Vehicle question (spooilers?)(aftershock?)

so I found a helicopter on a hospital roof and in an unrelated place some sort of aeronautics cbm managed to get it installed without too too much fuss
so I tried flying and it surprisingly went pretty well the thing is aside from a seatbelt and a floor board I can’t seem to repair any part of it without somehow invalidating the flight capabilities. how can we fix these up? is there any way to create our own aircraft?

You can’t repair aircraft and you can’t create your own aircraft.

In real life, modifying an aircraft can be a minor and simple thing, or a major thing that needs support of aeronautical engineers and test pilots. And building a new aircraft definitely requires test pilots, and in the days before CAD/CAM and computer simulated wind tunnels, being a test pilot was an extremely risk profession - these days its just risky.

We’d like to have code that reflects all of that, so if you make extensive modifications to your helicopter it has the ability to stop being a helicopter in all kinds of weird and dangerous ways. Unfortunately, no one has written that code, so for the time being, you can’t repair, upgrade, or make your own helicopter.

1 Like

One day, we shall craft flying death mobiles, with gun ports in the bottom decks to rain death upon our zombified enemies. But it shall not be this day.


Or just mod the game to allow you to tamper with helicopters. Play your way.


Although the post is 6 months old I thought I’d extend on what Nonesuch said.

Not really practical to use in a playthrough for all the reasons mentioned, but fun to tinker around after stumbling across the CBM that allows you to pilot a heli.

Expect a spectacular crash or two in your characters near future if you want to fly!

You can make any vehicle flyable with a few changes. See below.

A helicopter rotor (…json/vehicleparts/rotors.json) is set with the following flags: “NO_INSTALL_PLAYER”, “NO_REPAIR”. Create a custom mod or edit direct (not recommended) to remove these flags.

If you make any changes to a flying vehicle it will set the ‘airworthy’ attribute to false making it unflyable.

You need to find the ‘save//maps/…’ file with the vehicle attributes.

Rename the vehicle making sure to fully save and then search for the new unique vehicle name. Super quick with notepad++ search ‘find in files’ in the above highlighted directory.

Reset the airworthy attribute back to ‘true’ and your good as gold.

A few additional pointers to be aware of:

You can’t use a smart engine controller and must turn off any electric motors for flying. Works as expected when used as a ground vehicle.
Don’t change engines in mid air…
Don’t let your focus drop to zero…
Avoid nearby obstacles at all costs.
Only gas turbine engines from the downed heli’s will work. Seems to be hardcoded as attempting to jank the settings on a standard engine doesn’t work.
Rotor blade diameter must be a minimum of 8 otherwise won’t fly. Not sure if this changes with more than one rotor or engine/vehicle dimensions etc.
All vehicles are by default set to airworthy true.
You must have no forward momentum to ascend and descend.
You can land on water (if amphibious) but can’t take off from water. It totals your vehicle which looks awesome btw.
Once a rotor is installed it’s considered a flying vehicle and any subsequent changes will force the airworthy setting to be set to false.
The source code that determines if a vehicle is flyable (if you make changes e.g repair) is in veh_interact.cpp ‘veh->set_flyable( false );’ which subsequently changes the airworthy attribute on save.

1 Like

…and must turn off any electric motors for flying.

Why? I’d love to have a solar powered renewable energy heli :slight_smile:

That was my exact thought when I switched to my electric motor. Problem was, I was in mid-air at the time and well, no more dreams of solar powered renewable energy heli or otherwise :slight_smile:

So the problem is switching in mid-air? I.e. I can make an electric only heli and fly it like that?

Helicopters without engines aren’t flying vehicles, which means they are falling vehicles. It takes 3 seconds to fall 9 z-levels, so you don’t have a lot of time to restart the other engine.

There should be some lingering auto-rotation that slows the rate of descent, but dpwb didn’t program that in.

My question was for when there is no “other engine”, just the electric motor. According to a random web search, 450kW of the super electric motor should be enough to lift 2500kg. That’s enough for 7 minutes of flight with it, you, two large storage batteries and a ton of cargo.

I wasn’t able to lift off with an electric motor only. I’m not sure if this is down to internal calculations or hardcoded to only fly with the gas turbine engines. Also having both the electric motor and the gas turbine engine active resulted in no lift.

I tried modding a V6 engine to match the gas turbine engine just to see what happened. The vehicle wouldn’t operate as normal or ascend. Removing the rotor allowed the engine to operate as normal.

That’s good to know re: It take 3 seconds to fall 9 z-levels. I’ll fly higher next time!

In my opinion, the practical use of aircraft will make a great change in the way the game is played. We can make air fortresses, so as to avoid the inconvenience of moving on the ground, or the trouble of fighting with zombies.

Strap firefly gas sacks to a vehicle to reduce its weight. Then it takes much less power to lift off and hold position.

that makes me wonder… cause it would cause the large insects to become valid targets for dissection to get at their gassy bits, possibly to make a blimp-like airship? imagine the possibilities~ floating base!

What’s the thinking behind making aircraft generically unrepairable?

I could see there being difficulty repairing control surfaces, propellers and specialized engines - but given the kind of highly specialized proficiencies cropping up in the game now, ‘aircraft mechanics’ isn’t even a modest stretch.

There are also lots of internal components and non-critical hull surfaces on an aircraft that would require no more specialization to repair than doing body work on a car. It seems like there should be a fair number of parts of the aircraft that you can’t repair - or can’t repair without specialized replacements/facilities/proficiencies - but that most of the more mundane parts of the craft should be fair game.

1 Like

IRL, any random person is allowed to work on a car. You need a specific and specialized training to get a Power and Airframe Mechanic’s license. It’s not just the control surfaces that are important: screwing up the repair of an external surface and it can peel off the frame in flight. Similarly, the consequences of screwing up an internal repair in an aircraft are a lot more severe. If a mosquito blocks your carburetor intake in your car, your engine stops until you fix it. If the same thing happens in your aircraft, your engine stalls and you’re making a forced landing. (The reason I pick that particular weird example is that it actually happened to aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky in his fifth aircraft.)

We actually have a P&A Mechanic profession/trait. We don’t currently have a way to get it, at all, but it does exist, and allows for more advanced repairs.

A bigger issue with aircraft in CDDA that there isn’t currently an easy way to distinguish between repairing and substantially altering. Adding frames or other substantial to an aircraft should require making test flights and possibly crashing.


There are no certification agencies or inspectors post cataclysm. Making it outright unrepairable/unmodifiable seems odd to me, but maybe requiring a proficiency before being able to add/remove/repair rotors and other components might not be so bad. And said proficiency could be obtained like a skill by reading a aircraft service manual or something.

1 Like

what about a specailized simulation software. with advances in computers in the future you could in theory could scan your aircraft in with a camera then a simulator could tell you if its flight worthy or what modifications would be still needded. combine that with a book on aircraft or software based information and a survivor could in theory make aircraft. I imagine the software would be intended for designing homemade modal aircraft.

from a coding and gameplay stand point player built helicopters could be based on a combination of the check if you enough “wheels” (if aircraft is balanced). And if it “floats” (has enough lift). the result would allow construction of quadcopters which would probably be easier for a survivor to design (with a comptur controlling the balence).

i feel like it’d be fine to allow us to modify aircraft as we please, but doing so causes problems (like the helicopter not taking off at all because its too heavy, or such)

but then you’d get people in here posting threads about how their helicopter randomly tipped mid-flight and exploded and they dont know why (because they repaired a light weight aluminum body with a heavy steel plate) or that their helicopter wont take off at all (because they added too much weight to it.)

and modifying flying vehicle physics around singular changes on the vehicle seems like a… task i wouldn’t willingly take on myself.

all that considered, I’m also fine with having helicopters that, once broke, are just broke. perhaps have hangars contain specialized helicopter parts, so that you can swap out/repair said parts, but not add/subtract?

Whatever solutions people propose for aircraft, someone is going to need to code them before they can be part of the game. It’s not a priority for me - it’s way, way down at a long and unfortunately growing list of things I need to do. I’d really rather see people start implementing some of these ideas than go through another round of explaining why some of them are not great ideas.

Aside from that, I’d be happy to see support for modifying aircraft, test flying aircraft, and then dying in a fire when your insufficiently designed and tested aircraft fell out of the sky. Just like happened to the test pilots back before before the computer modeling revolution. But I’m not going to write that support.