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QB.Creep

How often do you believe you should check your six?

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I think this question is pretty self-explanatory, but I will elaborate a bit to be clear - this is when you are cruising around and not actively engaged. Not interested in non-answers like "whenever I think of it" or "as often as possible". I'm curious to know what people think the longest possible interval is without sacrificing situational awareness.

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The max closing speed for a plane on your six varies but if you want to err on the side of caution, let's say 400kmh which is 400m every 3.6 seconds. You realistically have from 6k to reliable spot a head on contact to about 2k before it's too close to take countermeasures to avoid the attack.

 

So that's a 4km run, which takes 36 seconds, so I'd say a good look behind you every 36 seconds is the highest interval. Sounds about the limit of practicality too as you have to scan your front hemisphere too. ( Where the closing speeds are much greater, that 4k run may take as little as 9 seconds at a 1200kmh combined closing speed)

Edited by 71st_AH_Barnacles
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No longer than 30 seconds. 

 

5 seconds - Dash panel.  

5 seconds - ahead 11,12,1 o'c  and high 12

5 seconds - above 

5 seconds - left and left side 6

5 seconds right and right side 6

 

I don't stick religiously to it, but I've been jumped in places on the map I could have sworn would be enemy-free.  

 

Course change no longer than 20 seconds so the 6o'c blind spot isn't always staying in the same direction and flak also has a harder time sniping.  (While it really should be mostly ground spotter-coordinated on the Eastern Front, it seems to follow radar-coordinated rules.  Over France and Western Germany (BoBp) you can expect the radar network to be a lot better.)

Edited by Mobile_BBQ
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This is entirely dependent on the situation you are in.

You will be checking far more when low down near an enemy airbase than you will check when making contrails over your own airbase.

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All the time, probably (Neck on a swivel and all that) I clearly never check enough considering how often I'm shot down ;)

 

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Out of jealousy of the 110, I am permanently strapping one of my ground crew to the back of my P-38. I'll even give him a wrench to bang the nacelle with whenever he spots someone sneaking up on my six.

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I know 30 seconds has been stated but that seems long.  It works on the assumption that you actually spotted the bad guy at the first opportunity.  I would go for 10 seconds if possible.  A quick instrument sweep (key instruments only) followed by an external sweep should be manageable in 10-15 seconds.  

 

The other thing is don't fly completely straight for too long.  Doesn't matter how often you sweep if you have the same blind spots for extended periods.

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Fly with wingmen, 4 sets of eyes much better than 1 set, saves neck ache and you can chat rubbish at the same time.

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Tbh depends on what I’m flying. Something like an i16 where it’s so easy and slow, all the time. If I was in a 262, probably once a minute. In a 110 on the deck, never because my gunner will let me know 🙃

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38 minutes ago, Hajo_Garlic said:

Tbh depends on what I’m flying. Something like an i16 where it’s so easy and slow, all the time. If I was in a 262, probably once a minute. In a 110 on the deck, never because my gunner will let me know 🙃

Yep, the higher the delta between your speed and the worse case scenario enemy, the more you have to check your six! (that said a 262 would have to concentrate much more on his frontal high hemisphere, because the closure speed is much higher)

Edited by 71st_AH_Barnacles
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I check at least once every 20-30 seconds. But I am really, really good at spotting (have been given many tips and tricks by professionals) so I can usually afford to check less often because it's very rare that anyone gets near my 6 without me knowing far in advance that it's going to happen.

 

I'd tell you to do it every 10-15 seconds if possible.

Edited by III./JG7-MarkWilhelmsson
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Depends how sore my neck is, the one downside of VR, though I suspect given enough time it'll loosen up and become far easier.

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1 hour ago, QB.Creep said:

Not interested in non-answers like "whenever I think of it" or "as often as possible".

 

Hmm...I did this in RL but you're not interested in a RL non-answer, "that depends."

 

:popcorm:

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Just now, busdriver said:

 

Hmm...I did this in RL but you're not interested in a RL non-answer, "that depends."

 

:popcorm:

 

I was only trying to discourage the one-liners, of which we have already had a few that provide little to no value. If you say "that depends" and then elaborate with actionable information, that's fantastic and provides a ton of value! I value your opinion and would love to hear what you have to say on the subject. 

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1 hour ago, PatrickAWlson said:

I know 30 seconds has been stated but that seems long.  It works on the assumption that you actually spotted the bad guy at the first opportunity.  I would go for 10 seconds if possible.  A quick instrument sweep (key instruments only) followed by an external sweep should be manageable in 10-15 seconds.  

 

The other thing is don't fly completely straight for too long.  Doesn't matter how often you sweep if you have the same blind spots for extended periods.

30 seconds is definitely feels too long to me. Maybe in SP it's not so bad as enemies are more frequently in predictable places, but in MP you've got the potential to be bounced from the moment of takeoff to the second you touch down.

10-15 seconds is achievable and probably often enough. I tend to weave a little every 30 seconds to check my low six o'clock, where a lot of guys will try and come up on you after a dive.
 

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When alone 10-15 seconds. I do sweeps from L6, 9, 12, dashboard, 12, 3, R6, above and back to L6. I have to pause for navigation.

When I'm leading a Wingman, I focus more on 9, 12, 3 and check my and his six every 20 - 30 seconds. Gives me more time to navigate.

When I'm flying as a Wingman I focus more on the 9, 6, 3 area and keep an eye on the leader.

 

The Wingman rule applies only when the procedure is agreed on by both. I use VR and consider it a good neck mobility training :)

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Every 10-15 seconds for me. My eyes never look in one direction too long and my aircraft is constantly zig-zagging back and forth to check my blind spots.

 

Ive been jumped way too many times by 109s sneaking up from below me in my blind spot. They’ll dive below and then zoom back up and be right on my six. I try not to give them the opportunity anymore

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sadly I think all of this is more luck based because of the horrid visibility problems in the game at the  moment 

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2 hours ago, QB.Creep said:

I was only trying to discourage the one-liners, of which we have already had a few that provide little to no value. If you say "that depends" and then elaborate with actionable information...

 

Well my answer is what a fighter pilot says when asked, "What's the best way to defeat X?" So this is a pretty good answer IMO...

3 hours ago, [DBS]Browning said:

This is entirely dependent on the situation you are in.

 

Not so much these "famous last words"...:blush: 

2 hours ago, III./JG7-MarkWilhelmsson said:

But I am really, really good at spotting so I can usually afford to check less often because it's very rare that anyone gets near my 6 without me knowing far in advance that it's going to happen.

I salute his confidence. :salute:

 

IMO this is an important concept to internalize...

2 hours ago, 71st_AH_Barnacles said:

...the higher the delta between your speed and the worse case scenario enemy, the more you have to check your six!

 

Said a bit differently, if I'm running like a scalded ass ape down on the deck at naught height trying not to hit the trees...I won't check six, but I'll check my wingman's six if we're line abreast. I'll rely on my wingman to check mine. If I'm tied up (anchored in one spot) padlocked on a guy trying not to die, then I'm not checking six. I die early and often in MP. For me personally, the lack of g forces makes it very difficult to check six during hard maneuvering (think departing controlled flight rather than G-LOC). If you fly straight into a furball, you'll probably need to check six more frequently than if you put the fight at you 10 or 2 o'clock as you approach looking for an unobserved entry.

 

This is valid too...:good:

3 hours ago, Hajo_Garlic said:

In a 110 on the deck, never because my gunner will let me know...

Once the Mosquito arrives I'm holding out hope the Devs include the audio of my Observer calling out, "Snappers at six..."

 

I'm an old guy, so my mission preference is ground attack, and SP rather than MP. My air-to-air gunnery sucks big time (I'm a 1 g HUD cripple) so I avoid MP unless I have somebody to fly formation with. In a formation if I'm on the left side, then my scan is from 10 o'clock clockwise to 5 o'clock checking my wingman's six. If I'm on the right side then I scan from 2 o'clock anti-clockwise to 7 o'clock checking my wingman's six. I don't ignore my own six completely, but I rely on the wingman to clear my six. Another technique as others have pointed out, I also frequently S turn to check deep & low six. 

 

 

 

Edited by busdriver
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Flying as a Rotte or Schwarm in SCG, on patrol, never. I'm watching to the side my wingman (or other rotte) is on and he is watching to my side.  In combat with a wingman who is watching my back...maybe once a minute. Exiting combat to regroup or when eyes have been lost on each-other.... like a paranoid bird with it's neck on swivel. 

 

Edited by SCG_Wulfe
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"How often do you believe you should check your six?"

 

It's a good question and an important one. Checking your six essentially removes or at least limits the chances of being shot down/jumped.

 

For me, it's situational dependent. 

 

If I'm in friendly territory,

Once every min or so. Maybe even less often. - I got PK'd twice tonight for rarely checking my six for sneaky bastards in my own territory. Very frustrated with myself because it's easily avoided, but I think we've all been caught out like this at some point.

 

If I'm in enemy territory / near the front line / near an objective.

About every 30 seconds or so.

 

If I'm on an enemy's 6.

This is when you're most vulnerable. I'll check it as often as I can, maybe every 5/10 seconds or so, whilst trying not to lose sight of my target. I usually do this when my target is:

  • Moving in a straight line
  • Moving in a sustained turn
  • I'm close and my target decides to fly vertically

Remember that when you are in an area full of tracer fire, you can expect at least 1 or 2 enemies to be heading your way within the next 1 min or so.

 

Edited by Tipsi

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5 hours ago, PatrickAWlson said:

A quick instrument sweep (key instruments only)

 

But why? This game does not simulate random faults so what's the point of checking temps, pressure, fluids every 10sec? Unless you were damaged by enemy fire or flying with closed radiators nothing wrong will happen to your plane.

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58 minutes ago, Tipsi said:

If I'm on an enemy's 6.

This is when you're most vulnerable. I'll check it as often as I can, maybe every 5/10 seconds or so, whilst trying not to lose sight of my target.

 

You make an excellent point if you do this. However I am a skeptical a$$hole by nature and if you actually do this, you are unique among 1GCCFPs. I base that from watching a boatload of videos posted here. Rare is 1GCCFP that bothers to glance over their shoulder when their fangs are out and hair is on fire. Or all the guys downed while performing HUD BFM.

 

Good on you for doing it. :good:

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5 hours ago, PatrickAWlson said:

I know 30 seconds has been stated but that seems long.  It works on the assumption that you actually spotted the bad guy at the first opportunity. 

It does, but in my experience it's better to have a proper look down the threat direction, rather than cursory but more frequent glances. It's actually a hideously complicated subject so I'm tempted to say whatever feels comfortable, and if you feel that you can't be 100% sure that you can see everything within a certain range (I picked 6 k but the spotting in this sim is very variable person to person) you have to pick a point at which you are satisfied you can definitely spot stuff and have more frequent looks to compensate.

 

I've just moved to VR an it's a fair bit more of a chore checking 6, so it's really tempting to say, I'm in friendly territory so I don't need to look as much, but it's a bit of a fallacy because after all, the most dangerous enemy is the one you don't see, so unless there's a particular reason to devote your attention elsewhere like in the examples @busdriver gave, if there's any chance there's an enemy in the area your frequency of 6 checking should remain the same. (With the caveats that the consequences of getting shot in the sim a far lower than in real life and we play for fun, so why not give your neck a rest)

 

 

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Well over the years I have developed a habit or pattern.  When flying with no wingman, I check 6 every time I turn my head across the nose.  Scan right, turn to the left and check 6.  Then scan left, turn to the right and check 6.  The pattern repeats over and over.  I would guess my average scan is 10 to 15 seconds.  

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VR with >150 degrees FOV checking 6 isn't too bad.  I could imagine those with narrow FOV headsets - you would be seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis.

 

Over Friendly Territory, every 30 or so seconds.

Front Lines or Enemy Territory - 10 seconds or 20 seconds to do visual sweeps from one side rear to other.

 

It will become better in VR when 170 DOV at high res and refresh rates are doable.  At the moment we can only achieve 2 out of the 3.

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5 hours ago, blitze said:

VR with >150 degrees FOV checking 6 isn't too bad.  I could imagine those with narrow FOV headsets - you would be seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis.

 

Over Friendly Territory, every 30 or so seconds.

Front Lines or Enemy Territory - 10 seconds or 20 seconds to do visual sweeps from one side rear to other.

 

It will become better in VR when 170 DOV at high res and refresh rates are doable.  At the moment we can only achieve 2 out of the 3.

Yep, my neck is crying out for a larger FOV!

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7 hours ago, marklar said:

 

But why? This game does not simulate random faults so what's the point of checking temps, pressure, fluids every 10sec? Unless you were damaged by enemy fire or flying with closed radiators nothing wrong will happen to your plane.

 

Some of us fly without the tech tips on after we've gotten familiar with the plane.  For most planes with manual radiators there is more setting adjustments you can make than opened or closed. Watching temps when trying to squeeze a few extra kph out of a plane by keeping the radiators tight is kind of important.  IDK if the P-47 is modeled correctly, but if it is, keeping the temps at a certain range (which borders on being too hot) is vital to not losing quite a lot of horsepower.

Also, checking things like the manual supercharger lever is kind of important so you don't forget to do things like switch back to stage one when you go low enough.  Some planes really don't like it when they are set to stage 2 on the deck.  A few will even go so far as to try to flop over and kill you out of spite for being mis-flown.

Planes like the P-40 which will over-rev in a dive easily won't tell you in the tech tips.  Tech tips only tell you the settings you've input and when the max continuous  > combat power > emergency power thresholds have been crossed.  You can set it conservatively and forget it in the tech tips and still find the motor blown. 

There's  wide variety of reasons reading the settings from inside the cockpit is better than just relying on the tips. Unless you're a mainly German pilot using planes with automation.  Then you really only need the Ata gauge and the altimeter. I guess the speedometer is handy too, but you almost never need to right to the edge of going too fast and ripping parts off of the plane.

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13 hours ago, marklar said:

 

But why? This game does not simulate random faults so what's the point of checking temps, pressure, fluids every 10sec? Unless you were damaged by enemy fire or flying with closed radiators nothing wrong will happen to your plane.

 

Note your speed and altitude.  Speed and altitude I feel I need to know before making the next maneuver.  Is it going to leave me too slow? Will  I even be able to complete it?

Check your ata to make sure you are not burning out your engine.  Critical for me.  I damage my engine all the time.

Those are IMHO the most important.

 

If your RPMs are not controlled check that to make sure you are not over speeding your prop (usually only a factor in a dive).  More of a WWI thing.

Checking temperature to make sure you are not causing engine damage?  I can definitely damage my engine without taking combat damage but I can also generally avoid it if I am careful about ata, so maybe not necessary.

 

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Check six as often as you can manage without ruining your fun.  Some peoples' scanning routines sound so tedious that I have serious doubts as to whether they can keep it up for a 45 minute sortie.  If they can, well good for them; but it sounds like way too much work for a video game.  It's not like you actually die in real life if you get shot down here.

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Thanks all for the great responses! Truly some excellent information in this thread that I hope will be of use to others.

I did an experiment last night with an interval timer on my phone to see what a 30 second 6 check felt like. I had two intervals - one for 30 seconds (the delay between checks) and the other for 5 seconds (the 6 check itself which includes a quarter roll or slight turn). I was amazed at how much more frequent that felt to me than what I typically do. I would encourage others to do the same but with whatever interval(s) you think are necessary (different times, additional intervals to break up where you are looking, etc). I suspect there is a pretty big difference between what we think we are doing and what we actually are doing. After all, if we all checked our six as much as we believe we should we probably wouldn't be getting shot down! :)

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If you arf in VR and no mirror. Never. It simply too hard. Needless to say I die a lot not knowing what hit me in mp

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1 hour ago, No.322_LuseKofte said:

If you arf in VR and no mirror. Never. It simply too hard. Needless to say I die a lot not knowing what hit me in mp

 

We had a saying..."You can die relaxed or you can die tensed up." You my hero, die relaxed. ;)

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9 minutes ago, busdriver said:

 

We had a saying..."You can die relaxed or you can die tensed up." You my hero, die relaxed. ;)

 

lol

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