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AW109 Changelog

AW109 Power Elite 1.09.4 for X-Plane 12 (Current)

  • Full compliance with X-Plane 12.00*
  • Improved engine sounds, now made with FMOD 2.02
  • Fixed a bug causing quick discharge of battery if no EPU connected
  • Added rain, wiper effects and glass scratches
  • Updated xLua plugin and embedded scripts to Luajit 2.1
  • Fixed a bug causing no engine response to different air temperatures (1.09.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing no rotor inertia when starting up the engines (1.09.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing speed rotor textures to appear at the wrong RPMs (1.09.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing external lights not to be seen at daylight (1.09.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing wrong label positioning on cabin windows (1.09.1)
  • Updated max temperature for full power to get more realistic behavior (1.09.1)
  • Updated engine inertia according to sound when reaching idle speed (1.09.1)
  • Updated external lights with photometric X-Plane 12 parameters (1.09.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing the engines being unable to exploit all the power (1.09.2)
  • Fixed a bug causing no external sound when starting with engines running (1.09.2)
  • Fixed a bug causing turbine outlet temperature going red too often (1.09.2)
  • Fixed a bug causing some cabin sounds to be triggered at flight resume (1.09.2)
  • Updated FMOD package for better engine and rotor sounds (1.09.2)
  • Updated fuseleage nose and set the cabin external step as a separate object (1.09.3)
  • Fixed minor texture details such as wipers UV maps and EDUs text symbols (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing wipers sound to not to sync correctly to the movement (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing fuel pump 2 sound not to play cue if fuel pump 1 is off (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing rotor brake to destroy the engine separation (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing payload weight slider not visible in X-Plane settings (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing analog altimeters to give incorrect thousands values (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug causing texture map mismatch on artex light switch panel (1.09.3)
  • Added missing EDUs test function for checking warnings and advisories (1.09.3)
  • Fixed a bug on the altimeters, preventing the numbers to rotate correctly (1.09.4)
  • Added missing RA-215 radio altimeter instead of the pilot backup altimeter (1.09.4)

* No backward compatibility. Version 1.08.x will be the last for X-Plane 11 until the end of its lifecycle.

AW109 Power Elite 1.08.3 for X-Plane 11 (Current)

  • Improved rotor animations, now spinning smoothly at every frame rate
  • Improved caution light, now with a tiny texture correction
  • Improved cabin volume, now you can hear that noise right
  • Fixed a bug causing misbehaviors when altimeter unmatch barometer (1.08.1)
  • Fixed a bug causing the the tail rotor to unmatch the flight model (1.08.2)
  • Fixed a bug causing massive system failure if Avitab™ is not installed (1.08.3)

AW109 Power Elite 1.07

  • Improved EDU, now with convenient CAS advisories for auto-hover and auto-yaw
  • Improved textures, renamed the label UNCOUPL with DECOUPL on the Helipilot panel
  • Fixed a bug preventing instrument glasses to be properly lit
  • Added AviTab™ integration* with rotating tablet mount and dynamic glowing light
  • Updated ACF, now with a proper panel resolution and room for more instruments

* Get the AviTab™ plugin on

AW109 Power Elite v1.06

  • Improved 3D model, fuseleage and assets were adjusted to better match version E
  • Improved textures, fuseleage UV map and textures were overhauled to ease repaints
  • Improved autopilot, FD now follows the shortest path in HDG mode
  • Fixed a bug preventing real weather to appear after being downloaded
  • Fixed a bug causing analogic altimeters to delay the switching of thousands
  • Fixed a bug preventing the UNCOUPL switch to disengage servos
  • Added a convenient landing lights cycle command
  • Updated attitude hold, code was overhauled to ensure precision and steadiness
  • Updated reference guide, now with trimming instructions and corrections
  • Updated texture template, now with convenient aesthetic and text layers
  • Updated liveries with increased resolution on virtue of the new UV map

AW109 Power Elite v1.05

  • Improved EDU, CAS code was rewritten and is now visible on Windows *
  • Improved EDU, CAS messages are now of the exact number and type of version E
  • Improved EDU, fonts and screen glowing are now more similar to the real ones
  • Fixed a bug causing wing-level with vertical-only FD on Windows
  • Updated installer, now with a clearer suggestion about where to install

* This anticipates the official fix for the XPD-10211 bug, foreseen with XP12 beta 1

AW109 Power Elite v1.04

  • Improved flight model, matching the real machine even better
  • Improved force trim release, now softer and less bumping
  • Improved engine spool time and transition from idling
  • Improved EDU, engine cursors and parameters are more precise
  • Improved EDU, rotor speed value NR is now precisely calculated
  • Improved FD, transition between modes is now softer
  • Improved parking brake, now it can be disengaged with left and right toes
  • Fixed a bug causing EADI lateral cue to appear with LNV mode and no FD
  • Fixed a bug causing FD stand-by to be uneffective in certain FD arm modes
  • Fixed a bug causing cyclic to being moved in cockpit view despite ATT HOLD
  • Fixed a bug causing pedals to be auto-coordinated in some situations
  • Fixed a bug preventing attitude vacuum gyro to being properly caged
  • Fixed a bug showing the low speed rotor to be seen at a wrong rotor RPMs
  • Fixed a bug causing flapping sound to keep alive even after a crash
  • Fixed a bug causing nose gear to hide into its bay upon compression
  • Fixed a bug causing engine out callouts at closing fuel valves when WOW
  • Fixed a bug causing Bendix/King communication radios to miss decimal steps
  • Fixed a bug causing FT release button to be uneffective when ATT HOLD off
  • Added magnetic brake to keep cyclic in position when FD and ATT HOLD are on
  • Added foldable access step on the right side of the cabin, as in the real model *
  • Updated Bendix/King radios, KX165A is now version 8.33K instead of 25K
  • Updated horizontal stabilizer, now fixed as in the real model
  • Updated FMOD sound package to sound like an AW109 even better
  • Updated landing gear with 5% fatter tires and a little higher main leg
  • Updated rotor blades, increased mesh width and drop with engines off
  • Updated tunnel console, cursors got center marks and better datarefs
  • Updated power levers, now in flight position by default, as in the real model
  • Updated .psd template with the new foldable access step

* This is the first of a series of free official props to match the various versions of the AW109, eg. cable-cutters, floats, etc…

AW109 Power Elite v1.03

  • Improved flight model, now permitting a smooth flight up to VNE
  • Improved landing gear sound, now properly muffled
  • Improved cabin sound, now paired with engine speed
  • Improved high speed rotor mesh, now bending a lot less upwards
  • Improved rotor animation, now tuned to gyroscopic precession
  • Improved flight directors accountability and stand-by functions
  • Improved force trim release response from the helicopter
  • Fixed cyclic trim, now acting properly in ATT HOLD with stand-by FD
  • Fixed force trim function, added new command and CAS message
  • Fixed SAS 1 & 2 functions, dealing better with control sensitivity
  • Fixed 102% command, now working from joystick
  • Fixed pilot visibility from cockpit and replays on some systems
  • Fixed turbine sound, now properly working in all conditions
  • Fixed cabin sound, now correctly tied to engines RPM
  • Fixed a bug occasionally causing tail strike at flight start
  • Fixed a bug preventing the pedals to move in ATT HOLD
  • Fixed a bug preventing the start of engine 2 when fuel 1 was off
  • Fixed transponder power, now correctly switching off on IVAO
  • Fixed auto-trim, now it just keeps trims within their limits
  • Fixed a bug pushing TOT over 1000° for seconds at startup
  • Fixed anti-torque pedal request, now properly left sided
  • Fixed a bug causing level-up of the helicopter when disengaging FD (SBY)
  • Added auto-hover command, for the ease of steady operations
  • Added auto-yaw command, for the ease of mouse-only pilots
  • Added user command for cyclic trim reset button
  • Added user commands for SAS 1 & 2 switches
  • Updated hide yoke command, now also removes collective
  • Updated guide with technical data and speed limitations
  • Updated module, version is now identified by number
  • Updated installer, now identified by product name and version number

AW109 Power Elite v1.02

  • Improved pilot authority on pitch axis
  • Improved cabin sound, now paired with rotor speed
  • Fixed cyclic trim function w/autotrim
  • Fixed airspeed alert to the correct VNE
  • Fixed annoying rotor high alert
  • Added missing cursor in pilot’s VVI w/sound
  • Added DH selector and alert on EADI
  • Added user command for ATT HOLD switch
  • Added user command for 102% switch
  • Updated reference guide

AW109 Power Elite v1.01

  • Improved cabin sound volume, which had excessive muffling
  • Fixed a bug forcing simulation to freeze at module reload
  • Fixed a bug preventing custom lights to be visible on some systems
  • Fixed a bug causing an excess of pitch response on some conditions
  • Fixed a bug causing cyclic trim defective when AP in SBY mode

AW109 Power Elite v1.00

  • Rogerson Kratos NEO AV 500 EADI & EHSI with NAV (N) and BRG (B) functions
  • Primary EDU with functional START and CRUISE menus
  • Secondary EDU with functional MAIN and AUX menus
  • Custom CAS advisories, cautions and warnings *
  • Helipilot, fuel management console and overhead panel with motorized PMS
  • Realistic 3-axis autopilot with cyclic and pedal trim functions
  • Bendix/King array of functional radios COM/NAV 1 & 2, ADF, XPDR and Garmin 530
  • AeroTech LC-6 chronometer w/local time, UTC time, flight time and stopwatch functions
  • Custom FMOD sounds package
  • Extremely detailed 3D model with hundreds of moving parts and 4K textures
  • 3D lights and PBR textures
  • Fast installer and uninstaller for Windows, Mac and Linux powered by Amazon S3
  • Five corporate liveries included
  • PSD template included to make your personal livery
  • Reference guide included with instructions and checklists
  • Optimized for X-Plane experimental flight model
  • Ready for X-Plane 12

* Due to an X-Plane bug XPD-10211 also affecting the 747-400, CAS isn’t visible on Windows until X-Plane 12 beta 1

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AW139 Changelog

AW139 5.02 for X-Plane 12 (In the making)

  • Added X-Plane 12.1 full compatibility, all scripts recompiled to XLua 1.3.0r1 and LuaJIT 2.1 rules
  • Added new internal and external lights, rebuilt in Blender in the new X-Plane 12 format
  • Added new ranges, symbols, text, weather and terrain on MAP mode HSI, now everything is fine
  • Added required payloads on Plane Maker 12, now we have proper stations and refined weights
  • Added joystick sensitivity dataref for AP1/2 instead of deprecated joystick augment datarefs*
  • Added new engine model, now matching core parameters to the hair
  • Added new VGP flight director, now capturing and following RWY waypoints (↓) with new datarefs
  • Added new beauty effects on cabin glasses for rain and wipers
  • Added updated Epic Primus™ Phase 7 with MAP, PLAN, SYSTEM modes and sub-menus
  • Fixed oil alert triggers, as they were changed by new engine model X-Plane 12
  • Fixed Power index (PI) indicator not showing TQ as the main limiting factor over NG and ITT
  • Fixed landing gear, weight & balance, CG as they were messed up by X-Plane 12
  • Fixed transponder found in MODE C at startup, now it’s in STBY by default
  • Fixed bus tie always open when starting with engines on
  • Fixed FMOD sounds unmatching the overhauled engine model
  • Fixed low brightness on Forward with HUD view
  • Fixed right torque arrow invisible with left engine off
  • Fixed some lights working even with battery off
  • Fixed 102% switch not working anymore in X-Plane 12
  • Fixed wing-level function of CLTV/YAW to avoid roll trims over 3°
  • Fixed CLTV/YAW trim working on ground

* Damping removed from the joystick model in X-Plane 12.0.9

AW139 5.01 for X-Plane 11 (Current)

  • Fixed VVI digital readout visibility, it now appears only exceeding 300 ft/min
  • Fixed VDI visibility, now driven by frequency, captured only in APP or DCL mode, working on all NAV sources
  • Fixed transponder mode adjustment, CCD joystick up or down only work when PFD cursor is over XPDR
  • Fixed FUEL XFEED label on MFD, it is now triggered only when its switch is set different from NORM
  • Fixed GS capture overshoot, glideslope is now captured more progressively, even in LNAV with PRV (Preview)
  • Fixed GS capture threshold, glideslope is now correctly captured at half scale of VDI
  • Fixed GS armed unable to capture in ALTA or VS mode, now you can use both to catch glideslope
  • Fixed wind direction on PFD, arrow icon now points to the relative direction the wind blows from
  • Fixed ground speed on PFD, now GPS driven and calculated in knots, which is also beneficial for VGP and HOV
  • Fixed VGP adjust to STAR runway waypoints, approach is now smooth and stable, like a normal 3° glideslope
  • Fixed VGP capture label on PFD, now it is properly triggered when capturing an armed VGP
  • Fixed ALVL unable to turn-off NAV/LNAV, now every lateral FD is being deactivated during auto-flare
  • Fixed hydraulic pressure and temperature panel lights, now properly triggered and separated
  • Added BARO reset button to also change the altimeter unit of measure, from HPA to InHg and back
  • Added continuous adjust of speed reference in IAS mode when cyclic trim switch is kept up or down
  • Added VR configuration file
  • Updated reference guide

AW139 5.00 for X-Plane 11

  • New model rebuilt from zero, the most modern version with long nose and windowed pilots doors
  • New cabin, panels, landing gear with only 10% of reycled components from the previous versions
  • New main and tail rotor, with new frame-rate agnostic animations at low and high speed and rotor disc tilt effect
  • New Epic Primus™ Phase 7 replica in full XGA resolution, rebuilt from zero with fully functional PFD and MFD*
  • New 4-axis FD, with collective modes ALT, GS, VS, GA, ALTA, ALVL, RHT, VGP and pitch modes IAS, DCL, HOV, GA
  • New CLTV/YAW trim function, with collective-to-yaw cross-feed, yaw heading hold, lateral ball trim, wing-level
  • New textures, new liveries, custom tail numbers and .psd template, with 2x resolution for fuseleage and rotors
  • New custom beacon and strobe lights, now they blink at the real frequency, with a nice async
  • New functional audio panel, with manageable volumes for all audio sources or master HDPH mode
  • New winch, wire-cutters, inlet filter and floats, all manageable from inside the cockpit and auto-saved
  • New cosmetic FMS screen with standard X-Plane functions in XGA resolution
  • Overhauled flight model, with better handling behaviour and performances
  • Improved HOV (auto-hover) heading stability, low speed handling and overall performances
  • Added FT REL dual command, which now controls also CLTV/TRIM REL to free magnetic brakes all at once
  • Added user guide

*POWER PLANT screen, other MFD modes MAP, PLAN, SYSTEM will be added in the next updates

AW139 4.01

  • Improved model, fuseleage and interiors have being ported to Blender and overhauled
  • Improved flight model, now experimental with new turbine models and rotor-driven hydraulics
  • Improved cockpit, flight controls have now night lighting and fully animated switches
  • Improved textures, cabin and panels got new lights, materials and normal maps
  • Improved cyclic trim, now with a new trim reset command very useful in ATT mode
  • Improved rotor animations, now spinning flawlessly, with linear regression on port side
  • Improved callouts, LDP and TDP are now triggered by CAT A and ENGINE IDLE is less sensitive
  • Fixed a bug causing almost every autopilot mode to be unresponsive and messy
  • Fixed a bug causing rotor brake to be always engaged at launch
  • Fixed a bug causing the collective to be inverted in VR
  • Fixed a bug preventing the CAS messages to be seen on Windows
  • Fixed a bug preventing the CAS messages to activate and deactivate panel lights
  • Fixed a bug preventing the product license to be verified at startup on some configurations
  • Fixed a bug preventing the main rotor’s NR to be correctly working on MFD
  • Fixed a bug causing the collective trim switch to invert CLTV/YAW TRIM functions
  • Added a hide yoke function
  • Added AviTab™ cockpit integration* in HD with custom mount, landing camera and glowing light
  • Updated plane maker panel, now with a 2048 x 2048 texture and room for more HD instruments
  • Updated ATT mode (CWS), new code and autopilot constants ensure precision and steadiness
  • Updated lights, exterior and cockpit emitters are now HDR and lights control has been rewritten
  • Updated pilot, the same guy of the AW109 is there to do amazing things
  • Updated interactions, useless animations and manipulators are now gone forever
  • Updated meshes, vertices and faces have been heavily optimized and deduplicated
  • Updated textures, fuseleage got new engine grids and clearer window glasses
  • Updated pilot view, now higher and regressed as in reality
  • Updated PLA, both levers have lights and are in flight position by default
  • Updated PFD, consistently with the other metrics, barometric pressure is now HPA
  • Updated sounds for flip switches and knobs, landing gear sound is being reduced at 4″
  • Updated installer security and speed, now powered by Amazon S3

* Get the AviTab™ plugin on

AW139 4.00 RC7

  • Fixed cyclic responsiveness when ATT mode is on
  • Removed 30° bank limit when ATT mode is on
  • Added animated air vents, pilot side
  • Minor functional and visual refinements
  • Windows installer upgraded to 64 bits
  • Fixed the «parsing URL» installer’s bug

AW139 4.00 RC6

  • Dynamic CAS crew alert system reproduced with 85 warning, caution and advisory messages
  • Warning and caution lights on panel now follow a CAS event
  • Warning and caution acknowledge is now also possible with CAS RST button on collective
  • CAS messages can now be scrolled with CCD inner rotary knob
  • Added MAP zoom function to CCD outer rotary knob when LH is selected, works also in HSI MAP mode
  • Fixed a bug causing persistent FT after aircraft unload
  • Added proper nose wheel lock functionality to GEAR panel
  • Blade flapping sound during flares, nose pitches and tight bank degrees on turns
  • MFD and PFD selection with LH and RH button on CCD panel is now evident on screen
  • Fixed ATT mode, pitch and roll ≤ 30° are kept until FT REL is pressed and cyclic is moved
  • ATT pitch and roll can be fine tuned with cyclic hat switch when FD STBY is on
  • Fixed occasional bugs on certain autopilot FD modes
  • Minor functional and visual refinements
  • Refined fuel management
  • Fixed the «exceeded activations» installer’s bug

AW139 4.00 RC5

  • Installer for Windows, Mac and Linux with serial autentication and encrypted file archive
  • Fixed battery issue which was still causing failed re-starts under certain conditions
  • Fixed generators issue causing battery mischarge and consequent quick draining
  • Fixed incorrect electrical consumption for every single system on board
  • Electrical hydraulic pump now off by default and with reduced pressure, as in reality
  • Added electrical hydraulic pump sound
  • Fixed hydraulic sources with refined values and display indicators
  • Added hydraulic Shut-Off-Valve (SOV) switch functionality on the interseat panel
  • Fixed misbehaviour of DH labels MIN and MIN + 100 ft on attitude sphere
  • The LOW HT AWG switch on the MISC panel now inhibits all low height aural warnings
  • Added landing gear aural warning < 150 ft with gear up, mutable by LOW HT AWG switch
  • Added decision height aural warning, mutable by LOW HT AWG switch
  • Fixed tricky collective raising in VR
  • Better sound behaviour at start-ups and shut-downs
  • Better engine response at higher altitudes
  • Better rotor spooling-up speed
  • Fixed minor 3D details on fuseleage and interiors
  • Added blinking caution and warning lights with HDR spills

AW139 4.00 RC4.1

  • Fixed rotors still moving when rotor brake caliper is at maximum pressure, an X-Plane issue bypass
  • Fixed PMS issue still occourring after a power-off, now each engine starts, idles and restarts as expected
  • Fixed over-TQ and rotor-high issue when switching from IDLE to FLT mode on PMS
  • Fixed scaled shadows on cabin and panel, as X-Plane shaders won’t stop changing
  • Fixed wrong electrical values on MFD
  • Fixed rotor brake lever sound missing

AW139 4.00 RC4

  • Rewritten SAS and ATT logic based upon AP1/2, FT and CPL activation, a huge fix but the most desired one by real pilots
  • Rewritten autopilot FD modes from scratch so that they obey to the real logic, also added custom toggle commands
  • Fixed excess of power (HP) and aircraft weights values, now real AW139 pilots should feel at home a lot better
  • Fixed unrealistic display values and arrows behavior for NG, ITT, TQ and PI along with range warnings
  • Fixed continuous input to trimming switches both on cyclic and collective, keep each hat switch pressed to increase or decrease values
  • Fixed rotor brake’s caliper effectiveness, now it is proportional to the action on the lever and won’t turn the helicopter anymore
  • Added a retractable spotlight to the belly, it can be switched on and pointed in any direction by using the rightside hat switch on the collective
  • Enlarged cabin sound sphere, now VR pilots should not get outer sounds when attempting to lean their heads towards the window
  • Fixed seats headrests issue on custom liveries showing both closed and open configurations, now they have the hole opened
  • Fixed livery template UV map misplacements on tail boom, stabilizer, belly and added nose logo area, now authors can paint it just right
  • Unified N2 102% commands into a single toggle, this is to help out the serious simmers with their hardware
  • Making the old user guide available as a separate download, looking forward to write a much simpler procedural sheet
  • Added cyclic and collective manipulators, this allow a greater usability for VR pilots with touchpads and mouse pilots as well
  • Fixed invisible pedestals on custom liveries higher that 00 (default), fixed the livery template as well
  • Fixed both fuel pumps needed to start one engine, now each engine is correctly related to its fuel pump
  • Digital wind indicator back in place, now compensating the wind direction with the heading
  • Fixed SAS REL and FD STBY buttons on cyclic, now they work as expected
  • Fixed tires appearing raised from the ground
  • Fixed minor details on cabin and external meshes
  • Fixed nose glass transparency issue
  • Raised avionics fans volume just right

AW139 4.00 RC3

  • Fixed pedals still moving when CLTV/YAW trim is ON, now they stay in position unless CLTV/YAW REL (collective) is being pressed
  • Fixed cyclic trim up and down function, now it trims pitch when FT is ON and IAS mode (FD) is OFF, otherwise it modifies IAS reference
  • Fixed cyclic trim left and right function, now it trims roll when FT is ON and HDG mode (FD) is OFF, otherwise it modifies HDG reference
  • Fixed engine power, fuel consumption and weights parameters
  • Fixed Sagem® map display showing along with every user custom livery, now the instrument is finally gone (until version 4.1)
  • Fixed parking brake lever sound, now it’s there
  • Refined rotor spooling up time, now closer to reality
  • Fixed reversed CCD (Cursor Control Device) left and right function when LH (MFD) is selected, up and down function are fictional
  • Updated livery template with a convenient UV map layer and instruction note, now it’s easier to identify parts of the fuseleage
  • Updated custom livery folder logic, now additional liveries must be tied to sequential numbers (04, 05, …); this was done to prevent the off-shore external objects showing along with every custom livery, as they will show up only with the default off-shore liveries (Default 00 to 03)

AW139 4.00 RC2

  • Fixed the marching ants issue affecting many textures on some graphic cards due to wrong UV maps
  • Fixed internal glass opacity, as reported too dark by many pilots using VR headsets
  • Fixed collective trim up and down function when CLTV/YAW trim is ON, the hat switch trims collective, otherwise it changes the reference target value if a FD collective mode is engaged (ie. VS or ALT reference)
  • Fixed rotor brake strenght, now it’s a lot less brutal
  • Fixed vents sound when battery is off
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Whatever is your preferred simulated flight activity with our AW139, from mountain rescue to off-shore operations, you may have already encountered the need to trim your helicopter. In this article we’re going to explain ho to achieve a proper trim for both rotors and flight controls to ensure your flight is comfortable and efficient.


Trimming means fine tuning your aircraft’s attitude. This is useful in simulated flights as well as in real ones to achieve maximum operational efficiency in terms of lower fuel consumptions, less pilot’s effort and comfort for your passengers. Trimming is related to each of your axis – pitch, roll and yaw – and each function is nicely reproduced and managed from the cyclic and collective sticks.


As the real AW139, our helicopter spots a force trimming device which allows you to get maximum control over the flight attitude. On the interseat MISC panel you have the Force Trim (FT) switch, when both autopilots are engaged (AP1, AP2 on the interseat panel) this little switch puts the AW139 autopilot from SAS mode (Stability Augmentation System or hands-on-controls) to ATT mode (Attitude or hands-off-controls).

ATT mode enables two distinct functions:

  1. Couples the Flight Director (FD) to servos. Once a FD mode is selected (ie. HDG, ALT, etc…), this function allows the helicopter to fly autonomously and can be switched off by pressing CPL button (when it’s green) or by putting FT switch back to OFF;
  2. Freezes your cyclic in position. This function in particular is needed to fly hands-off controls, as in reality. The cyclick stick can be kept in position at the desired forward speed and nose pitch angle. To temporarily unlock the cyclic, keep your hands on it and release the locking system by pushing the FT REL button on the cyclic stick. You can even assign a key or a joystick button to it. Pilots normally leave the FT switch ON.

When ATT mode is ON, the cyclic hat switch trims the cyclic left or right. Pressing it up or down increases or decreases airspeed when IAS (indicated air speed) FD mode is activated. When ATT mode is OFF, pressing it left or right set the heading bug left or right. Pressing it at the center activates the HOV (hovering) mode, see here for details.


At the right of the FT switch there’s the Collective / Yaw Trim switch. Once activated it allows you to:

  1. Freeze your collective and pedals in position. Unlock them by using the CLTV/YAW REL switch below the collective stick. You can assign a key or a joystick button to it. When the CLTV/YAW trim switch is ON you can trim the collective up or down with the left hat switch (the one at the right controls the third external light spot below the fuseleage); normally the same hat switch has the function to set the reference target up or down once a FD collective mode (ie. ALTA or VS ) is activated;
  2. Trim your yaw left or right with the collective hat switch (left one). This function is really useful on longer leveled flights to achieve comfort and optimize fuel consumptions. You can reset the yaw trim by pressing the switch on top;

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Here’s a first article of a series dedicated to trouble-shooting. In this one we’ll explain how the auto-hover is operated on our AW139 version 4.00.


What you need to get first is how the auto-hover works in this very first release. Basically it works as the real one, once activated it will reduce all your X and Z axis velocity vectors to zero knots, in other words it will decelerate your horizontal directions until the helicopter will stay in position without speeding up, unless you decide. The Y axis, or vertical direction and speed, will be controlled through the collective. The more you raise it the higher the ascending speed and vice versa. Yaw, or nose heading around Y axis, is controlled with the pedals. Once activated, the autopilot attempts to keep the your heading steady. In adverse weather conditions, you may be asked to act a little bit more on the pedals. As explained in the guide provided with the product, auto-hover shoudn’t be engaged above 20 KTS. This is the limit speed above which the helicopter will have to reduce too much speed to keep the helicopter nearby where desired. Engaging the auto-hover abobe 20 KTS may give unpredictable results.


We’ve been actually implementing two types of auto-hover.

  1. Type A is hands-ON-controls is untied to the FT (force trim) system of the aircraft, in order to leave the pilot more control on the rolling and pitching axis. It’s designed to help out during manouvers, approaches, in adverse weather conditions and can be used to decelerate the aircraft.
  2. Type B is hands-OFF-controls and is tied to the FT (force trim) system. This is the stablest hovering mode and lets you put your hands off flight controls. When type B is engaged the nose pitches up +10° as described in this article. Being in conjunction with flight trim means that you can trim the direction and speed of auto-hover. As the real one, never exceed 60 KTS in this mode.


The two modes are mutually exclusive. They can be switched by switching ON (type B) or OFF (type A) the FT (force trim) switch on the MISC panel and then pressing HOV (hovering) mode button below on the FD (flight director) panel.

When Type B is engaged and no joystick is present, the collective raises automatically to the right blades pitch value, in other words it lets you achieve an automatic take-off, putting your aircraft steady ±5 ft.


HOV mode is designed to reduce horizontal speeds to zero, as in reality. This means you will always control the ascent or descent of the helicopter through the collective. When activated, the HOV mode changes the HSI on the MFD with a compass showing the velocity trend and direction, just like the real one.

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Introducing the Auto-Hover

Indeed we are very happy to inaugurate our brand new blog with the story of the first release of the auto-hovering system we bring to X-Plane through our AW139. When we first announced it, we were actually stuck on the programming, but the best was yet to come.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! I could go on about all kinds of aspects, the groundstone you have layed for future versions with the rebuild of the high res interior, sound, et cetera, et cetera. but you know the feeling when you jump into the machine and think you know everything and then you meet a totally different character, more sensitive and responsive, more powerfull in all aspects of flying and manoeuvring. I had the feeling I could thread a needle with it, even without auto hover.

The auto-hover is a pricy optional that Leonardo usually puts on the table with SAR and oil platform customers, such as Era Helicopters and Bristow, and with every clients whose operational needs ask for maximum stability. We got documented about the real thing first and at the beginning we have to admit it was really frustrating to find a clue about how to obtain that effect. Speaking with other developers not only didn’t solve any of our doubts, but made our thinking even more confusing. We then contacted Austin and his answer was even more frustrating.

Wait! X-Plane autopilot it’s not designed for that!

What we wanted to get was an hovering experience similar to the one of X-Plane AI when it’s asked to manage our helicopter’s take off. Have you tried it yet? It performs beautiful, steady hoverings while waiting the tower controller for permission to raise the collective, give pedals and push cyclic forward. Hovering is also used by AI to taxi the helicopter and we thought it would have been a super-feature for our helicopters.

Whe take our time to study how this was done, then we got coffee and seated in front of X-Plane searching for insights. The first thing we did was freezing the AI right after the hovering was started, in order to get unlimited time to observe the hovering. Once we got there, we attempted to change the aircraft heading and roll ratio via certain autopilot datarefs, only to understand that they were disabled since version 9… Thanks, Austin!

It’s important to explain here that, differently from other simulation platforms, X-Plane’s main asset resides into its phisics model, maniacally built around the mimic of real, in an effort that puts X-Plane into another world, with features and results a lot more complex and veritable than the beautiful eye-candies of the simulator that we all love so much. This means the only way to get what we wanted should have been get by replicating the real behaviour of the real helicopter. No other chances or crazy tricks, such as disabling the flight model as we did on a second attempt. So we got back to study.

Here’s how the type rating manual of the real AW139 explains the feature:

«The HOV mode utilizes the blended AHRS-GPS ground velocity information to provide commands that maintain longitudinal and lateral aircraft ground velocities for hovering and low speed flying. The HOV can be manually engaged by pressing the HOV push button on the Guidance Controller or by pressing the beep trim (Chinese-Hat fifth position) on the cyclic hand-grip. At the engagement the HOV mode velocity references are set to zero». The last sentence was illuminating.

First we had to find and then set all possible movement vectors to zero in a way that each one could reach the 0 in a progressive manner. It was not an easy task because, once we identified the correct way to do it, the phisics model started to put a lot of resistance (and still does, as you can see from the nose cursor in HUD mode vibrating when IAS gets near to zero). Anyway, after a series of attempt we find the correct values that our script would have overwritten on command. And so we did.

After e few lines of code and after creating a custom command to activate the plugin (you can assign it to a key to have the function ready when needed) the very first auto-hovering was a screaming surprise. The result was a stable, progressive hovering with just a flat pitch attitude which was not precisely what we wanted. The AW139 has the main rotor pitched -10° forward, while this solution makes cruise flight leveled and more comfortable for passengers, on the other hand it a little discomfort when hovering, because the nose pitches up +10° as the mast goes perpendicular to terrain.

We made to obtain this typical nose up attitude of the aircraft by associating the hover command to a specific pitching dataref, after a little more tweaking we got it working and tweeted joyfully about that. As you can see, the take-off (raise of collective) of the helicopter is indeed very sweet. This is due to an arbitrary automation we put on the blades pitch when flying with mouse. It’s obtained when ready for take-off by activating the FT (MISC PANEL) and the HOV button. This easter-egg – which is obviously not present on the real helicopter – raises the collective gently to the target pitch value, in other words the helicopter takes off and sets the hover automagically. Operating instructions here.

We hope you liked the story, it’s just a very little part of a huge effort of development running for three years now. We decided to share it to show how much effort is needed just to deliver one single feature of the helicopters we all love. Thanks for reading and spread the love for your developers!