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Helicopters not interacting realistically with water
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When a helicopter crashes into water at non lethal speeds, it should roll over and start to sink. The players aboard the vehicle then have a chance to get out or they drown. A high speed or very lethal crash should still kill you though. If the chopper is enclosed, you have to wait for it to fill with water until you can escape. If you do not have diving equipment, the longer you wait to escape would work like trying to stay underwater when you have no diving gear.

When you crash or land on water currently the heli sinks and kills you with no chance of escape and does not roll over first like a real helicopter would. Sunken helicopter also should not get the exploded wreck model.

Water is like quicksand for helicopters unfortunately as the beta. :(


Legacy ID
Game Physics
Steps To Reproduce

Place helicopter with players above water.
Preform a non-lethal crash into water or land on it to start sinking.
You are either forced out of vehicle or you drown.

Additional Information

What kind of roll, how quick the roll is and survivability depend on helicopter type. Though all choppers that fly over water have a way of escaping before or after you hit the water and start sinking. Aircraft such as the Ch-49 should be able to land on calm water for short periods of time as shown in the notes below.
When fixed wing aircraft are added they too should allow the occupants to escape as it starts sinking in a non lethal crash if the aircraft type allows for escape in real life.

Additionally emergency exits could be added as well to increase the realism.
Link to forum post:

Event Timeline

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes

agreed and upvoted

It's standard in the US Navy / Marines to use an Emergency Breathing System (EBS) to exit ditched helicopters. NATO were looking at making it standard and it's is standard in the North Sea oil industry. Examples / training videos here:!

I do agree that helicopters such as the chinook should be able to land on calm water for short periods of time to pickup swimmers, divers and boats.

Air vehicle interaction with water feels very Arcadish at the moment and could be made to interact better with the new water as infantry have been made to.

ChrisB added a subscriber: ChrisB.May 7 2016, 2:10 PM

Great ticket, nice to see this in-game..

agreed! got my +1

But I would like to add to this, the same should go for tree tops. I mean the tips of tree are the weakest, yet you just touch the tip and you go down in flames, I mean seriously.

It should be much like described with impact on water, touching the tips of trees should do little to no damage to the hull (body of the chopper), the more impact you make with trees, and lower you go, would knock your heli over, like a roll. If the rotors touch the tips then you loose control and sever damage to main rotors, then instead of just touch and your heli is fucked.

just my 2c

This suggestion was processed by our team and will be looked into. We thank you for your feedback.

Can the ch-47 float for a few second because I was bouncing the ghosthawk like a skipping stone off the water.

I tried touching the ch-49 to water, after the tire touched the engine began to break, it should float for a few seconds rather than sinking like quicksand.

Upvoted, very much so.

To test this:

1.) Hop into a helo.
2.) Hover slowly and gently into the ocean.
3.) Note how you die the very second the helo is completely submerged. No time to drown, just instant death.

In ARMA 3, it appears that every aerial crash into water means insta-death for the occupants, no matter what the velocity (you also cannot disembark if the helo is completely submerged).

In real-life, this is simply just not true.

A helo crashing into water is very much survivable. In fact, the U.S. military has machines that train people on what to do if they crash into the ocean in a helo.

See here:

No needed to add that Laqueesha, because I already detail how to reproduce it.

We just need to keep reminding people of this ticket and getting everyone we can to vote for it, sp we can do away with Arcadish water interaction.

Fisgas added a subscriber: Fisgas.May 7 2016, 2:10 PM

Upvoted, this would be a very interesting feature.

Why can't I set it to Arma 3 beta?

I can see it as Arma 3 beta.

That's because I set it to beta.

arziben added a subscriber: arziben.May 7 2016, 2:10 PM

now helos don't explode on water but as soon as they touch it (even with the gears) it highly damages some parts

Yea, the new helicopters are incredibly arcade like with their water interactions.

upvoted!, also- helis/ vehicles sunk in water sohuldnt change to "wreck" model.

Is this worded well enough for the devs to fix, or does it need to be better worded for them to do something about it?

Copters even happen to bounce off the water surface. That should be fixed.

I would say bounce depends, if the bottom is shaped like a boat, it makes sense like water planes bounce during take off and landing. Though a big thing for me is making the ch-49 "float" for a little bit for diver and boat recovery.

I saw a ghost hawk bounce like 50m high in game last night after crashing into the water when i shot it down... 50 meters! Needs fixing lol

Would you say the ticket is well written.

Bohemia added a subscriber: Bohemia.May 7 2016, 2:10 PM

votedup, current situation looks dramatical :(

Does VBS2 already have this stuff like it has everything else the community wants?

Hopefully this is implemented, I doubt any other combined arms game could say they have this.

Really need this do water isn't so arcadish anymore.

Also helicopter when hitting surface of the water should behave differently than when hitting the ground. It is not only about the crash but physically water is different than ground obviously.

Do this experiment - get two models of copters (can be some toys of your kids or so) and drop one off the 5 meters on the surface on of the ground.
Next fill the bathtube with enought water and drop it to it from the same altitude of 5 meters.

You would easily notice the difference in behaviour.

Thing the ArmA needs is simulating it, physx could handle it.

Wel that experiment isn't quite realistic, while the model helicopter, it's size and weight is scaled down, water isn't, and neither is a whole bunch of other variables. But you are right, it isn't the same, but it's very similar, so it's not necessary to simulate such small difference. Fact is water can be as hard as concrete, once it settles and the water tension broken, it will then sink.

I still think more effect could make it a little more awesome. When i chopper hits dirt or water, some particle effects surrounding it to simulate dirt or water thrown up from impact. This could make it feel a little more dramatic. Watch helicopter crashes in YouTube to see what i mean.

Simply add weight to both to compensate effect you've mentioned. Forces should be similar but scaled down.

As particle effects goes that is a must for polished game. I had these splashes and flying debris in my mind too. Right now even sounds for helicopter bouncing off the water surface are placeholders for the same on ground.

Low priority? I'd say this this is pretty high, even with TOH FM, it still forced you to restart when crashing into water. And 78 votes so far!

The water doesn't respond to downwash either. I mean, sure, a lot of particles swirl around as spray, but the water surface doesn't react at all.

So better downwash effects?

No, more like, more realistic water. That reacts to wind, etc. (there's another ticket that complains about gentle rolling waves when gusts have been maxed out).

I hate to say this, but look at Frostbite 3 as an example.

Yea it does, but it almost looks more Hollywood like too.

Lol that's why i didn't want to compare it. It's a bit too much.

Plus i'm sure DICE has more funds thrown at it than BIS currently has, but i don't know much about BIS so i won't comment further.

Edit: There a few people requesting Ageia/Apex/PhysX in game, and i thing water can use this too. Might be a solution.

Any news on making helicopter interact better with water currently?

The new helicopters including the ch-49 had there damage model reworked apparently in the dev build but I can't test to see how it works currently as I am holidays.

Can someone please test and confirm the current helicopter and water interaction ingame?

Tested this yesterday with the latest dev build. Helicopters will quickly begin taking damage once you get the water almost up to the engines from a hover. Once your chopper is disabled by the water, it sinks quickly and its still hard to get out (but possible). When you hover you also get sea spray coming up but the water doesn't ripple around where the helicopter is hovering.

So... As far as this ticket is concerned, I'd say its resolved even though the helicopter doesn't roll over when sinking.

The ticket includes more than that and that specifically is not as far as most would like it to go.

As far as the the things the ticket lists. Is mostly fixed. Some things are not practical so change: emergency exits are mostly the primary entries/exits already used. Helicopters do not "land and float on water" when this is done there is always power remaining on the rotors unless "ditching". Some aircraft do have the ability to remain afloat for some time with the rotors stopped, however if you were ever in that situation you would jettison your life raft and call for extraction.

I don't recall the helicopter rolling once sinking so maybe the ticket should stay open.

I'm only addressing those items specifically listed in the ticket.

The ch-49 is the only helicopter that requires the "floating" like ability for a few seconds like the ch-47 in real life, and yes rolling over before sinking is also part of the ticket.

I would say that the aspects described in this ticket would helicopters a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

Currently the helicopter sinks and then explodes suddenly looks like its exploded, once it hits the bottom.

  1. Here's what should happen, the damage model would depend on the speed of the aircraft.
  2. If it was not going an insane speed it would float for a second while it fill with water then roll over.
  3. After its rolled over and sinking, you have to wait for cabin pressure to become equal with the outside water. (let the inside fill with water).
  4. Aircraft commonly have small air tanks for emergencies such as this when they operate near and/or over water. Put it on to avoid drowning though things will still be a little blurry unit the water goes over your head.
  5. Now you trigger the emergency escape hatch or bust the window down.
  6. Swim to the surface.
  7. Await rescue or swim for it depending on medical situation.

If they implemented the suggestions that you just listed:
A. You jettison the escape hatches as soon as the aircraft hits the water.
B. You may as well have them add HABID bottles (helicopter aircrew breathing devices) and LPUs (life preserver units/flotation devices).

Yea I ment using HABID bottles and LPUs above, not all aircraft can jettison the escape hatches though.

And yay! It got assigned!

Hopefully the devs can implement this and make crashing into the water more enjoyable than just your dead or magic teleport to safety.

Also, if you're going at a speed and your wheels (JUST the wheels) dip into the water, shouldn't you simply skim the surface? Currently the heli becomes all slow and flips over.

Yea, thou I think that goes its what I said about water being like quicksand were once you touch it your pulled into it.

Touching your gear in the water at speed isn't a good idea as it creates drag and will cause you to crash. No reason to change that.

Notice how they were just barely skimming the surface of the water. If they allowed their wheels to go much deeper there would be so much drag that the planes would crash in the water.

indeed there would
but let's face it, in game, putting the gear in the water kills several parts without even needing any speed, and it shouldn't destroy anything UNTIL the aircraft actually crash into the water

If you read my comment above about testing this in the beta build, the damage doesn't really occur in a hover until you enter the water almost up to the engines.

Yes, but the what causes the damage is off and the water pulls the helicopter downwards like quicksand when when it contacts the water.

Any progress made on this so far? I haven't tested lately but I'll try later today.

When a helicopter wheels touch the water the engines are still damaged.

I also saw that when you crash into the water currently, the rotors magically disappear and the helicopter sinks right side up like a crane is lowering it down then explodes when it lightly taps the sea floor.

The MH9 can go quite deep, but the other helicopters can barely submerge the wheels before damaging the engines. Guess they should be fine as long as the rotors and/or the air intakes don't touch the water, but if they do, it should be intant disaster.

How about getting helicopters to react realistically to physics in general, especially on ground before focusing on water? When a chopper gets hit by explosives or even gunfire in mid air, it just drops, like the force of an rpg has no effect on it, it just falls right side up to the ground, and then... It bounces... Like a ball.

How are you all making a big deal out of the interaction of water, but not everything else?

Because there are other tickets for those issues. Plus there is much more space with water than land and water has been made better for Arma 3.

One more thing, hope i'm not repeating this: Try and sink a helicopter slowly, like, lower it into the water while hovering.

Engines die, bla bla, you get out (or get stuck inside and die, not important here), and watch the heli.

It sinks, intact, without any visible damage, and then the moment it hits the seabed, it instantly changes to look like it's been blown up and burned. Seriously?

Yea, these need to be fixed. When we make the crashes more realistic, instead of having it "your dead or floating" you would have to safely exit the helicopter after it rolls which would make crashing more fun.

ElHadji added a subscriber: ElHadji.May 7 2016, 2:10 PM

Engine shouldn't be damaged when wheels touch surface. Have a look at a SBS or Navy Seal speedboat helo exctraction and you know what I mean.

Tested this again with the latest dev build as of last night. Helicopters still plummet to the bottom of the ocean once the water touches the engine and it magically transforms to the damage model. Also, it is "insta-death" once this happens.

looks like devs have implemented gta vice city damage?

Yea... I thought vice city too. But this is the reason the ticket exists. Even vehicle don't get the explosion model when they touch the sea bed, but helicopters do.

Another thing I noticed was I accidentally touched the water going about 150 kph and the helicopter just froze there for a second. I pulled collective and continued flying just fine with slight damage to the hull I think.

Note: this is with the latest dev build as of today.

That has happened for a while.

Helicopter interact with water like they do in GTA vice city currently.

Hopefully progress on this issue will be made by the full game.

Tried landing in the water with a the green heli (really should memorize that things name other than "heavy") and as soon as the wheels submerged it took engine damage.

Weirder than that is the fact that when I flew up and out of the water, my screen went all red and hazey as though I were bleeding out too quickly or instantly drowning, I actually died in air, then the helicopter fell into the ocean.

Oh that glitch still exists?

It still exists. Happened to me the other day.

Yay you can now eject out of a sunken helo in the dev branch.


Created a "duplicate" which was closed... the following was my point

Ive noticed the changes and also appreciate the quick-fix... however

  • eject option "should" remain until death or destruction (die too quick)
  • player is nearly insta-killed when submerged (die too quick)
  • assume in most cases pilots die from drowning and not from injury also possibly add a temp_blackout and/or Fatigue_Effect upon impact followed by the classic "TAP BUTTON" option to attempt unjam/open canopy making it a challenge for the player to survive the crash without drowning
  • VS the scene/moment/event being uneventful and predictable
  • Adding realism and simulating weight/pressure/weakness Simply said it should be up to the player to eject or drown as implemented on ground vehicles. (sit in them and die or eject and swim away)
  • leading to an attempted recovery during mission

Referring to changes made: - ORIGINAL POST: [^]

The use the emergency window/ door opener is a good point but the rest of your post is more of a slightly less quicker fix to this issue. Fatigue effects and blackout effects would not be valid for a lot of crash scenarios either.

"also possible" implied non-priority (an idea)

main focus

  • is making sure I shared my ticket details in this post (copy/paste) since a Moderator closed it stating it is a duplicate when the subject was Tweaking and Idea VS this subject being focused on simply Tweaking.

this topic example

  • nearly every time Ive crashed a helo in the water im killed instantly because the "Eject" option lasts maybe 2 seconds even if I hovered down gently.

... then the cinematic death-cam shows the helo sinking (not destroyed)

I've been automatically ejected everytime I land in the water with the latest dev build.

We don't need automatic teleports out of your seatbelt and thru the glass and unopened doors. :(

Your ticket was a duplicate of this one. It was also about tweaking and making this "quick fix" a feature rather than waiting until proper interactions with water could be done.

^^^Helo is instantly destroyed (burned?) when it hits the bottom. Which shouldn't happen, of course.

oukej added a comment.Jul 14 2014, 1:53 PM

The behavior was changed quite a long time ago that you can eject when you land the helicopter on water but only before it gets submerged.

It isn't something one could label as "realistic", it still has to be a simple and one-for-all solution (can't e.g. solve it differently for different helicopters)

Let us know what you think, focus on the game-play in such situation.

Thank you!

I think you should not instantly die as soon as the helicopter starts to sink. It is not very realistic and not fun for the gameplay. The helicopter should sink slower and the crew has the time to eject until they are out of breath and drown.
-Of course if the helicopter hits the water too hard it will be deadly.

One more thing, is it possible if you could remove the "wreck"-thing if it hits the ground or at least give it 5 minutes until it turns into junk?