VME also offers some fairly challenging and realistic feeling flying conditions including dark nights where your belly mounted spotlight must be used and windy and rainy weather where gusts of wind will knock your aircraft around as you attempt to precision hover over your designated LZ.
“Heavy rainstorms and the darkness of night made instrument flight necessary to reach evacuation areas. Once the lights of Saigon were left behind, it was like flying in a black void. The horizon and all ground references disappeared, leaving no other method of aircraft orientation.” – page 117
One of the best features of VME is that it is truly a flight simulation that stresses the “flight” portion. Flying helicopters isn’t easy, and at full realistic settings I’m pretty sure that VME doesn’t quite approach the difficulty of flying a real helicopter, but it strikes a nice balance. Constant attention to the controls is required, and hovering over an object such as a ship or getting into position to use your hoist or deploy your swimmer will have your hands sweating and your shoulders aching. The physics of the flight modeling feel very well done and VME features far and away the best autorotation modeling I’ve ever experienced in a flight sim. Cutting the engines and dropping like a rock toward the ground while your rotor stores up energy for the pullout and flare is a fantastic challenge in VME.
“I acknowledged the calls as we rapidly closed on the pickup site. At the last second I decelerated with a slight climb and a hard flare, simultaneously throwing the tail around and facing the direction I’d come from. The flare and flip of the tail put me directly over the opening in the armor, and I slammed the helo down into the hole. Parisi and the crew chief, Graham, with the help from the troopers, loaded three litters and four wounded ambulatory soldiers. In less than a minute we were out of there.” – page 146