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Watch one of Arma's best pilots take on the new helicopter update

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Yesterday Bohemia Interactive released their latest free update for Arma 3, along with a paid DLC pack including new aircraft and a few new game modes. The focus of the update was an improved helicopter flight model. True to form, Arma community member (and Bohemia contractor) Andrew "dslyecxi" Gluck posted a video to share his thoughts.

What makes Gluck such a valuable voice on the topic of helicopters is the fact that he's recently taken to flying them in real life, spending many hours at the controls of a Robinson R-44 and a Vietnam-era OH-6. His experience is detailed, in the first person perspective of course, in his new YouTube series.

Veteran players may be taken aback by the differences in the flight model. Bohemia has taken much of what they learned making Take On Helicopters and shoehorned it into their milsim sandbox. While it enriches the experience of flight, it also introduces new problems for budding pilots.

The first hurdle is remapping the controls so that Arma can get out of its own way. Gluck says that the collective, a flight control unique to helicopters, is not mapped correctly for those with certain throttle peripherals. Once you set it straight, as he shows you how to do in the opening minutes of his video, helos become a lot easier to control.

The biggest change, Gluck says, comes in a more nuanced damage model. Now Arma pilots can do complex landing maneuvers, like sliding landings and takeoffs, safely. They can also land on buildings more reliably without blowing up. Helicopter rotors can collide with light poles and other obstructions without blowing up the whole craft. Unfortunately, rollovers are still 100 percent catastrophic and trees seem to be made out of "explosive cotton candy."

Overall, Gluck has good things to say about the update, which also includes new features like sling loading equipment to the bottom of helicopters and the ability to fire personal weapons from vehicles. If you are invested in the Arma series, or are shopping for a helicopter simulator, his video is worth your time.

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