely more than what you get with most jets.
- It’s a very good helo and does not deserve to be this low in the ranking but its just that the other helicopters are so good themselves.
5. SA342 Gazelle
- To be honest, I haven’t played around much with this one. Its not really a popular choice. The other helos are just so so good.
- Flight model is poor.
- I kinda feel bad saying mean things about this beautiful bird so please, can we just stop now and forget this even exists?