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MadisonV44

Over-usage of flaps in combat - Does it reflect WWII gogfights

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I must admit I'm amazed how often full flaps are used in MP combats and defensive situations. 

Is it realistic ? Have we got track of stories describing full usage of flaps in such situations ?  

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I must admit I'm amazed how often full flaps are used in MP combats and defensive situations. 

Is it realistic ? Have we got track of stories describing full usage of flaps in such situations ?  

Flaps were used a lot in dogfights along with trimming, rudder, etc. Of course it depends on the aircraft, speed etc. With some aircraft you could get away with it more than others.

 

There were also  such things as combat flaps.

 

 I read a lot about pilots doing this in dogfights in reality. The best, most experienced ones used every part of their aircraft to its fullest.

Edited by seafireliv
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I've never heard of using full flaps in combat, only 10-15% flaps, combat flaps.

 

Flaps do help, and it is realistic, but I've never heard of a situation when someone used full flaps in combat.

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Also, how do you know they were using FULL flaps?

 

Full flaps has been used in reality, but only as a desperate measure. It isn`t advised.

Edited by seafireliv

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I've gone flaps down, gear down in a scissor fight to get a snapshot before the other guy (in the better turning AC) got his wits about him and killed me. Not a tactic I'd recommend and I should have let myself get in that situation.

 

As far as real life goes, my only reference is 352nd Mustang/Jug pilots and a Bud Anderson interview for a book project. They didn't have much to say when I asked them about flaps diwn knife fights. A Zeke pilot might have stories to tell.

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Combat flaps afaik were quite common. I have also heard of full flaps being used to stop or force over shoots. A modern fay fighter jets computer will take advantage of any surface within limmits to achieve what the pilot is commanding

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The issue with flaps is the same issue with all control surfaces in the game. You cannot model the force or difficulty of adjusting the plane's levers. In reality the I16 had super heavy controls with a small area of effect so a pilot wouldn't have realistically been capable of doing the things the i16 can do in this game. This was a common criticism of many Russian planes until they backwards engineered the BF109's control stick an adapted it for later plane revisions. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but in any case, for example, the BF109 would have taken a pilot quite some time to yank the stab wheel and flap wheel around, but in game you can drop like 50% flaps in like 2 seconds. 

Edited by GridiroN
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The issue with flaps is the same issue with all control surfaces in the game. You cannot model the force or difficulty of adjusting the plane's levers. In reality the I16 had super heavy controls with a small area of effect so a pilot wouldn't have realistically been capable of doing the things the i16 can do in this game. This was a common criticism of many Russian planes until they backwards engineered the BF109's control stick an adapted it for later plane revisions. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but in any case, for example, the BF109 would have taken a pilot quite some time to yank the stab wheel and flap wheel around, but in game you can drop like 50% flaps in like 2 seconds. 

 

very good point if the flaps are hand actuated but if they are electric or similar the aerodynamic force is accounted for

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There's also a huge difference between the types of flaps used.  Simple flaps (Mustang, 109) create a moderate amount of drag for the lift they produce, while split flaps (P-40, 190) and Fowler flaps (P-38, Whirlwind) create much more and much less respectively.

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Flaps were used a lot in dogfights along with trimming, rudder, etc. Of course it depends on the aircraft, speed etc. With some aircraft you could get away with it more than others.

 

There were also  such things as combat flaps.

 

 I read a lot about pilots doing this in dogfights in reality. The best, most experienced ones used every part of their aircraft to its fullest.

Sincerely, no disrespect, and no snark intended. I've genuinely been reading about air combat since 1968. I think perhaps you misunderstood something you've read. I have a personal library of over 400 air combat titles, and to be fair only 200 or so are from WWII (Deere, Townsend, Spick, Toliver & Constable et al). Absent late model P-38s, I have ZERO recollection of pilots describing the use of flaps in maneuvering combat or combat flaps.  I'm a retired airline git, and I also have just under 2000 in fast jets (Phantoms & Vipers) as you Brits would say. 

 

I'm always eager to learn something new, so if you have the references at hand, could you share the sources you're using?

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Sincerely, no disrespect, and no snark intended. I've genuinely been reading about air combat since 1968. I think perhaps you misunderstood something you've read. I have a personal library of over 400 air combat titles, and to be fair only 200 or so are from WWII (Deere, Townsend, Spick, Toliver & Constable et al). Absent late model P-38s, I have ZERO recollection of pilots describing the use of flaps in maneuvering combat or combat flaps.  I'm a retired airline git, and I also have just under 2000 in fast jets (Phantoms & Vipers) as you Brits would say. 

 

I'm always eager to learn something new, so if you have the references at hand, could you share the sources you're using?

 

You can spend hours looking through these without even realizing it. Scroll about 2/3rds of the way down to find the P-51 pilots use of flaps in combat.

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang/combat-reports.html

Tip

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You can spend hours looking through these without even realizing it. Scroll about 2/3rds of the way down to find the P-51 pilots use of flaps in combat.

http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/mustang/combat-reports.html

Tip

Nice find! Thanks for the link. I have Bud Anderson's book, guess I'll go back and read Hess & Ivie's P-51 Mustang Aces because Preddy was the only name I could recall from those guys that included remarks about using flaps. Certainly a different mindset, my contemporaries used geometry and out of plane maneuvering to mitigate overshoots.

 

Much obliged :salute:

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but in game you can drop like 50% flaps in like 2 seconds. 

 

And can do a TARGET (& Cia) macro to do this with one button click.  :rolleyes:

Edited by Sokol1

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I've never heard of using full flaps in combat, only 10-15% flaps, combat flaps.

 

Flaps do help, and it is realistic, but I've never heard of a situation when someone used full flaps in combat

Marseille used flaps and gear at times to stay behind his opponents.

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Marseille used flaps and gear at times to stay behind his opponents.

 

Well he did until about 30 Sep 42.

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They obviously have benefits and would be used, however, if we were subjected to the same level of physical and mental stress the pilots had to endure, we'd probably stop fiddling with them for the most part. I find it pretty counter intuitive that if you're being fired upon and want to evade as quickly as possibly, you'd remove one hand from the stick leaving you with half the possible input force, just so you can go for some control which in a couple of seconds later, might give you a small edge. I'd probably go for the quick evasion and stay focussed on the enemy and my aircraft. Better be alive with flaps up than dead with flaps deployed.

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Realistically, and historically...the majority of dogfights didn't last more than 20-30 seconds.  Maybe 45 seconds if both pilots made mistakes.  Full flaps would be a desperate last ditch move.  Like the snap roll or the lamchevak.  It would probably not be much benefit beyond causing an overshoot and a couple seconds of separation that you could maybe use to dive away.  If you're full flaps in the fight, you're loosing!!  lol  Time to get the heck out of dodge.

I think online it's totally acceptable, and why not?  Our dogfights online are not very realistic anyway.  

 

"The hunters are the ones who go out and kill. Maybe one out of ten good fighter pilots will be one of the hunters."     — Jack Ilfrey, USAAF, 8 victories WWII.

 

"Fighting in the air is not sport. It is scientific murder."    — Captain Edward V. 'Eddie' Rickenbacker, USAS, 'Fighting the Flying Circus.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

"In every squadron there were, perhaps, four or five pilots who exuded confidence. They knew that they were going out to shoot. The rest knew sub-consciously, that they would make up the numbers, mill about, and get shot at."    — Lynn Garrison, quoted in Fighter Command Air Combat Claims, 1939–45 (2003) by John Foreman.

 

The most important thing in fighting was shooting, next the various tactics in coming into a fight and last of all flying ability itself.    — Lt. Colonel W. A. 'Billy' Bishop, RCAF.

 

 

The smallest amount of vanity is fatal in aeroplane fighting. Self-distrust rather is the quality to which many a pilot owes his protracted existence.   — Captain Edward V. 'Eddie' Rickenbacker.

 

If you're in a fair fight, you didn't plan it properly.

— Nick Lappos, Chief R&D Pilot, Sikorsky Aircraft.

 

 

 

 

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A 1943 fighter tactics manual from the Soviet Air Forces lists that to force an overshoot, pilots have and can blow full flaps and extend the gear in order to 'hang' in the air and get a snapshot. The authors go on to note that this is not wise or recommended since the pilot ends the manoeuvre with very little energy and completely vulnerable, however it is also considered better than doing nothing as a last ditch move.

 

All things considered most online fights happen with little to no tactical consideration so they usually descend into a pistols-at-dawn swirling duel, whereas most air combat was an elaborate blend of chess and cat-and-mouse action.

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A 1943 fighter tactics manual from the Soviet Air Forces lists that to force an overshoot, pilots have and can blow full flaps and extend the gear in order to 'hang' in the air and get a snapshot. The authors go on to note that this is not wise or recommended since the pilot ends the manoeuvre with very little energy and completely vulnerable, however it is also considered better than doing nothing as a last ditch move.

 

All things considered most online fights happen with little to no tactical consideration so they usually descend into a pistols-at-dawn swirling duel, whereas most air combat was an elaborate blend of chess and cat-and-mouse action.

Funnily, I've the observation that Ingame this Energy still is enough to follow a steep climb without problems and with nearly full control authority.

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I have read repeatedly that McGuire used flaps in combat.  McGuire also spun in and died, so maybe it was not a great idea.  

 

Per the game. my guess is that if online pilots cared a little less for kills the badness of the flap strategy would be exposed.  Seems like people want to win the maneuver fight instead of just retaining speed and pulling off.  Low and slow is a bad thing in a hostile environment.  Instead of matching the stall turn maneuver just fly away and leave the other guy exposed for the next attacker.

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In RL flaps werent used too often since it was more like a gamble since they could stuck or brake anytime. Also they bring moderate drag which in combat situation could mean life or death.

Would be interesting to se how many of you (who are using them often in the game) would use them to that extent in RL. hehe I bet.

 

Then again, in RL,  we wouldnt be going head on with enemy, or be so rambo style in general....

Edited by blackram

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I use flaps for landing and sometimes for take off if necessary (fully loaded). In combat? Frankly,never. First of all I don't have time to use them. Or better said I don't even think about using them. I try to surprise the enemy. If I fail my first move is to either extend and gain advantage in height again. If not possible,I run awaaay. Prolonged horizontal tail chasing is not for me. There is always someone else waiting to use such situation against me. I like that citation about gunnery. It's really nr.1 priority to be good at. You can be an aerobatics world champion,but if you can't hit a barn's gate from point-blank range,you are just ironing the sky in fancy style :D

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Flying offline, I'm using flaps a lot on the Fw190 trying to get it over the top in vertical low speed manoeuvres. If I don't, the thing flip flops around like a fish on the beach. It's useful, and I don't actually think about. I would in the real aircraft, and as a result probably not use flaps.

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I have read repeatedly that McGuire used flaps in combat.  McGuire also spun in and died, so maybe it was not a great idea.  

 

Per the game. my guess is that if online pilots cared a little less for kills the badness of the flap strategy would be exposed.  Seems like people want to win the maneuver fight instead of just retaining speed and pulling off.  Low and slow is a bad thing in a hostile environment.  Instead of matching the stall turn maneuver just fly away and leave the other guy exposed for the next attacker.

 

Yep

Pilots that did dumb things in real life and got lucky, like say Bud Anderson's "straight up" fight that he relates in his book lead to the ol survivor bias we talk about.

Most/many of the pilots who did dumb things got killed, but they're not here to talk about how dumb this or that move/maneuver/tactic was.

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No more than 10-15 degrees usually. It's such a drag using flaps...

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Sincerely, no disrespect, and no snark intended. I've genuinely been reading about air combat since 1968. I think perhaps you misunderstood something you've read. I have a personal library of over 400 air combat titles, and to be fair only 200 or so are from WWII (Deere, Townsend, Spick, Toliver & Constable et al). Absent late model P-38s, I have ZERO recollection of pilots describing the use of flaps in maneuvering combat or combat flaps.  I'm a retired airline git, and I also have just under 2000 in fast jets (Phantoms & Vipers) as you Brits would say. 

 

I'm always eager to learn something new, so if you have the references at hand, could you share the sources you're using?

 

When the Pacific/midway title comes out there will be the F4 Wildcat, an aircraft specifically designed with combat flaps (along with F6 Hellcat), surely there must be documentation/anecdotes on use in combat, as it was standard doctrine?

 

I remember reading in N. Golodnikov's interview/memoirs that he used flaps in Yak 1 when attacking bombers but felt using them in combat against fighters was not recommended due to policy of always keeping "combat speed"

 

In answer to OP question I 'feel' most online flying/combat is generally of a different nature to actual tactical combat on Eastern front, much the same with engine management, I don't believe the pilots were as brutal with their equipment as we can be, or choose to be

 

Cheers Dakpilot

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Interesting P-51 pilot combat report (posted in similar topic in DCSW).

 

A BF 109 instead the usual drop nose and run away, drop flaps some degrees and opt to engage in turn fight.

 

P-51 drop 10, then 20 of flaps, but this result only in loose speed.  :)

 

When another BF 109 enter in the fight, P-51 dive and run away, engage WEP (67") for 30 minutes.

 

http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-reports/352-meyer-12may44.jpg

Edited by Sokol1

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Interesting P-51 pilot combat report (posted in similar topic in DCSW).

 

A BF 109 instead the usual drop nose and run away, drop flaps some degrees and opt to engage in turn fight.

 

P-51 drop 10, then 20 of flaps, but this result only in loose speed.  :)

 

When another BF 109 enter in the fight, P-51 dive and run away, engage WEP (67") for 30 minutes.

 

http://www.spitfireperformance.com/mustang/combat-reports/352-meyer-12may44.jpg

 

 

I wonder what that engine was like after the flight!

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To me it seems that something doesn't seem quite right,

 

In game I have seen Russian aircraft hang on their props to pretty much zero speed (with full flaps), then whilst maintaining full control authority roll wings level and accelerate away.

 

From my point of view (I'm not an aeronautical engineer) but if you are vertical flaps shouldn't be creating any lift, but would act more like a parachute for the aircraft (the flaps would change from inducing drag to being a very big parasitic drag)

In the vertical isn't it the engine that is causing lift (counteracting gravity) through thrust from the prop, so I wonder if this is correctly modeled in game (the point in which the angle of attack makes any flap use detrimental).

 

What I would expect to see in a scenario of full flap deployment (in a vertical maneuver) is a very quick loss of speed, and if not corrected (nose down and flaps retracted) for the aircraft to stall and end up in a tumbling stall with a flat spin being highly likely (which seems to be the exact opposite of what we observe in game) 

 

In the horizontal what I would expect to see is a tighter turn with bleeding off in speed as well (for a short period of time, hence the advise in the Russian manual), and for any plane that continues to turn with full flaps, for the turns to be very slow and wide (anyone remember the turn curves charts from the original il2??). This should be due to the aircraft not having enough thrust to take advantage of the extra lift caused by the flaps induced drag.

 

I actually wonder how the turn rates at slow speed of an aircraft with full flaps would compare to an identical aircraft in a clean configuration (in real life), in that the one with the flaps down might have a lower stall speed, however the amount of thrust needed to propel the aircraft would be far greater than the aircraft without flaps.

 

 

Me personally whilst I don't mind a slow turn fight, Speed (and correspondingly Energy) is life, and altitude is Energy in the bank.

Edited by novicebutdeadly

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In answer to OP question I 'feel' most online flying/combat is generally of a different nature to actual tactical combat on Eastern front, much the same with engine management, I don't believe the pilots were as brutal with their equipment as we can be, or choose to be

 

Cheers Dakpilot

 

Eh, they weren't sparing engines as much as you have to in this game. I mean, yes in normal flight, in emergency definitely not (they were instructed that combat necessity overrides manual limitations on duration of use of high boost; it's clearly spelled out in, eg. British pilot training manual of the day). You had only one life, no respawns. Equipment plays second fiddle to that.

 

Game designers put artificial limits because if our engines would likely run at max power ingame for the whole duration of the mission without failing in flight, we'd do it all the time - we get a new plane every match after all. So they make them break very easily to force us to be sparing with power, but I think in this game they went a bit too far in that direction.

 

As for use of flaps, I'm going to agree that there's a difficulty in using them (especially if there is a wheel or such control which has to be turned) in reality which isn't there ingame where I can press the flap button while simultaneously using my stick and throttle to full capacity. If you had to do such a thing in game also you'd do it much more sparingly! Also full flap down was only allowable at fairly lowish speed for structural reasons - so imagine if you had to turn the wheel, then started to speed up and had to turn it the other way, then slow down and turn the wheel again, then... eh. Big pain to regulate. So you'd probably just use a smallish amount of flap (as we'd say, combat flaps) if you needed. By all indication they were occasionally used.

 

Knife fights are described in memoirs of some pilots in the east front, so I can surmise that while some liked to maintain higher speed and fight almost exclusively with element of surprise, others did not mind mixing it up, even sometimes describing fights which ended up at very low altitude. Of course they were a bit more preoccupied with survival than we are so generally maintaining altitude and speed so you can get out was more important while we are more likely to stay and fight, but that is simply the nature of reality vs simulation.

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