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Aircraft pitch trim control, best method?


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rmack1

I have an older throttle that has a thumb radial dial that I used for pitch trim control.  I like it because it has an indent you can feel when you're rotating the dial that lets you quickly find center trim.

I bought a whole new, very expensive Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog set up, and it mimics the real world aircraft by having the trim on a hat switch on the joystick operated with the right thumb.  Sure, pretty realistic, but how do I quickly find neutral pitch trim?

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fidd

Modelling trim at all is basically a waste of time, it's very easy on a real aircraft because you're trimming off stick-forces you can physically feel, so it's very simple to do and provides no additional workload to the pilot once he's flown a little. In sims, you generally have no force-feedback to help, and if you do, in my experience, it's very poorly implemented. Which leaves pilots having to trim by seeing if the aircraft diverges in pitch, a tiny movement, and relatively difficult to get right, so an artificially difficult to get right. This is a general comment on games and sims. Few if any of the aircraft we fly had electric pitch-trim, so a wheel is more realistic than a hat-switch in any case. 

Unfortunately modelling pitch-trim is seen as a marketable "realism" for game and sim pilots, by games developers, and do this fairly high workload method is generally required, where by rights it's as easy, effortless as changing gear in a car, but much harder than changing gear to implement with the same effortless workload.

My advice, put your Thrustmaster back in it's box and carry on with the old throttle. CH Fightersticks/throttles both have wheels capable of being assigned to pitch-trim, although CH are no longer supporting the programming software that came with the stick after Windbloze porked it. 

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mobius

Hey rmack1,

Haven't played for ages, not sure if this is still relevant. What I've used in the past is incremental (digital) trim control. I've never tried controlling trim with an axis (analog). The obvious advantage of digital control is there is no question where your trim is positioned. Example: 4 clicks up and 4 clicks down is back in centered state. It sounds like your old setup used an axis (with center detent) and your new setup is using digital control via a HAT switch.

While you can do amazing things with HOTAS software alone, used in conjunction with custom keymaps you can do even more. What I did is use ideas from sgtspoon's keymaps while following the game's default keymaps as much as possible. I assigned aircraft trim controls around the I J K L keyboard region. Then once that is done, I used HOTAS software to assign those keys to buttons as I saw fit.

Having a keymap to re-center trim is useful. If the HAT also works as a button you could use that. Are you are comfortable with editing keymap files? This is the keymap I use to assign the U key to re-center the elevator trim (ignore the index="5", I believe that is auto-generated by the keymapper, so leave that out I think):

	<control function="Elevator trim">
		<keyabsolute value="50.00" index="5">
			<key>u</key>
		</keyabsolute>
	</control>

Note: You may or may not already have an air.cfml file in your documents\WWIIOL\cfml directory. If not you can use the keymapper in-game to generate one by adding a keymap, and then exiting the keymapper interface. To generate an air.cfml file, you will need to add a keymap that applies to all aircraft. Any keymap will do, you simply want the game to generate the file. You could use my example, assign U as a secondary control for elevator trim (up or down), then edit that section afterwards.

Test it in-game, change the evevator trim, let the aircraft settle, then press U (or whatever you assigned). Then use your HOTAS software to assign the keymap (U) to whatever button you please. In other words when you press that button on your joystick, it types a (U).

While all this seems a bit convoluted, it's nessessary because: the in-game keymapper can do things that directly affects your game state (ie: set flaps at 20%), while the HOTAS software cannot. In simpler terms, your workflow is: in-game keymapper > HOTAS & software

I've gone so far as to setup trim keys for elevator, aileron, rudder with center keys for each. While I've only used aileron trim maybe once or twice babying a broken bird home, I would use elevator trim every flight. And rudder trim is simply amazing when you have been hovering on station for like an hour and you need to pee, lock that thing in a circle and go relieve yourself :P

While everyone has their own way to do things, I'll leave some final thoughts that I try to stick to for keymaps and HOTAS controls:

  • change defaults as little as possible
  • make very few changes at any one time
  • use positional keymaps that work with your brain (ie: towards Escape (or left) = out or off, towards Enter (or right) = in or on)
  • eliminate potential action interrupting keymaps (ie: Shift-Escape to exit the gameworld rather than just Escape)
  • simplify things with modifier keys where possible (ie: W for incremental flaps, Shift-W for full flaps)
  • keep similar keymaps throughout (ie: I use [ and ] for prop pitch since its the default for vehicles to shift gears up or down)

Anyways, maybe something above will "help you get your head around it". I just happened to stroll by this forum, hopefully others can chime in if you get stuck.

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  • 2 weeks later...
usaf77

I have good luck assigning trim to the small hat on my X52Pro throttle.

I find trimming very useful in the game, at least the elevators. The planes in the game generally dont need much rudder or aileron trimming. Airplanes like the Spitfires really need constant attention to trim for the elevators. I find if Im not trimmed right it makes it hard to keep a stable gun platform. Of course foot rudders are very useful to adjust your shooting picture. S!

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rmack

I had to go back to my old throttle, a Saitek X56 HOTAS which kind of sucks because I bought the new one.  It's a good throttle though.  I use the larger rotary wheel operated by left thumb.  It has a detent in the middle to quickly find neutral trim, and has a long throw for minute trim adjustments.

I'll tell you though, my new TPR pendulum rudder pedals are the bomb.

Edited by rmack
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rmack
On 3/29/2021 at 3:57 AM, mobius said:

Hey rmack1,

Haven't played for ages, not sure if this is still relevant. What I've used in the past is incremental (digital) trim control. I've never tried controlling trim with an axis (analog). The obvious advantage of digital control is there is no question where your trim is positioned. Example: 4 clicks up and 4 clicks down is back in centered state. It sounds like your old setup used an axis (with center detent) and your new setup is using digital control via a HAT switch.

While you can do amazing things with HOTAS software alone, used in conjunction with custom keymaps you can do even more. What I did is use ideas from sgtspoon's keymaps while following the game's default keymaps as much as possible. I assigned aircraft trim controls around the I J K L keyboard region. Then once that is done, I used HOTAS software to assign those keys to buttons as I saw fit.

Having a keymap to re-center trim is useful. If the HAT also works as a button you could use that. Are you are comfortable with editing keymap files? This is the keymap I use to assign the U key to re-center the elevator trim (ignore the index="5", I believe that is auto-generated by the keymapper, so leave that out I think):


	<control function="Elevator trim">
		<keyabsolute value="50.00" index="5">
			<key>u</key>
		</keyabsolute>
	</control>

Note: You may or may not already have an air.cfml file in your documents\WWIIOL\cfml directory. If not you can use the keymapper in-game to generate one by adding a keymap, and then exiting the keymapper interface. To generate an air.cfml file, you will need to add a keymap that applies to all aircraft. Any keymap will do, you simply want the game to generate the file. You could use my example, assign U as a secondary control for elevator trim (up or down), then edit that section afterwards.

Test it in-game, change the evevator trim, let the aircraft settle, then press U (or whatever you assigned). Then use your HOTAS software to assign the keymap (U) to whatever button you please. In other words when you press that button on your joystick, it types a (U).

While all this seems a bit convoluted, it's nessessary because: the in-game keymapper can do things that directly affects your game state (ie: set flaps at 20%), while the HOTAS software cannot. In simpler terms, your workflow is: in-game keymapper > HOTAS & software

I've gone so far as to setup trim keys for elevator, aileron, rudder with center keys for each. While I've only used aileron trim maybe once or twice babying a broken bird home, I would use elevator trim every flight. And rudder trim is simply amazing when you have been hovering on station for like an hour and you need to pee, lock that thing in a circle and go relieve yourself :P

While everyone has their own way to do things, I'll leave some final thoughts that I try to stick to for keymaps and HOTAS controls:

  • change defaults as little as possible
  • make very few changes at any one time
  • use positional keymaps that work with your brain (ie: towards Escape (or left) = out or off, towards Enter (or right) = in or on)
  • eliminate potential action interrupting keymaps (ie: Shift-Escape to exit the gameworld rather than just Escape)
  • simplify things with modifier keys where possible (ie: W for incremental flaps, Shift-W for full flaps)
  • keep similar keymaps throughout (ie: I use [ and ] for prop pitch since its the default for vehicles to shift gears up or down)

Anyways, maybe something above will "help you get your head around it". I just happened to stroll by this forum, hopefully others can chime in if you get stuck.

Thanks for the lengthy response, mobius.  Can you elaborate more on how to set up incremental flaps?

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adam1168

@mobiuswelcome back mobius, hope you will be with the allies next map , good to see you are still here!

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rmack
17 minutes ago, adam1168 said:

@mobiuswelcome back mobius, hope you will be with the allies next map , good to see you are still here!

Hey, Adam, do you know how to set up incremental flaps?  I really need to get this going if I'm going to be competitive in fighters.

 

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rmack
21 hours ago, griffon said:

https://youtu.be/yY1lVB_bHHM @rmack 

Also game has a hud you can trim your aircraft to have 0.0 aoa for optimal speed in level flight

I think I remember that.  How do you bring it up?

 

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griffon

I think it is Y that bring that up. I might have customized that key map though. 

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On 4/8/2021 at 3:38 PM, adam1168 said:

@mobiuswelcome back mobius, hope you will be with the allies next map , good to see you are still here!

Hey @adam1168, good to seeya bud! Hello and <salute> to all the rest of yas too ;)

On 4/8/2021 at 4:25 PM, griffon said:

https://youtu.be/yY1lVB_bHHM @rmack 

Also game has a hud you can trim your aircraft to have 0.0 aoa for optimal speed in level flight

Good tutorial on setting up incremental flaps. In the tutorial, when editing the files in Windows notepad, the text looks a bit wonky. The game creates keymap files with Unix line endings.

@rmack I'd suggest using another text editor like TextPad (shareware) or Notepad++ (opensource) if you are on a Windows computer. I use a batch script to convert text files to Windows format but I wouldn't feel safe posting it (since someone could mess things up with that).

Anyhow, just for reference I'll post the control section for flaps from my air.cfml:

	<control function="Flap control">
		<keydelta value="20.00" per="keypress">
			<key>w</key>
		</keydelta>
		<keydelta value="-20.00" per="keypress" index="1">
			<key>q</key>
		</keydelta>
		<keyabsolute value="0.00">
			<key>left shift</key>
			<key>q</key>
		</keyabsolute>
		<keyabsolute value="100.00" index="10">
			<key>left shift</key>
			<key>w</key>
		</keyabsolute>
	</control>

The above uses W to extend flaps in 20% increments or Shift-W for full flaps, and Q to retract flaps in 20% increments or Shift-Q for no flaps. For anyone interested in using the above, do change W and Q to keys that work with your setup (I don't think those are the defaults). Also, as in the previous post I would suggest leaving out the index="xx" bits.

-----

The public facing area of these forums is VERY sparse. Unless someone logs in they only see like two sub-forums here. Ty to rmack and others for posting random questions etc to give those of us that almost never log in something to see if / when we happen on by.

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