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J5_Hellbender

Bender & Trupo's Multiplayer Aircraft Guide — Flying Circus Edition — [22/03/2019]

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Posted (edited)

E9BTTUK.png

 

About this guide


This guide serves as a continuation of the Newcomer's Multiplayer Plane Buying Guide for Rise of Flight, originally written in the "good old days", which is now lovingly maintained (and mercilessly edited into a 2.0 version) by @J2_Trupobaw on both the Rise of Flight forum and on Steam.

 

And now, we're back for Flying Circus.

 

As there is currently no real buying advice to give — other than: yes, you should buy Flying Circus Volume 1 — we are focusing on the capabilities of each individual aircraft currently released, the ✓ Good and the ⨯ Bad (and at times the ugly). In order to judge how a machine measures up against any rival it might encounter whilst flying online multiplayer, we have come up with a tiering system.

 

 

Why tiers?

 

Ranking WWI fighting aircraft against each other is complex, in no small part due to the leapfrogs in technology which happened during the war. Simulated versions of these aircraft flown in a multiplayer environment — which all come with their own features, quirks and unique piloting styles — even more so. A purely chronological or historical ranking would not make much sense.

 

  • To make a clear and easily understood distinction between tiers, they are named GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE.
     
  • Additionally, we have left room to include a superlative DIAMOND tier, as well as a BRASS tier (as in: you need brass balls to fly this).
     
  • For every tier, Entente planes are listed first, Central planes second — then single-seaters first, multi-seaters second.

 

While the scope is currently limited to the planes as of yet released for Flying Circus Volume 1, there is room to accomodate all of Rise of Flight's existing planes which may eventually be brought over, and more if 1C/777 chooses to develop them.


 

I disagree!


Fine, so do we.

 

We don't think a tiering system is perfect (this was my idea, Trupo was more or less against it), nor that every plane can be easily categorised. However, we have tried to reach a meaningful consensus and have added our own comments where applicable. 

 

The goal is to allow pilots — newcomers especially — to learn about a machine's capabilities at a glance, and find out whether possible shortcomings are due to their own lack of experience or due to the plane's design. A fighter plane is only ever as good as its pilot, obviously, but even the best pilot is limited by his (or her) machine.

 

Lastly, we invite all manner of discussion and criticism, but this is not the place to debate FMs or push agendas. Yes, we know that the Camel is fast (it says so right there). This guide is meant as an opinion piece, based purely on our own observations, and hopefully a helpful guide to someone. It will in time be updated when new planes are added or changed, and to reflect the dynamic nature of multiplayer.


 

S!

 

@J5_Hellbender & @J2_Trupobaw


 

P.S. Artwork shamelessly stolen from the Rise of Flight website. If we both absolutely agree on something, then it would be that Rise of Flight is a game still worth getting into, even after the release of Flying Circus.

 

P.P.S. You can use this guide or portions of it in any way you see fit, as long as you link bank to the source and/or mention who you got it from. That's us, baby — us! Don't forget to share, like, subscribe and sponsor us on Patre— oh, no, we don't do that? Okay, just let us know if you do something with it.
 

 

DIAMOND
" Outside Category "

 

Spoiler

This tier is currently empty.


 

GOLD

" The Champions "

 

Spoiler

Sopwith Camel

" Camel Fag "

 

8WnfTUa.png

 

 Exceptional retention of energy
 Excellent sustained turn

 Good forward visibility

 Good maneuverability

 Good climb
 Fast

 

 Unstable and requires finesse on the controls to fly 

⨯ Poor upward visibility in a dogfight (without mods)
⨯ Requires careful engine management

⨯ Prone to stalls and spins


The Sopwith Camel deserves its reputation as King of Dogfighters. Deadly in the right hands (and wrong hands), it can turn a good pilot into an ace (and a bad pilot into a corpse). The Camel is in equal parts turnfighter and energy fighter. It truly shines at sea level, right above the treetops, where its retention of energy is peerless and it is fast enough to run down almost all competition. It is, however, not invincible and a Camel driver needs finesse on the controls and careful handling of the throttle in a fight. In the end, there is hardly any excuse for losing a fight, beyond the pilot's own recklessness.

 

 

 

SPAD XIII

" SPAD "

 

z6wmFUV.png

 

✓ Exceptionally fast

✓ Exceptional dive

✓ Excellent climb

 Good durability

 Heavy armament (with mods)

 

⨯ Terrible forward visibility

 Poor maneuverability
Poor sustained turn


A deceptively compact plane which sports the interior of a pleasure boat, the SPAD XIII is about as modern and subtle as a half-brick in a sock. It is really not much more than a powerful 220hp Hispano-Suiza V8 with a plane attached to it. Balloon guns with incendiary ammo (and the papers to carry them) are optional. The SPAD is fast in all phases of flight. Very, very, very fast. It can dive away from virtually any danger, provided it has the altitude to do so. Visibility and maneuverability are both problematic, and as such it requires patience, discipline and careful energy management to score kills. However, and almost above all, this is a plane that gets you home.

 

 

 

 

 

Fokker D.VIIF

" F You "

 

kFMHVln.png

 

 Exceptional high altitude performance

 Very easy to fly

✓ Very fast

 Good maneuverability

 Good climb

 Parachute

 

⨯ Requires careful engine management (altitude throttle)


There is very little ugly about the Fokker D.VIIF's characteristics, and it completely eclipses the standard Fokker D.VII. It does require careful handling of the altitude throttle, especially at sea level, and much like the D.VII only has decent sustained turn and dive. None of this makes it a thoroughbred turnfighter or boom 'n zoomer at low altitude. That said, at altitudes of 2000m and above, and if the pilot knows how to maintain his energy in a fight, it walks all over the competition — provided it can find any up there. This is perhaps the easiest plane to just pick up for the sheer joy of flying, and one which can help a beginning pilot get better without too much adversity. While not considered a real advantage by some, it's also comforting to know that one has the option to hit the silk and live to F another day.

 

 

SILVER

" The Runners-up "

 

Spoiler

Sopwith Dolphin

" Flipper "

 

FrAv897.png

 

 Exceptional forward and upward visibility
✓ Very heavy armament (with mods)

✓ Very fast

 Good maneuverability

 Good sustained turn

 Stable gun platform

 

⨯ Prone to enter nearly unrecoverable spins
⨯ Prone to wingshedding when pulling out of dives

⨯ Prone to flip on hard landing

 

Ah, the lovely Sopwith Dolphin. Butt ugly or uniquely beautiful depending on who you ask, this is a true jack of all trades, master of none. Thanks to its amazing visibility and armament, combined with good all-round handling, stability and speed, it shines as a team fighter. It does need to be handled with care when nearing stall speed, as a particularly nasty spin looms. There is a well-documented recovery procedure, but it is known only to those who refuse to fly it. Pulling wings off in a dive can happen, especially when one loses track of speed in a fight at higher altitudes, but this should be a rare occurence. As for the Flipper flipping on landing, it's largely apocryphal both in real life as in-game — either way your head should stay reasonably intact.

 

 

 

 

 

Fokker DR.I

" Clown Wagon "

 

8daVGJ1.png

 

 Exceptional sustained turn

 Excellent energy retention
 Excellent maneuverability

 Good visibility

 Good climb
 Parachute

 

⨯ Very slow

⨯ Unstable and requires forward stick to fly

⨯ Difficult landing and ground handling

 

Still the consummate turnfighter, the Fokker Dr.I is light on the controls during a dogfight. It conserves its energy remarkably well and can easily climb in and out of fights. Far from perfect, it is unstable and it can take some time getting used to its level flying gait, which requires plentiful forward stick. Perhaps one of the most unique planes to fly, the Dr.I falls short from the top simply because it is far too slow to pose a real threat to Entente inline scouts, who can disengage at will. Particular care is needed for all ground handling, especially to avoid a ground loop after landing. Should you find yourself overwhelmed by better performing machines, the parachute is a plus.

 

 

 

Fokker D.VII

" WWI X-Wing "

 

MD0tc6m.png

 

 Very easy to fly

 Good maneuverability

 Fast

 Parachute

 

⨯ Underpowered

⨯ Not an F


Bender: At sea level, the Fokker D.VII really struggles to maintain energy, especially against Camels. At altitude it lacks any real advantage against the far better engine compression of a rotary engine scout or the higher raw power of an Entente inline engine scout. That's not to say it's all bad, but the standard D.VII is completely irrelevant compared to the F.

 

Trupo: Fokker D.VII is very capable, and marvel to fly. I fly planes by force feedback, trying to conserve energy by minimalising strain on the stick, as I imagine it's strain put on control surfaces as they force the plane into maneuver. In D.VII there is no strain. It does not produce the energy like Camel, but it does not lose it to drag either. She has very gentle stall behaviour, never makes my stick shake and can really hang on the prop. Seriously, you can put her vertically nose up and shoot, shoot, shoot at zenith for long seconds before she gently levels herself up. Like Pugachev's Cobra. For pilots that fight by conserving their energy (as I do, and all German pilots likely will) rather then beating opponent to death with energy surplus, she's master tool. Given her forgiving behaviour and complete controllability at low speeds she may be good against Camel in rolls and scissors. The real question German pilots will now ask themselves is: will D.VIIF be restricted by server runners, and if so, how will D.VA and vanilla D.VII compare? But by the look of things, vanilla D.VII is already the "X-Wing of WWI" — queen of all trades, ace of none, able to make decent pilots from inferior material.

 

 

 

Pfalz D.IIIa

" Pfalzcopter "

 

nu0QcYL.png

 

 Exceptional durability

 Excellent dive

 Good energy retention

 Good maneuverability
 Good sustained turn

 Stable gun platform

 Easy to fly

 Parachute

 

⨯ Slow

⨯ Underpowered

⨯ Unrecoverable spin

⨯ Poor forward visibility

 

Underpowered and slow, the Pfalz D.IIIa is nonetheless a hard target as she was apparently built from the condensed remains of lesser planes. She is easy, almost lazy to fly around, mostly due to her lack of proper elevator authority. She is still quite capable in a turnfight or doing rolling scissors if she starts with an energy advantage and doesn't get dragged all the way down to the deck. On top of that, she can take a right proper beating and pull out of almost any dive (close to 9G wing tolerance! ...excellent even by WWII standards), where anything else would have long since shed wings or control surfaces, including the almighty SPAD. If you manage to ram someone with her: good for you, now jump! And if you manage to put her into a spin, which takes some real effort and an awful lot of prophanging: also jump!

 

 

BRONZE

" The Also-ran "

 

Spoiler

This tier is currently empty.

 

 

BRASS

" The Rest "

 

Spoiler

This tier is currently empty. Honourable mention for the U-2VS (Po-2).

 

Edited by J5_Hellbender
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Posted (edited)

Thanks gents!

 

If it can help out even one lost WWII flyer who strolls in here by accident and it gives them the itch (the good kind, not the kind you should get tested for), then it was a great success.

 

And thanks again Trupo for making me see the light on a great many things (maneuverability ≠ sustained turn).

 

By the way, I maintain that your “marvellous” Fokker D.VII needs to get F’ed. 😄

 

 

Edited by Hellbender
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7 hours ago, J5_Baeumer said:

Great resource....drinks on Mai's account for all!

Agree, ..and a special thank to Mai!

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Posted (edited)

Hi M8s,

I don't understand your comment about the Spad XIII >

"A deceptively compact plane which sports the interior of a pleasure boat, the SPAD XIII is about as modern and subtle as a half-brick in a sock. It is really not much more than a powerful 220hp Hispano-Suiza V8 with a plane attached to it."

On the contrary, its design gives it an excellent aerodynamic performance, its weight/power ratio is unparalleled. These are two very modern qualities at this time.

As for the subtility, it is rather the Camel which was missing since the pilot had to be in in her place lol

I'm always impressed by the ability of anglo-saxons to denigrate the french contribution to the 1918 victory. I recently saw a documentary produced by the BBC. It was distressing...


 
 
 
Edited by PatCartier
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, PatCartier said:

Hi M8s,

I don't understand your comment about the Spad XIII >

"A deceptively compact plane which sports the interior of a pleasure boat, the SPAD XIII is about as modern and subtle as a half-brick in a sock. It is really not much more than a powerful 220hp Hispano-Suiza V8 with a plane attached to it."

On the contrary, its design gives it an excellent aerodynamic performance, its weight/power ratio is unparalleled. These are two very modern qualities at this time.

As for the subtility, it is rather the Camel which was missing since the pilot had to be in in her place lol

I'm always impressed by the ability of anglo-saxons to denigrate the french contribution to the 1918 victory. I recently saw a documentary produced by the BBC. It was distressing...

 

Thanks for your comments and substantiated criticism, Pat.

 

I should say that as a Belgian (Trupo is a Pole), my only real patriotic bias lies with the Aviation Militaire Belge, even though their actual contributions to the air war were slim by comparison to the rest of the Entente — though technically speaking Belgium remained neutral throughout. Since they did operate both French and British scouts, it did place them in a rather unique position. To me it says enough that SPADs were used in dedicated SPAD squadrons (mostly SPAD VII and a few SPAD XIII by 1918), and that most other types (Nieuport 23, Sopwith Camel, Hanriot HD.1) were relegated to either escort duty or very experienced pilots.

 

 

As for the SPAD itself, I really do agree that the plane was ahead of its time back when it saw the light of day in 1916. With a straightforward, compact construction which was faster, could dive better and required little rigging compared to the Nieuport rotary scouts, it really managed to capitalise on the most powerful engine available at the time. As an evolution of the SPAD VII, the SPAD XIII with its additional synchronised machinegun and even more powerful Hispano-Suiza reached late war performance and firepower standards as early as mid-1917, never to be truly paralleled by any other nation, except maybe by the British S.E.5a under certain circumstances.

 

However, the "little SPAD" (as Rickenbacker used to call) is a brick — or at least flies like one. The reasons for that are pretty simple: it was made compact with straight wings precisely to minimise the length of struts and bracing wires required, reinforcing its construction and improving its dive performance. And while a solid design decision, it does lack any kind of modern features such as wing dihedral, or unequal wing design, which would have granted it better maneuverability.

 

 

Nowhere is its compactness and design difference with a Sopwith Camel more apparent than when viewed in the Brussels Air Museum, where the two are displayed next to each other:

 

3dob3Vv.jpg

 

 

 

For the record: these modern designs were French innovations, found first on Nieuports. The decision to gradually phase out Nieuports and similar types by the Armée de l'Air was sound, in my opinion, as it allowed them to focus their efforts on a single type. While the French may be underrepresented in Flying Circus by the number of different types available (I would have loved to have the Breguet 14), most Nieuport scouts had indeed been retired by late 1917. As such, the French secured air supremacy over the front by 1918 using only the SPAD — if not total air superiority where the Germans operated pockets of resistance.

 

As for which plane won the war, that is simple: the humble and often obsolete two-seater did, without which the ground forces were essentially blind. In that respect, the SPAD is a much better two-seater interceptor than "King Camel", which is really better suited at attacking other scouts, and became a light trench attacker by the end of the war.

 

In the end, I agree mostly with the Italians, who along with the Belgians and Americans, also received the SPAD XIII in limited numbers along with the Hanriot HD.1 (Nieuport 28 for the Americans), but preferred the Hanriot for its versatility.

 

 

In actual Flying Circus multiplayer, which is really the only purpose of this guide, the SPAD indeed suffers from its lack of versatility in dogfights. It's absolutely deadly in the right hands (I'm looking specifically at @US103_Larner and his squadron, who excel with it), but it is still a handful for a newcomer, who must overcome its forward visibility and must learn to preserve energy at all costs. It is, still, one of the best planes around, and frankly untouchable with judicious use of its dive.

 

Last weekend I had a bit of stick time in the Fokker D.VIIF and this confirmed my impressions. While I found the D.VIIF almost untouchable over 3000m and managed to score two victories over SPADs, both of them got safely back to their lines. In both cases it was a single engine hit which did them in. This, perhaps, says more about the scoring system and damage model than anything else, but again, all we can do is observe and report our findings.

Edited by J5_Bender
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Ahem, the 103rd in my squadron, Larner is our highly paid, eagle eyed, tea drinking adjutant!

 

We have some concerns about the FC SPAD at the moment. It seems to have really lost some of it's edge in the new flight engine. Energy retention is not as good and the Hun machines seem to be gaining ground on our old SPADs. If we could the the 235 HP Hispano...... ;)

 

We will have to wait and see how it turns out.

 

S! Hunter

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16 hours ago, US103_Hunter said:

Ahem, the 103rd in my squadron, Larner is our highly paid, eagle eyed, tea drinking adjutant!

 

We have some concerns about the FC SPAD at the moment. It seems to have really lost some of it's edge in the new flight engine. Energy retention is not as good and the Hun machines seem to be gaining ground on our old SPADs. If we could the the 235 HP Hispano...... ;)

 

We will have to wait and see how it turns out.

 

S! Hunter

 

Apologies, Hunter, I meant no disrespect. Still, your man Larner has left quite an impression with my squadron.

 

And when I say my squadron, I mean @J5_Baeumer's squadron, of which I am only a very recent recruit. 😁

 

 

Speaking of energy retention in the SPAD, I must say that I've not really thoroughly tested how it compares to RoF's SPAD — but this has more to do with how I fly the SPAD, which is basically hit and run, climb back up again, repeat. I did find it quite capable to stay well above a Pfalz or Dr.I and come down for slashing attacks, though it's also quite easy for them to prophang and score hits. Obviously a Camel is still better at the pure energy fighting game, in fact, that's how the Camel in my opinion should be used rather than as a turnfighter.

 

Where I think the real problem with the SPAD lies, is with bullet spread, or lack thereof. Even a disengaging SPAD will remain within firing distance long enough for the enemy to score a few hits, enough to eventually get his engine to seize. While the SPAD is a bit more stable than it was in RoF and equally benefits from reduced bullet spread, you still have to be damn precise to kill in one pass. Balloon guns do help. I've always hoped to see a XII "SPAD Canon" with 37mm cannon down the line, though they were exceedingly rare. An uprated Hispano-Suiza on the XIII would indeed make more sense.

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My own experiments with Spad were largely positive - she seems much more tolerant to scissoring and non-BnZ energy fighting. 

How is she in dive against D.VII  these days? 

I think in worst case scenario the Spad purists will find themselves in the same place where Albie pilots were in ROF before 2014 - more emphasis on teamwork, tactics and discipline. 



 

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5 hours ago, J5_Bender said:

 

Apologies, Hunter, I meant no disrespect. Still, your man Larner has left quite an impression with my squadron.

 

Ignore him, he's full of hot air! Back to peelin' Taters, Corporal Hunter....

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My wild guess is that with a higher fidelity flight model flying coordinated with the ball centered is going to be much more important in FC than RoF and plays a bigger factor in energy retention than before; though having the higher compression engine wouldn't hurt.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/29/2019 at 1:03 AM, Garven said:

My wild guess is that with a higher fidelity flight model flying coordinated with the ball centered is going to be much more important in FC than RoF and plays a bigger factor in energy retention than before; though having the higher compression engine wouldn't hurt.

 

Yes, think so too and it would.

 

Since FC i've been trying to fly the Spad much more coordinated using the bubble. Think it helps, but still feels marginal. Good thing is you can practice same thing in RoF.

That higher revving 235hp engine was probably common from July 1918 and the 300hp was available by October.

Edited by US103_Baer

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