Howto:Make a helicopter
In this howto we model with SketchUp, a free modeling tool from Google. Download it at http://sketchup.google.com.
What we need:
- Plans: for the helicopter you want to model, side views, top views, bottom views; as many diferent views as you can find.
- Photos: as many as you can find of different angles to.
- Measurements: if you do a search of the heli in google you can find lots of essential measurements such as length, breadth, height, rotor thickness, angles etc. You will need all this and possibly a little more.
Now we import a top plan of the helicopter into SkecthUp as an image and drawing over the top to create the tough shape of the body. Then it is a case of fine tuning it over a period of days/weeks/months. Keep in mind that your model will get heavier the more lines it has. So you need to choose between extreme quality or a small file, or pick something between that.
Group the fuselage together and create a seperate file for each part. The rotors in a seperate file, cockpit etc. Then, as you get some semblance of order, you can start pasting in place and it starts to look something. There is no hard and fast rule, no easy way around and no substitute for hours.
Use all the different face views in SketchUp, such as wireframe and X-ray so you can see everything you are doing. Keep checking if the faces are aligned; with the white face outside and purple inside (or that face will not be shown in flightgear). You could check this by going into View > Face style > Monochrome in Sketchup. If a face is placed with purple side outside reverse it with Right Mouseclick > Reverse faces.
If you are using the free version of SkecthUp you need Blender to convert the .skp file that SkecthUp creates to the .ac file that FlightGear uses. See Modeling - SketchUp for a tutorial about that.
Place the .ac and texture files in FlightGear/data/aircraft/your_heli/Models/.
Flight Dynamics Models (FDM)