A short overview of the DCS Mi-8MTV2 "Magnificent Eight"
Updated: Mar 16
The Hip is one of only two dedicated cargo helicopters capable of light combat in DCS World. It is the largest flyable helicopter in the simulator, with the capability of providing both close air support (CAS) and cargo lifting for the troops on the ground. These capabilities alone make it an outstanding module on its own, but with the upcoming Mi-24P; this helicopter will become a much more interesting piece of the DCS ecosystem.
During the last free-to-play period, I dedicated myself to spending as much time as possible with the Hip to be able to write a short piece about it. So be warned, I am in no way an expert when it comes to this bird. Although, all I can say is that this experience made me want to buy it really hard.
This is not a review, but an overview. There are things I will omit for the sake of brevity and to leave some points so that the inevitable review is a bit more complete and less redundant. With that being said, let's take a look at this beautifully ugly bird.
A MISLEADING FRONT COVER, A TYPICAL SOVIET TOUCH
My first impressions of the Hip came in the form of what I'd consider a, to put slightly, overwhelming sense of dread as I started at view from the pilot's seat. To put this into perspective, most of my time spent flying helos in DCS has been on the UH-1H Huey. I'd consider the Huey a relatively straight-forward helicopter when it comes to its learning curve as it has relatively few controls and a simple cockpit layout. The Mi-8, in the other hand...
For a novice, this is a terrifying first impression. In fact, I had the same impression when I flew the Fishbed for the first time in DCS as well; but just like the Fishbed's, this cockpit layout is much more intuitive and simpler than at first glance.
You will have to adapt to the very different design philosophy that the Soviet Union's design bureaus had, that's it. The moment that that clicks on your head, things start becoming easier to understand. I thought that I would have had to spend hours upon hours learning, but I was in the air only half an hour after learning how to start it up. Overall, it was easy enough.
Compared to the Huey, it might be a handful to manage alone. Since you will have to switch around from one seat to the other to have easier access to certain panels, such as the armament panel that is on the co-pilot side or the top rows of instruments and circuit breakers that are easily accessible by the flight engineer/navigator. Sadly, it does NOT have multicrew as of the writing of this article, so you are stuck managing this bird on your own.
A HEAVY ARMED BIRD THAT FLIES LIKE A FEATHER IN THE WIND (WITH EXCEPTIONS)
I have got to say something: The Mi-8 flies much differently than I thought. Since it is a lot heavier than the Huey, I expected it to be sluggish and that it would require much more collective to get off the ground. Oh boy, how wrong I was.
This thing has power, a LOT of power. It only takes a bit of collective to make it go and as long as you know how to manage your trim and activate the stability augmentation, it is also surprisingly easy to fly too!
Despite everything I said until now, the Mi-8 does have some quirks which you will have to get used to. For instance, I found it much easier to fall into a ring vortex state than with the Huey. It could have been that my approaches were too steep, that I just lacked the experience with the type and my inexperienced self was flying it as if it just were a big Huey.
It took me a bit to adjust to the small quirks and found myself enjoying flying it around both the Caucasus and the Persian Gulf with the same ease as with my other helos. It is, without a doubt a very interesting and fun bird to fly.
There is just one thing left to address from the section header: armament. Sincerely, I was a bit underwhelmed by the armament but it is ok, this is supposed to be a cargo aircraft first, attack aircraft second. I still had enough variety to play around for a bit.
There's something about these cargo aircraft showing their fangs that always brings a smile to my face, a smile that can only become larger by those waterfall-like casings falling out as my pods reign fire. Such a blast, quite literally!
OVERVIEW CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE PLANS
When it comes down to getting the job done, the Magnificent Eight will not disappoint. It is, as of now, the most capable cargo helicopter in the simulator in my humble opinion. But, just kike every module in this and all other simulators and games, the Hip does not exist on a vacuum.
Against the venerable Huey, the Mi-8 is a great counterpart while also being unique and distinct from any other helicopter out there, both aesthetically and functionally. There is, however, a big "but" in this case; at least to me.
Soon a certain, let's say, distant cousin of this craft that I am quite interesting in. The Hind is fast approaching and with it, a whole new world of possibilities arise. Joint missions where Hips and Hinds assault together, each complementing each other's flaws and shortcomings. Even with that said, if I could only choose between a Hind and a Hip, I would always pick the former. It has light troop carrying capabilities as well as a lot of power for sling loading cargo, oh, and do not forget that it carries a lot more of a punch when it comes to armament.
The Mi-8, on the other hand, is more of a tactical cargo helo with an emphasis on troop transport and light combat. Nothing like its cousin, but close enough to form some parallels as to how these two will complement each other in the DCS ecosystem.
At the moment, all we can do is wait for this Soviet duo to be reunited in DCS. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.
About the writer:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and content manager ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034