Author Topic: For those new to WW1 Kites  (Read 932 times)

Offline AKA_Wildcard

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For those new to WW1 Kites
« on: August 27, 2013, 06:35:15 pm »
I flew a long time in Red Baron 3D and worked with some fairly realistic flight models.  While I'm still rusty at these birds, much of what I knew is coming back to me so I thought I'd share my knowledge with those of you who have never flown in the Great War before.

These kites are underpowered.  While you can hang your prop and turn some pretty nice cookies, you really can't let your nose rise above the horizon or you won't bleed energy, you'll hemorrhage it.  It is vital that when engaging the enemy on the first pass you lower your nose just a tad and gain all the energy you can going in.

These kites are flimsy.  If you over rev your engine in a dive, expect lots of oil in your face and a thrown rod.  If you throttle back so as not to over rev your engine in a dive yet you you still manage to get your airspeed too high, you won't get in the dreaded Messerschmidt overdive where you can't pull up, you'll just rip your wings off and turn into a lawn dart.  What's too fast?  Each plane is different.  The Pfalz doesn't seem to be able to rip its wings off, perhaps because it simply can't dive that fast.  The Spad 13 and SE5A probably have a speed that rips off the wings, but I've not done it yet.   I'm guessing it's around 280mph or higher.  If you're shot up, just coming in to land could rip off  your wings on pretty much any of these kites.

That said, these kites can actually take a lot of damage.  They're mostly plywood and fabric.  Unless you hit a control surface, a strut, the engine or the pilot, they just absorb bullets.  A common pastime was for pilots to count the bullet holes in their planes after they got back. 

Rotary Engines:  Some planes, most notably the Camel and the Dr1, have rotary engines in which the entire engine spins to the right.  This makes them highly unstable (Think P39 flat spin of death with detachable wings) but in the right hands, they have impressive flight characteristics.  They turn extremely well to the right but are harder to turn tightly to the left and the nose wants to rise up above the horizon (see underpowered above). 


Spad 13:  Eddie Rickenbackers plane and the plane of choice of the elite Lafayette Escadrille.  This is the P51 of WW1.  It climbs like a pig, but it dives like nobodies business.  It has "cya later" written all over it.  Not so much boom and zoom as slash and run.  Don't turn fight in this thing.  The best tactic in the Spad 13 is for the lead to attack, forcing the target to break, then the wingman comes in and takes him out.  Both guys then extend.  Always attack with altitude advantage.

SE5A: The British flew this.  Not as fast as the Spad 13, but still plenty quick.  Can climb a little better and turn a little better, but realistically, you want to fly it the same way as a Spad 13.  When in trouble, dive and extend.

Sopwith Camel  This and the Dr1 are my alltime favorite planes in any flight sim.  This is the best Allied turn and burn plane.  In RoF she's extremely twitchy and hard to fly.  You have to put some hours in her.  In real life, she killed more pilots taking off in her for the first time than were lost getting shot down.  You will long for the days when you flew a P39 after you've spun out in this kite a few times.  But the payoff of learning to push the envelope is worth it.  This plane can out turn a Dr1 for a short time, but you cannot sustain it.  You have to put the nose just a tad below the horizon and if the Dr1 does the same, then just a tad more than your opponent does.  Then you will out turn her just enough to get her in your sights for the kill. 

Once you've been called a hacker or had the Dr1 pilot wail that the FM is crap or had them rage quit you'll know you've mastered the Camel.

Sopwith Pup  I didn't know baby camels were called pups, but that's what this is, an earlier version of the Camel.  Good plane for a short time, but became obsolete once the enemy Albatross had phased out.  Single gun IIRC, made it a tough battle vs the double barrelled Albatross.

Sopwith Triplane When the first triplane "The Tripe" entered the war she nearly turned the tide.  It was described as being able to turn on rails.  She has a good climb rate, is kinda slow, can dive okay but she'll never extend out of a battle.  She doesn't need to.  You can go from being on her six to being dead in two rotations of a flight circle if you're in an Albatross.  Spring of 1917 the Naval 10, flying all Tripes and led by Raymond Collishaw, seriously bloodied the nose of the infamous Flying Circus, who lost Great Aces in the three month confrontation.  It was quickly made obsolete, however, by the Fokker Dr1.

Spad 7  The earlier version of the Spad 13 lacked her breakaway speed, but when it first came out it was faster than anything it was up against.

Nieuport 28 A fairly sturdy and fast plane, with decent firepower.  Could outclimb a Spad but not out dive it.  Hard plane to win a fight vs its contemporaries, it outclassed the Albatross, however.  IIRC, you could do a snap roll in it when nose down and it would pull up nicely.  Not a plane I flew a lot honestly.  Not great at anything, but not bad at anything either.  Easy to fly.

Nieuport 17  This is a nasty little critter.  Came out fairly early in the war, but I still like it vs late war planes.  Has a single Lewis gun mounted over the wing so it could shoot straight up.  I haven't figured out how to do this in the sim or even if the sim modelled the gun correctly, but if they did, I would die to get in a turn and burn battle and shoot my opponent who is directly across from me.  This plane drove the E-3 off the battlefield and held its own vs the Albs.  Turn and burn with enough power to hi yo yo like a WW2 bird.  Small and light.  But that Lewis gun is a pea shooter.  In the real war, the ability to shoot straight up made it an ace maker, however.

FokkerDVII: Speaking of Ace Makers, this was the greatest plane of the war.  A rookie could fly it and look like a veteran.  A vet like an Ace.  It was so good, the Allies made Germany hand them all over as part of the peace treaty.  She's fast, she's nimble, she can snap roll faster than you can blink.  Powerful.  Only the Spad 13 could go toe to toe with her and the DVII usually won.  I haven't tested this flight model with her yet, but she is supposed to be able to hang on her prop like a stripper on a pole.  She can climb, she can dive, she can turn fight and she can boom and zoom.  Don't get down on the deck with her though.  She likes air beneath her wings.

Fokker Dr1  The best turn and burn plane of the war.  Was famously quoted as being able to climb like a monkey.  If you go down to the deck against one you will die.  Great climb rate, obviously, poor dive, this plane was slow as molasses.  She WILL shoot a Spad 13 down though because she can turn fast enough to bring her guns to bear before the Spad can extend.  A rotary, she turns great to the right, but it's harder to turn left.  The key to successfully flying a Dr1 is learning how to keep your nose dead set with the horizon, not a fraction above nor a fraction below.  Only dip your nose to turn tighter and don't overdo it.  Never let this kites nose get too far over the horizon.  You CAN hi yoyo in this kite, however.  You just need to keep your e up.  I always found a low yoyo vs another Dr1 or a Camel was better and keeping to the horizon for the most part did the job.

This plane stalls easily until you get the hang of her because she is so slow to begin with.  It's also very easy to blow the engine by over revving it in a dive.  Even doing yoyos you can blow it if you're not careful. 

There's a video out there somewhere showing a real Dr1 doing a flat turn.  This is the only plane in the world that can do this maneuver that I know of.  It literally stops in midair as it rotates 180 degrees facing the direction it came from.  I've tried it in this sim, but it's much harder.  You full rudder right while holding the ailerons against the roll to keep her level.  Even if you can't do the full 180 turn, it's good to practice this because as a plane goes by on a head on pass, you can keep your guns on him as he goes by, just turning your nose left or right as he passes by.

Albatross D whateverThe DIII came out first, but the DVa is the better version.  This was the bread and butter plane of the war.  It ruled the skies for quite some time, besting the N17, the Spad 7 and others.  It finally became obsolete when the Tripe, N28, Camel and other allied planes came online.  Think Messerschmidt in the early part of WW2.  It can out turn a Spad 7, boom and zoom an N17, it's very versatile.

Pfalz DIII
  This is not a bad plane.  Not a good plane.  It's sturdy and dependable, doesn't stall, easy to fly, climbs better than some, worse than others, has okay speed.  All in all it's kinda Meh.  They didn't have it in Red Baron so I'm new to this plane, but if you're tired of spinning out in a Camel/Dr1, tired of running in a Spad and don't want to outclass everybody in the DVII, then give her a spin.

Fokker EIII and DH2  These were early kites, when the air war first began in earnest.  The DH2 was a pusher, meaning the propeller was behind the pilot, pushing the plane.  It was turn and burn all the way.  The EIII was the first plane to have synchronized guns that wouldn't shoot the propellor off.  A huge technological advantage at that time.  It couldn't turn, it just sorta leaned one way or the other.  But it could out climb the DH2 to the left so you just climbed up away from it and then came back down.  It was the first boom and zoom only it had very little boom and it zoomed about as fast as grandpa pees.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 08:29:14 pm by AKA_Wildcard »