Based in Montreal, Canada, Milviz is a developer of a diverse range of flight simulation aircraft, from GA to military and airliners. Of late, we have seen (and reviewed) some very in-depth products and the developers have proved themselves as being well on top of their game.
The MilViz Huey UH-1 Redux package includes two variants of the Huey, the UH-1C (Bell 204), short body military utility transport helicopter, which was used in a close support/gunship role, and the UH-1H (Bell 205), long body military utility transport helicopter, by far the most popular variant used for troop carrying and medivac.
Milviz's original release of the Huey was over seven years ago and was based on the UH-1C version, this was result of a collaboration between themselves and Nemeth Designs. The UH-1 Redux is a completely rebuilt version for today's higher performance sims.
Officially the UH-1 series is called the Iroquois but its unofficial name, "Huey", became so commonly used that the AH-1 attack version was officially named the Huey Cobra.
The Huey story traces back some six decades. In 1955, with an interest in a utility helicopter designed around a turboshaft engine, the US Army had the US Air Force develop a new helicopter for its use, for as at that time, the US Army did not have its own aircraft development capability. The design selected, Bell's Model 204, was to be powered by a new Lycoming T-53 engine of some 1100-shaft horsepower and featured a typical Bell two-blade teetering rotor. The UH-1H was a troop-carrying version of the Huey and was powered with a 1400-shaft horsepower engine to cope with the extra weight.
The Bell Huey was the first mass-produced helicopter powered by a jet turbine. With its distinctive "whomp-whomp" sound that could be heard miles away, the UH-1 aircraft have totalled more than 27 million flight hours since Oct. 20, 1956 when the "granddaddy" of all H-1's, the XH-40, made its first flight. Since then, more than 16,000 UH-1 helicopters have been produced by Bell and its licensees making it the most successful military aircraft in aviation history.
The MilViz UH-1 Huey Redux is a download only product available directly from the developer (see link at bottom of review) or via resellers like Just Flight. If you use a 3rd party vendor, then be sure you are purchasing the UH-1 Redux version as I have seen the original Milviz/Nemeth version still out there for sale for not much cost.
This product is priced at £49.99, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. UK purchasers may be better off buying from Just Flight to counter fluctuations in the exchange rates used by the likes of PayPal and some credit card companies. The download size is approximately 292 MB and you will need 2 GB of free hard disc space to accommodate the installation.
The download and installation process is simple, seamless operation and the installer offers four simulator versions - FSX, FSX:SE, P3Dv2 and P3Dv3. At the end of the installation the Milviz Addon Management System (MVAMS) window pops up which allows you to configure each aircraft to your liking.
The main sections of MVAMS comprise of Controls, Crew, General and Radios pages. The Controls page allows you to assign a joystick button to switch the Force Trim on and off. Crew page will allow you to add a co-pilot and up to 4 passengers whilst the General page allows you to set a cold and dark state and show or hide doors, rescue hoist and weapons. On the Radio page, Milviz there are options to enable the built-in GPS compatibility with the Flight1 GTN series, Reality XP or Mindstar GNS 530 modules. Users of REX Advantage Radar are also taken care of, so a very versatile set of options.
The model features listed for the MilViz UH-1 Redux are extensive and typical of models produced by MilViz:
UH-1C & UH-1H included in package;
unique flight characteristics per version;
highly accurate flight dynamics;
model is capable of auto rotation;
susceptible to Vortex Ring State condition;
responsive to changes in weight and balance;
VRS TacPack ready;
high quality external model using normal, bump and specular maps;
high quality internal model complete with custom 3D gauges;
sophisticated cockpit lighting;
sounds recorded from an actual Huey;
model is highly configurable through the MVAMS application;
fourteen beautifully detailed liveries;
high resolution paint kit available for download; and
user manual, pilot's flight manual and video tutorials.
General. The UH-1 Huey should be instantly recognisable amongst military aviation enthusiasts, especially those interested in the history of the Vietnam War. Although the two models are derived from the same base aircraft, the external model shapes are entirely different. The UH-1C Huey has a squatter, more robust appearance, and it looks far more aggressive with miniguns and rocket launchers on both sides. The UH-1H looks more elegant with longer lines, extra side windows, and skids which give the UH-1H a nose-up attitude on the ground, it can also defend itself with pair of M60 door mounted machine guns.
Exterior. The 2048 textures allow for some very fine detailing of rivets, panel lines, decals, lettering and access panels. All surfaces appear to be bump and specular mapped so offer the most realistic look available. Where certain areas of the fuselage are subject to wear or discolouration through smoke or oil, they are given extra attention with the most notable being the area around the miniguns and rocket launchers on the UH-1C. Detailing on the top of the fuselage is top notch too with all the notable tubes bumps and pods being included. The UH-1H has quite a flat roof so makes it look more box shaped, but those pitot tubes and intakes are there too giving extra interest.
The rotor heads are identical on the two models, which I believe is incorrect, the UH-1C appears to be the design used for both models and looks to be extremely accurate to drawings on the internet. When the Huey is on the ground with the engine stopped, the rotor pitch is animated in conjunction with the collective, when the rotors are turning you can still see the collective levers and links moving in the head assembly, it looks very impressive. The use of the same design for the rotor doesn't bother me too much, but I would expect an aficionado wouldn't be too pleased.
Interior. The flight panels appear to be the same in both models, so once you have familiarised yourself with one flight deck, then you are good to go with the other. The UH-1C has the addition of an animated drop-down gunsight for the machine guns which has a lit reticle inside and both front seats have armour protection at the back and the sides, the rear seats however, do not have this protection. The rear space has a bench seat for a couple of crew which is perched above a huge magazine feeding the M134 guns on the sides. There are a couple of textural errors in the UH-1C such as reversed writing on a warning panel behind the pilot's seat (it is correct in the UH-1H) and missing textures on one first aid box, but other than that, the feel of the textures is spot on.
There may be areas where you never go and look, like the pilot's seat mounting and the base of the cyclic, but I can assure you the detail is incredible and obviously created by someone with great talent. The inside of the UH-1H is sparse, a bench seat and a couple of extinguishers and there is extra space around the engine compartments for extra carrying capacity or machine gunners. Unfortunately, I found another texture problem on the rear side of the pedestal which is showing textures used on the head of the collective, fortunately this does not detract from my enjoyment.
Flight Instruments and Systems. The steam cockpit doesn't take much getting used to and there aren't too many complicated helicopter specific instruments and controls. If you are already familiar with the basic gauges then you should feel comfortable in the Huey. Looking around the panels, the overhead panel houses the electrical power switches, interior and exterior lighting, wipers and cabin heat switches. The main panel has all the flight measurement and engine gauges. Finally, there is a long pedestal between the seats. The forward pedestal has controls for the force trim and hydraulics, warning lights, weapons control and fuel selection. The rear pedestal takes care of the communications receivers. Continuing with their use of realistic textures, Milviz have given the panels the same treatment too. You will find chips, scratches and scuffs, just as you would in the real thing, again, I was impressed at the attention to detail.
As we saw in the MVAMS, this simulation includes options for the GTN series, Mindstar and Reality XP series of GPS. There is no explanation as where these instruments would be situated, but usually they replace the comms radios and they are set back quite far on the pedestal. You always get a 2D pop up with the GTN Series so it should be easy to use. Everyone has access to the default GPS using Shift + 1, this being the bog-standard Garmin 295 as used in many other aircraft.
Models and Liveries. The UH-1 Huey Redux comes with a mixture of 13 military and GA liveries (I seem to have 1 missing from the advertised content), over the two models with the GA liveries only appearing on the UH-1H model (a selection shown below). All look to be very realistic and drawn to a very high standard. Most of the signwriting on the sides are clear enough to read and the paint suitably weathered. There is mention of a paint kit in the manual but it is not yet available and should eventually be available by download from the product link below.
This version Milviz The UH-1 Huey Redux has all the external moving elements most simulated helicopters have, they are all beautifully modelled and include:
spinning main rotor and tail rotor;
rotor collective pitch movement;
opening and removeable doors;
animated pilot; and
live, fireable weaponry when used with the 3rd party payware VRS TackPack.
The lighting and lighting effects on the Huey Redux are to a high standard and are a realistic representation of the real-world aircraft. The cockpit lighting has many controls in the overhead panel which can create an ambiance suitable for night flying. Externally, the position lights can be set to steady or flash mode with an additional switch for anti-collision lights. The landing lights have a nice feature in that they can be set to forward or straight down.
The sounds are exceptionally good and a high light of this model having been recorded from a real Huey. The engine sounds are accurate enough to believe they are real, especially when increasing the throttle before take-off. When in flight, at high bank angles or at some slower forward speeds the "whomp-whomp" sound kicks in and is very reminiscent of old Vietnam war movies, superb! Many of the switches in the cockpit click as they should and other sounds such as closing doors are there, but very subtle.
Milviz claim there are unique flight characteristics per version dependent on weight. In theory, the UH-1H should be the nimbler given its extra power and this is shown in the specifications in the tables above. In practice, I didn't really notice an appreciable difference in the two models so I looked into the air files, and the only difference I could find was the UH-1C took 120 lbs less fuel weight than the UH-1H making the CoG 4 ft further back from the main rotor. This weight difference is also shown in the aircraft config file.
Another reason for them feeling similar in flight I would put down to my flight controls. I am using a self-centring joystick and pedals. In the real machine the cyclic would be free-moving and you would get very little feedback through the stick. When I am flying with my Thrustmaster T-1600, I am constantly applying pressure against the spring. The only answer to this would be to buy a joystick with removeable springs or invest in a proper cyclic, collective and rudder set up. I am hoping that the force trim modelled in the Huey works as promised as this will help to hold the pitch.
So, on with the flight. Both models feel as though they are a much bigger aircraft in that they are, being quite steady at very low altitudes and not too twitchy, so much so, even with my questionable rotorcraft flying skills, I became quite adept at approach and landing in a confined space within a matter of hours. The point to point stuff was easy at higher altitudes but the most fun I had was chasing cars along tree-lined and mountainous roads.
The manual clearly illustrates the start-up and shutdown procedures and these are fun to do especially with the engine sounds being so good. Also included are a couple of phenomena experienced in helicopters but not usually well modelled in the sim, they are auto rotation and vortex ring state (VRS) and I am hoping to include these in a test flight later.
Take Off. As soon as the Huey leaves the ground you experience the torque induced yaw, which requires some left pedal to counter, this turning force lessens once the aircraft is moving forward. When increasing the collective, there is a low RPM alarm if you pass the red line on the torque pressure gauge, this must surely be a bug unless it is a high RPM warning too? I saw no mention of the in the manual. Only small control inputs are required at this stage especially if you are wanting to hover or taxi to the runway.
In Flight. The Huey will accelerate very quickly up to speed but when manoeuvring, again the Huey feels predictable and sluggish just like a much bigger bird, I could perform stall turns without too much fuss in the recovery but felt I needed a lot more practice before trying anything like an auto rotation. The Huey also features force trim, I found this one a little difficult to get used to and wondered if it was working at first. I was expecting the force trim to rigidly hold my attitude and direction but it's not a form of auto pilot, there is no feedback from any of the systems to amend the trim, I found myself applying it several times as it does tend to drift a little.
The manual gives you an eight-point recovery procedure for an engine failure using auto rotation recovery. So, off I went climbing to the stated height of 1500 ft and cut the throttle, this is not as easy as it sounds as you have to use the mouse wheel to twist the throttle on the collective, I found I could cut the throttle using the mixture keyboard setting (Ctrl Shift F1 and - F4 for full) for future flights I will map a joystick key.
At my designated altitude and with plenty of forward motion (yes, I crashed the first time because I was hovering, see VRS later), cutting the throttle immediately sets the alarms sounding and the N2 indicator dropping to nil. As prescribed I was able to maintain 70 kts descending at about 700 fpm until about 150 ft pulling back on the cyclic to bring the speed back to 40 kts, and to descend at a shallower angle until levelling off and making a rolling landing. Phew!
So, feeling a lot more confident I thought I would try VRS. This is the most destructive and difficult situations to recover from. Again, the user manual sets the scene and this was exactly what I had already experienced in my first botched attempt at auto rotations. The manual advises you can enter this state when travelling less than 20 kts airspeed with a descent rate of 900 fpm or more. Once in VRS the descent speed increases at a very rapid rate, and unless you get your nose down to gain airspeed, you are going to crash as the collective loses its effectiveness. Yep, been there, done that! Knowing what to expect I took the Huey up again in a high hover.
This time I knew what to expect, and sure enough things started to get nasty. The Huey will get into a violent clockwise spin if you let it, so immediate left anti-torque rudder and cyclic forward and things start to calm down, once enough forward speed is achieved it's as though nothing happened.
So for me, although the day to day flying of the Huey can be mundane, doing stunts and missions is great fun. I would judge this to be a fair representation of the performance of the real aircraft.
To really appreciate the look and feel of the Huey the way the developer designed it, Milviz have posted the following to give you more of an insight.
There are four manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) for the UH-1 Huey Redux:
BladeSlapSND.pdf – a 9 page document about the blade slap effect;
Milviz UH-1 User Guide – an 18 page document which describes the panel layout, normal procedures and emergency procedures;
MVAMS Guide – a 7 page guide to the MVAMS system; and
UH-1H Flight Manual – a 444 page real world operator's manual. This document makes for some interesting reading but not essential to fly the sim.
To gain access to these documents you must navigate to the Huey simobjects/rotorcraft/Huey/Documents/ folder. It would be useful to have a link from the MVAMS or the start menu.
Considering there are two top-notch models included I would consider this to be good value for money. Much is shared between the two models regarding the flight dynamics but the visual models are totally different.
The helicopter models performed excellently within the existing settings I have in P3D. I have most of my settings set very high and there was no need to make any adjustments. There was no discernible frame rate impact directly attributable to the Milviz UH-1 Huey Redux and P3D continued to perform smoothly.
This version of the Milviz UH-1 Huey Redux is for FSX / FSX SE / P3D only. Other specified technical requirements (minimum / recommended) are as follows:
FSX with SP1 and SP2 installed (or Acceleration Pack), FSX Steam Edition, or P3D Flight Simulator (v2.5 or v3.4);
CPU: 2.6 Core 2 Duo / i7 960;
Memory: 4 / 8 GB RAM;
Graphics: 512 MB / 1 GB video card; and
Storage: 1.2 GB free disk space.
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
Intel Core i7 4770K @ 4.2 GHz;
Nvidia GTX980 Ti, 6 GB;
16 GB, DDR3, 1,866 MHz;
Windows 10 Pro, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin Prepar3D V126.96.36.19970.
The Milviz Huey Redux is without a doubt a very high performing product in regards to visual appearance and flight dynamics. In regards to the limitations the core product places on helicopter simulation, Dutch Owen has managed to create some very realistic flying situations.
There are a few textural bugs, but overall the Huey looks the business. An excellent product in regards to performance and craftsmanship.