Auto Stabilizing Helicopter

Given that real helicopters require computer assistance to do it, or continuous input from the pilot, it would seem unlikely that it can be done in Besiege using the components we have. At best, we should be able to come up with a system that only requires minimal input to do this - though even that isn't easy. The problem is that 'staying in place' requires either some means of detecting and correcting movement relative to the environment (helicopters sometimes use doppler radar to do this), or a system which precisely balances all forces in each direction - the slightest error creating an acceleration. Of course, once the helicopter starts drifting fast enough, aerodynamic forces can help limit the drift, but they can't on their own restore the original position and lack of movement.

Edit: thinking about this, there is an exception, in as much as ground effect will make a helicopter auto-stabilising as far as height above ground is concerned. Provided it is within ground-effect range - around main-rotor diameter at most, but generally only significant when lower. And as far as I'm aware, Besiege doesn't model ground effect - or if it does, it isn't obvious.
Sadly I can't recall seeing any helicopters (without balloons)that could stop moving in a stable hover without any control input. Balloons make it easy to achieve but that is kind of cheating. Maybe with some clever gyroscopes and a very low center of mass it might be possible.
Well if you've actually come up with a helicopter that will hover in place with no control input, I'm sure we'd all like to see the bsg file so we can try it for ourselves.
It actually does auto stabilize a tiny bit. Not enough to be useful, and it only seems to do it sometimes. Still the effect is there.


Staff member
I tried stabilizing something with heavy weights in the contract-thinges. It kinda worked. Maybe balloons?
Vandom. It stabilizes because the propellers in the back go in a different direction. The front and back propeller generate enough force to keep it in the air, and the propellers in front have enough counter force which make it quite stabile. I guess it's possible to optimize this.
I think it's quite possible in this game if you are talking about one that gradually stabilizes and hover without inputs. This is only a physics game afterall

Many control buttons but if you just want to see it fly up and down:

F = spin rotor
N/M = adjust angle of wings to balance the upward force
Y/H = helicopter up/down

if done right should be able to stay in the air and gradually swing back to normal position

Attached Files
flying machine 8.bsg
I'm trying right now but the effect is so small it is really difficult to get something useful out of it. Still working, hopefully might get a breakthrough.
Edit: I'm getting a lot of stabilization but not getting any auto effect. I'm starting to think I was imagining the auto effect.
That's certainly impressively stable, poptato, and as you say, it seems to damp out lateral movement without input - it doesn't actually hover in one place though, in as much as it's more or less impossible to eliminate vertical movement - there is no damping there, and apparently nothing to provide such damping. Unless Besiege models ground effect.

Thinking about it, I seem to remember from what I've read on the subject that aircraft stability is generally defined as the tendency to return to a given state if disturbed - which is harder to achieve than simply remaining in place if not disturbed, at least in the short term.

Of course, in the real world the air is never still, which makes hovering in one spot even harder.
FugitiveCamel I did some experimenting with your side spinners and made my own version. It hardly looks nice but It was just to test with. Final results far exceeded my expectations.

A little summary on how I think it works.(feel free to correct me if wrong)
-Side props create a lot of air resistance
-Main rotor/rotors supply a gyro effect
-A very low center of mass means it wants to stay upright
-The gyro effect works with the low center of mass to upright it when tilted, while the massive air resistance stops its movement, and gives it time to upright.

It won't hover perfectly but the self stabilizing criteria is met.

Edit: Controls:
-Pitch up/down
-Roll left/right
-Yaw 6/4
-Hover 5
-Ascend 5+8
-Descend 5+2

Attached Files
Auto Stable.bsg
I had a breakthrough by adding a low center of mass. I might try and make a better version, this one really had me pulling my hair out trying to get it working so I might take a break first. I'll try and post up the control system by itself some time. It is a great starting point to work from if you don't mind an inherently high center of mass.