How Actually Useful Are Multicrew Aircraft?

I’ve seen videos of people doing that and it sure looked like they were having loads of fun!

Also: I wish they made at least the copilot seat in the Huey playable in MP. That could be a blast.
Even better would be the door gunners,too.
Imagine four people in MP flying a Huey, shooting everything with gatlings. To me that sounds like it could be great fun!


ArmA2/3 has this, even if more on the arcade side of the house.


An interesting discussion!

I concur with @Hangar200, @Aginor, @Franze etc. - helicopters seem like a great opportunity for multicrew in terms of the balance of usefulness and enjoyment.

Take the Huey - either pilot can fly, but the left-seat has the flex guns sight, which can’t be used to its maximum capability at the moment. Two pairs of eyes in the cockpit would be great for spotting incoming fire too. The door guns would be fun, although for effective fire the AI door gunners are hard to beat, so it would mostly be for entertainment.

We don’t have a fully fledged 2-seater attack helicopter yet, but I’d imagine the WSO would have enough to do in those to make it fun and usually you can fly from either seat. The Gazelle kind of has that (and people have noted above that it’s fun) but obviously it’s light in terms of weaponry and sensors - having some serious optics, ATGMs, rockets and the gun to play with would be even better.

With fixed-wing, that balance of fun vs. usefulness for the backseaters is more of an issue, I think.

I can see Tomcat RIO stuff being fun but I don’t think I have the time in my life to train for it…but hopping in the WSO seat of a helo in casual MP and spending a bit of time being driven around by someone else while I lob off TOWs? Sure! Seems like less of a commitment.

Same thing with an Intruder, to be honest - I would love to have the time to find an online friend to really become a crack team in an Intruder…but sadly I think that’s not a realistic dream for me right now (…even if we had an Intruder, that is).

In saying that, I do wholeheartedly support the development of (optionally) multicrew aircraft, so that when I one day have the time, I can get into it. :slight_smile:

What was the task division like for the 'nam era ground pounding F-4? I think It would be pretty cool to sit in the back and spot SAMs and keep MiG watch…


This would be pretty cool. I can see some small scale (2-4 helicopters) supporting each other as pretty interesting gameplay.


Speaking first-hand, flying as RIO is an absolute blast. I’ve trained a couple of RIOs, and I’ve also trained a handful of pilots from the RIO seat.

The crew coordination aspect of the F-14 makes it a lot of fun. It’s because the division of labor is strictly defined that makes the coordination an enjoyable challenge. The RIO station is very analog and hands-on, so the RIO is never “just a passenger.” Any RIO acting like a passenger is doing it wrong, because there’s always something you can be doing.

For people who want to train as a RIO, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Go through the RIO training missions. They are designed to be more open-ended than most training missions, allowing you to become familiar with the systems and the buttonology.
  2. Find a pilot and set up a sandbox mission. I recommend Fishbreath’s Super Multiplayer Range, as it allows you to pick and choose your own targets and their parameters. You can work on your coordination this way.
  3. Try your luck in a tactical environment, once you feel ready.

Finally, LANTIRN employment is especially rewarding. Check out my guide on multi-crew LANTIRN employment.


I think that you can test combat effectiveness of Ka-50 your self :wink: And I know that they prove that already in Chechnya.

Multicrew in DCS sounds as interesting concept to me, but never tried it myself.

Or… We could do the same with an F-111 module!!! :crazy_face:

(Hehehe…just trying spin up @Bogusheadbox )


All these things for me too. My current ISP has been getting worse and worse, and there’s unfortunately not a lot of room for negotiation without doubling my monthly bill, so I’m kinda stuck with what I’ve got until I move in the fall. Which makes me sad, because I would LOVE to get more play at being a RIO.


The numbers don’t lie: 32 Ka-50s produced with various mods vs more than 100 Ka-52s, with more on the way. Two Ka-50s in an operating environment isn’t much proof and apparently was enough to justify the Ka-52 over the Ka-50. Were the Ka-50 that much better with a single pilot, you can be pretty sure they’d be procuring more.

I also think the KA-50 was produced with a very specific mission in mind, ambushing enemy armour convoys, a SU-25 hovering in place or able to operate much closer to the frontline. In that regard it’s semi successful, though probably entered service too late.

were the Ka52 that much better we would have one in DCS :wink:

Were DCS better at handling multicrew in the past, we likely would’ve got one. Lest we forget, ED in the past said that multicrew was not possible, along with other things like air-ground radar. From a code standpoint, multicrew is quite a feat, especially when you want multiplayer to work with it.

Xaxaxa. You go to gulag now.


This is now a Mi-28 thread

brought to you by the multicrew gang


with MC at an earlier point in the past we would just get L39 sooner :wink:

We might’ve got an AH-64 sooner since that was in the cards back around the time they teased the Ka-50.

FWIW I spoke with my father about this subject over lunch (flew UH-1s, UH-60s, C-12s, C-23s, various light helicopters and aircraft, 3,000+ flight hours), and the general consensus is that something like the Ka-50 can work if you have the right pilots. Problem is, the right pilots are few and far between.


I fully agree. I think all these modern systems makes life easier but at the same time are more demanding to operate correctly especialy in not ideal conditions.

The problem is task saturation; some people are very good at working through many tasks in short order, but not everyone is. In a high-tempo, chaotic environment, the end result is that keeping track of many different things at once gets dangerous real fast. It’s better to have the extra crew to divide tasks up and add a check in such an environment rather than risk the loss of an aircraft and a pilot.

I don’t think most scenarios in DCS are good at simulating the kind of environments that tend to bring this out.


We get away with “shoot first ask question later” too much, there should be a lot more target or target intent verification. That’s another topic, however.


Thats why e.g. Ka50 is full of modern systems to help the single pilot out.