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109 handling on the ground


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Compared to the 190, the 109 handles a bit too nice on the ground based on anecdotal evidence.

Take-offs and landings are virtually a no-brainer if you manage to lock the tail-wheel.

 

Here's some food for thought from Falkeeins concerning non-combat losses of the 109 in the late war stage (intermixed with some early war He 112 hype).

http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2020/11/bf-109-losses-1944-45-we-would-have.html

 

He mentions there were 570 non-combat losses of 109 in December 1944 alone and had been that high (ballpark) through the whole of 1944.

Now if we only assume 10% of those losses* being linked to the 109's anecdotal severely sh!tty ground-handling; that would amount to 600 airframes lost in 1944 alone.

The actual figure might be significantly higher.

 

Comparing the 109 of BoX to the other product bearing the IL-2 brand, there's a significant difference in handling.

Any ideas why the 109 handles so easy, compared to other airplanes?

 

___

* based on an assumed average of 500 losses per month, which in turn is based on greater op-temp during the summer (invasion in Normandy)

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Well was it sh!tty or could there be some other explanations too, perhaps?

 

You should take note at least these 3 possibilities: a) LW training was very poor during late years b) LW transfer pilots were even more incompetent and c) factories were behind their production schedules, which were sometimes rectified by reporting losses that were not actual.

 

And comparing to 190 in BoX I feel no difference as long as you keep the tail-wheel locked on both planes. Tail wheel is the key. Poor visibility caused losses too ( and do so in the sim also)

 

Couple of quotes from the interviews of Finnish pilots tell a different story. They were experienced pilots and not rushed into overpowered warplane without training. Their point of view: (Bolded the important lines for the TL;DR people)

 

This is why I expressed it so much, always remember to lock the tail wheel. It was the main reason why we lost MT's and pilots in take-offs.
All you had to do was to keep the heel down and let go, and when you felt the rudders move, then you let the tail rise."
- Väinö Pokela, Finnish fighter ace and Me 109 trainer

 

"Takeoff: the swerve (to left) was easy to control if one remembered to lock the tail wheel, open the throttle slowly (movement range of the throttle was really short) and didn't raise the tail up too early."
-Otso Leskinen, Finnish fighter pilot. Source: Hannu Valtonen, "Me 109 ja Saksan sotatalous"

 

"I didn't feel the tendency to swing in takeoff was troublesome. I think they were exaggerated by a large margin. MT could "sit down" on field easily, without any problems. Of all different planes I have flown the easiest to fly were the Pyry (advanced trainer) and the Messerschmitt."
- Esko Nuuttila, Finnish fighter pilot. Source: Hannu Valtonen, "Me 109 ja Saksan sotatalous"

 

"Takeoff and landing are known as troublesome, but in my opinion there is much more rumours around than what actually happened. There sure was some tendency to swing and it surely swerved if you didn't take into account. But I got the correct training for Messerchmitt and it helped me during my whole career. It was: "lock tailwheel, open up the throttle smoothly. When the speed increases correct any tendency to swing with your feet. Use the stick normally. Lift the tailwheel and pull plane into the sky."
- Atte Nyman, , Finnish fighter ace. 5 victories. Source: Hannu Valtonen, "Me 109 ja Saksan sotatalous"

 

I noticed that people always kept warning about the swing at takeoff. I never let it do so, maybe I resisted it automatically. Visibility forwards was minimal during landing approach.
- Kauko Risku, Finnish fighter pilot. Source: Hannu Valtonen, "Me 109 ja Saksan sotatalous"

 

"Good in the Me? Good flying characterics, powerful engine and good take-off and landing characterics.
Takeoff: if you pushed full throttle immediately and your tailwheel was still at ground, the plane carries away to the right. When speed increases the electrical propeller pitch control system increased the pitch and the plane started to swing strongly leftwards. So if the pilot wasn't careful here, the plane might get loose. But because I had been warned about this I never had any problems when taking off or landing in the Me."
- Onni Kuuluvainen, Finnish fighter pilot. Source: Hannu Valtonen, "Me 109 ja Saksan sotatalous"

Edited by Hanu
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24 minutes ago, Hanu said:

a) LW training was very poor during late years b) LW transfer pilots were even more incompetent and c) factories were behind their production schedules, which were sometimes rectified by reporting losses that were not actual.

 

a) LW training certainly was poor at this stage, but we do have anecdotes of the 109 being a different beast by well experienced LW fighter-pilots, as well as experienced test-pilots by the allies, as well as quite experienced warbird pilots of today. If you have three different peer-groups stating the same, it's safe to say the 109 HAD issues.

 

b) Some might have been, but I doubt they were more incompetent than the usual line pilot.

c) I doubt it. Factories had a brickton of output and if any, losses that were not total could have been writte-offn as such, in order to cannibalize the aircraft. That I also doubt, given that there were usually enough aircraft available.

 

27 minutes ago, Hanu said:

And comparing to 190 in BoX I feel no difference as long as you keep the tail-wheel locked on both planes. Tail wheel is the key. Poor visibility caused losses too ( and do so in the sim also)

 

I find the 190 unneccessarily hard to taxi and way too easy to groundloop with an unlocked tail.

One issue might be the unrealisticly high amount of power necessary to get aircraft moving - and that hurts the taxiability of all aircraft.

 

"Poor visibility" is relative. Yes, it might have caused a few accidents, but neither the 109, nor the 190 have exceedingly poor visibility for a taildragger.

You just can't see anything *directly* in front of you, but slant visibility along the sides of the fuselage isn't too bad at all.

 

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Fact is, all on these aircraft were fairly difficult to handle on the ground, in particular if operated from improvised airfields.

 

Fact is also, that the particulars of the Bf109's running gear, i.e. the angle in which the wheels touched the ground, the narrowness of the gear track and a fairly high load on the rear wheel, all added to that difficulty by amplifiying the trend for a ground loop, in which the plane could rather easily fall over.

 

On the bottom line, however, there's no discernable difference between the Fw190 and the Bf109 in regard to non-combat losses. If the Bf109 had been as much of a deathtrap and the Fw190 as easy on the ground as it sometimes claimed (or understood), you'd see a difference.

 

As of the difficulty in game - I don't know. If found the tendency for ground looping overdone in general, but then I've never really taken off with the 2000hp taildragger from an improvised air strip. I don't really miss any extra difficulty, however significant, on the Bf109.

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It is my impression that the sim generally has ailerons (and controls per se) very effective even at low speeds. The main problem I see with the 109 is confined to the moment during take off, where the aircraft just starts to fly but has to compensate for significant torque. Near max. AoA, ailerons are not that effective and may work other than intended, by stalling the wing want to lift and by dragging that wing backwards. Also in the sim there is no asymmetric deployment of slats, no aileron snatching etc. All stuff that is recipie for nightmares if your other controls are still limited in their effectivity. In the sim, we don't really ride the edge of the enveloppe here, as there is literally plenty wiggle room in term of control authority.

 

Those aircaft are basically sound designs. They just give you far less room for error, especially the overpowered and overweight later war interations of old kites. If you make everything right, be the conditions as misterable as they might be, you have no issue. It's just that peeps don't always do everything as the aircraft likes it. (The Cessnas milage might variey there considerably.)

 

I honestly prefer it the way we have it than the other way around.

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3 hours ago, Hanu said:

Couple of quotes from the interviews of Finnish pilots tell a different story. They were experienced pilots and not rushed into overpowered warplane without training. Their point of view: (Bolded the important lines for the TL;DR people)

OK, so what all your sources are telling you is, lock the tail wheel. Here is what I tell you, in game there is absolutely no need to lock the tail wheel. No matter if you throttle up at once or slowly, it is as easy as riding on a bycicle. I just tried it with the G 14.

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3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

a) LW training certainly was poor at this stage, but we do have anecdotes of the 109 being a different beast by well experienced LW fighter-pilots, as well as experienced test-pilots by the allies, as well as quite experienced warbird pilots of today. If you have three different peer-groups stating the same, it's safe to say the 109 HAD issues.

 

b) Some might have been, but I doubt they were more incompetent than the usual line pilot.

c) I doubt it. Factories had a brickton of output and if any, losses that were not total could have been writte-offn as such, in order to cannibalize the aircraft. That I also doubt, given that there were usually enough aircraft available.

 

Sure it had issues especially when handled incorrectly. Finns had several casualties when you forgot to lock the tailwheel. And naturaly not everyone loved Bf-109, but general opinion from our veterans was that 109 was well liked plane and easy to handle, and I don't see a reason not to believe that.. Bragging would manifest itself the other way around. Most gripes came from visibility and cramped cockpit (however some even liked that 😄). 

 

But also as late '44 training hours in LW had been cut down several times so that there were pilots going into combat with less than 60h total flight experience (20hrs of those in 109), so on the other hand you can say 109 was not a total beast when this could be done.

 

3 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

I find the 190 unneccessarily hard to taxi and way too easy to groundloop with an unlocked tail.

 

Groundlooping overall while taxiing in BoX without locked tailwheel is excessive IMO. Take Ju-88 for example, other planes have problems too. But you're right, it is unnecessary hard. The feeling of friction is missing some way that it does not feel natural. I believe if AnPetrovich had more time he could/would improve it.

 

I just find your logic "I'm having trouble taxiing with 190, should 109 be harder?" faulty and thus somewhat purposeful. Choosing 109 as a reference target is understandable as the claim will surely gain support because 109 myths are well-established in western literature. I'm sorry if I over-translated your text, but that is what it looks to my eye.

 

27 minutes ago, Yogiflight said:

OK, so what all your sources are telling you is, lock the tail wheel. Here is what I tell you, in game there is absolutely no need to lock the tail wheel. No matter if you throttle up at once or slowly, it is as easy as riding on a bycicle. I just tried it with the G 14.

 

Fair enough. It should be at least problematic and even hazardous if done incorrectly. I do not argue with that. I even emphasized in several occasions that correct procedure was important. But when locked I feel 109 behaves like it should behave according to sources.

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1 hour ago, ZachariasX said:

It's just that peeps don't always do everything as the aircraft likes it.

I honestly prefer it the way we have it than the other way around.

 

Yeah, the old Hellcat vs. Corsair debate is the same thing:

Would you rather have an aircraft that makes the job easy, or would you like an aircraft that makes the job hard for an essential part of the mission, namely taking off and landing?

 

It's just down to the correct technique, but it takes brain-power away from other possible areas of interest.

"Where did that fuel-bowser come from? Damn, I need to get around that one!"

*crashing sound intensifies*

 

The 109 had it's tailwheel lengthened later to decrease deck-angle on the ground. Ludwig Boelkow attributes this as one of the reasons for the increased tendency of 109s to go for a ride. He also specificly mentions that reducing the swing-tendency was one of the major design-efforts for the K.

 

2 hours ago, JtD said:

As of the difficulty in game - I don't know. If found the tendency for ground looping overdone in general, but then I've never really taken off with the 2000hp taildragger from an improvised air strip. I don't really miss any extra difficulty, however significant, on the Bf109.

 

I do. It doesn't handle like an aircraft that airshow- and warbird-pilots with substantial T-6 time (like Walter Eichhorn) handle with a good deal of additional respect.

It's not about making the 109 extra hard. It's about providing a truer relative experience between the different aircraft.

 

I think the relative handling compared to other aircraft is done better in CloD/ Blitz.

 

2 hours ago, JtD said:

On the bottom line, however, there's no discernable difference between the Fw190 and the Bf109 in regard to non-combat losses. If the Bf109 had been as much of a deathtrap and the Fw190 as easy on the ground as it sometimes claimed (or understood), you'd see a difference.

 

I don't buy it.

Had they had similar tendencies to swing or go for a ride, you wouldn't have all the anecdotal evidence by a plethora of differently skilled pilots - that includes low-time, end of war, barely out of school kids, who had probably been fed the "take care or it will bite you"-talk by their instructors and goes right up to test-pilots at Rechlin.

 

The number of total accidents alone is a bad indicator, agreed.

Trouble is, it's hard to find any indicative data anywhere, as most non-combat loss-records aren't detailed enough and won't even give you a phase of flight.

It's easy to come up with similar loss-numbers, despite different reasons.

 

27 minutes ago, Hanu said:

Finns had several casualties when you forgot to lock the tailwheel.

 

And so had the Germans. In fact, Fritz Wendel did point that out to a unit he visited, after seeing thee 109s groundloop on landing simultaneously.

Those accidents are mostly at lower speed, though.

 

The really dangerous part was raising the tail on takeoff, which could be happening quickly and semi-controlled (see post by ZachariasX above).

One solution here was to raise the tailwheel, to give the aircraft a lower AoA on the ground, which helped improve the chracteristics during that part of the T/O run (less travel of the nose, hence less changes in gyroscopic forces and also p-factor). Also, the taller tail provided more area, adding control-authority.

 

Yet the 109G-10 and K had more installed power and torque than earlier, short-tailed/ -tailwheeled aircraft. The net effects probably cancelled each other out for the most part.

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@ZachariasX, Il2 109s do model asymmetric slot deployment. One just has to fly it the "right way" to cause it, but it's actually a lot easier to take place than in another combat flightsim that also has a 109 model...

 

OTOH, I recall that when the 109 was first released, not sure if after or before the 190, in the Il2 BoS series, takeoffs were a bit more difficult to manage, including the need for brake application because the rudder was not as effective as it is right now...

 

I find it a bit too easy to takeoff with the 109s in Il2, taking anecdotes I've read, namely being able to takeoff at full power without locking the tailwheel, just by controlling the aircraft with the rudder... That I would say may look like a bit to the "easy" side (?)

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39 minutes ago, jcomm-in-il2 said:

@ZachariasX, Il2 109s do model asymmetric slot deployment. One just has to fly it the "right way" to cause it, but it's actually a lot easier to take place than in another combat flightsim that also has a 109 model...

Really? I have to try make her do that. Thanks for pointing it out.

 

44 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

One solution here was to raise the tailwheel

Is that so? I thought it was for adding clearance to put mo' dakka dakka under the aircraft. Is anyone familiar with recommended procedures of flying the later 109 off the ground? You can either make her fly off by herself, tail down or you can raise the tail and add some more speed. The later is not always done (especially today) as those high power planes may tend to overspeed with wheels still down. Lacking better info, I do take your word for it.

 

5 minutes ago, Mitthrawnuruodo said:

One thing to note is that the Bf 109 main gear apparently extends at a substantially incorrect angle. This probably affects ground handling, but I'm not sure whether the overall effect is positive or negative.

This gives a steeper angle (in the sim 109) sitting on the ground, opposite of what Brems suggested the Germans did to improve things.

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18 minutes ago, ZachariasX said:

Is that so? I thought it was for adding clearance to put mo' dakka dakka under the aircraft.

 

Yes. Bölkow states that. He mentions the small track design had been a weak-point in terms of handling, but also in terms of strength, as often the aluminum gear-fittings would break.

They replaced the fittings by a design made from steel, which solved that problem.

They investigated the Fw 190 and figured it had a  2° lower deck-angle on the ground. They had installed tufts on the 109's inner wing area and found ot there were areas of flow-separation during three-point landings, giving the aircraft an initial impulse around the yaw-axis that could develop into a swing. The longer tailwheel helped there.

- "Me 109, Produktion und Einsatz" by Peter Schmoll

 

The mo-dakka part was just a beneficial side-effect.

 

Edit: There's also a statement by Eichhorn in Schmoll's book, stating that the G-10 definately was a little easier to handle during T/O and landing than the G-6.

Edited by Bremspropeller
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26 minutes ago, ZachariasX said:

This gives a steeper angle (in the sim 109) sitting on the ground, opposite of what Brems suggested the Germans did to improve things.

 

That's true (assuming that the length of the gear isn't also incorrect in the model).

 

However, the gear angle in the sim moves the main wheels rearward (closer to the centre of mass), which should reduce the tendency to spin in a ground loop.

 

I think that makes it somewhat more complicated.

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""Me 109 was hard/dangerous plane to take off."
- The standard takeoff procedure for 109 was to use rudder to keep the plane straight. There was basically to ways to take off the plane. Either you throttled up fairly fast and gave full  right rudder, easing it off as speed increased, or you throttled up slowly so there was minimal torque effect. In practise that was similar to anybody who had flown other types before and it took usually just one flight to know how to do it. The myth that there was something hard in taking off in 109 stems mostly from highly exaggerated claims - or the fact that for new pilots converting to 109 from various trainers had not flown such highly powerful aircraft before. With proper teaching - no problems. In Germany that was rare thing in the last years of war though. The Finnish Air Force chief instructor colonel Väinö Pokela told, that one of his key points in teaching new pilots to 109s was to instruct them very carefully - and told them to forget any horror stories they've been told.  He said, that many pilots were already scared from the horror stories other pilots and non pilots had been telling, and after showing how easy 109 was to handle there was seldom any problems.
- Colonel Pokela also told that most 109 crashed he had seen resulted because the pilot had forgotten to lock the tailwheel before applying takeoff power. If that happened then the pilot couldn't keep the plane straight when accelerating. Take notice that you need to push rudder in all other planes as well - for example Spitfire requires similarly full right pedal while accelerating.
- Torque can indeed send a plane off the runway during a takeoff, especially if there's a crosswind to start it off. But 109 is no different from a P-40 or a Spitfire in this situation. The bad reputation most likely comes from pilots flying it for the first and perhaps only time, and that the veteran pilot would instinctively make the adjustments needed to keep it straight while rolling on the ground.

"109s were so difficult to take off and land that half the 109s lost in the war were lost to take off and landing accidents."
- 5 % of the 109's were lost in take off/landing accidents.

"11,000 of the 33,000 built were destroyed during takeoff and landing accidents - one third of its combat potential!" (direct quote)
"Me-109 had an astonishing 11,000 takeoff/landing accidents resulting in destruction of the a/c! That number represents roughly one-third of the approximately 33,000 such a/c built by Germany." (usual internet claim)

- Source: FLIGHT JOURNAL magazine
- The magazine has it wrong or has misintepretated the numbers. Luftwaffe lost about 1500 Me-109's in landing gear failures. Note that German loss reports often lump destroyed and damaged (10 to 60% damaged) together. It was also a standard practise to rebuild even heavily damaged airframes. While rebuilding/refurnishing these planes were also upgraded to the latest standards and latest equipment. This means that large proportion of these damaged/destroyed planes were not complete losses, but returned to squadron service.
"

Source:http://www.virtualpilots.fi/feature/articles/109myths/#myths

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Also gear geometry and weight distribution is different - not even looking at aerodynamics.

 

Fwiw, the P-40 also received a larger tailwheel in later series, because the wing could stall at the ground, leading to unpleasent surprises.

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Here is what the British test pilot Eric Brown has to say about taking off in the Me-109G6:

 

“The forward view was terrible but at least Gustav was easily steerable owing to its positive toe pedal-operated wheel brakes, and using 15 degrees flap and 1.3 ata boost, the take-off run was commendably short and certainly superior to that of the Spitfire IX in distance of run. The strong swing to port could easily be held on rudder, but it was desirable to raise the tail as rapidly as possible owing to the poor forward view. This could be done fairly coarsely without fear of the propeller hitting the ground as the high thrust line of…….”

 

The excerpt above is from the article “Four of the finest” in the RAF yearbook from 1975 in which he compares flying the Spitfire, Hurricane, Fw-190 and Me-109. In this article he details the procedures for taking off, flying and landing the different aircraft and in no way is the Me-109 singled out as being particularly difficult to take off in.

 

In addition, a while back I spoke to Mikael Carlson about how it was like flying Hangar 10's Me-109G6 and he liked it and did not think taking off was an issue. AFAIK he has in addition to his WW1 birds flown a lot of different WW2 fighters as well so if he does not think the 109 stands out in any way either I think that together with Eric Brown statement above says a lot.

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2 hours ago, Holtzauge said:

In addition, a while back I spoke to Mikael Carlson about how it was like flying Hangar 10's Me-109G6 and he liked it and did not think taking off was an issue. AFAIK he has in addition to his WW1 birds flown a lot of different WW2 fighters as well so if he does not think the 109 stands out in any way either I think that together with Eric Brown statement above says a lot.

I also think that these aircraft are not difficult to fly per se. I mean, they pose no challenge most pilots would learn to adapt to. But the real issue I see is that those aircraft are designed for a very specific way to operate them. If you use them in an other way (e.g. use concrete runways instead of grass - or - grass and ALWAYS heading directly into the wind), they get a lot of character that never was an issue because people were not doing what you might do today. Furthermore, those aircraft require you to fly them much more as the aircraft likes it. While you can be a brute flying a Cessna, vintage aircraft with character will hurt you shuld you hamfist them. This is especially problematic, as those aircraft sometimes may like different procedures as one might be familiar with operating todays AC. And this is what will hurt you.

 

Mikael Carlson is as much of a plane whisperer as you can get, hence the aircraft never really behave at odds to him. He senses how you handle them and then they are no problem. No wonder he sees nothing particular wrong about the 109.

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Neither Carlson nor Brown are what we would consider average pilots.

I suppose that  those more average and unexperience pilots where more at risk of being bitten by the plane. Specially if not following the right procedures for the type.

In the sim, it shouldn´t be a huge problem as you can try many times and abuse as many planes as you like before you find the right way of handling it. In reality, it most likely that it had been more critical learning it properly and doing it well the first time (as it could be the last too).

 

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2 hours ago, ZachariasX said:

I also think that these aircraft are not difficult to fly per se. I mean, they pose no challenge most pilots would learn to adapt to. But the real issue I see is that those aircraft are designed for a very specific way to operate them. If you use them in an other way (e.g. use concrete runways instead of grass - or - grass and ALWAYS heading directly into the wind), they get a lot of character that never was an issue because people were not doing what you might do today. Furthermore, those aircraft require you to fly them much more as the aircraft likes it. While you can be a brute flying a Cessna, vintage aircraft with character will hurt you shuld you hamfist them. This is especially problematic, as those aircraft sometimes may like different procedures as one might be familiar with operating todays AC. And this is what will hurt you.

 

Mikael Carlson is as much of a plane whisperer as you can get, hence the aircraft never really behave at odds to him. He senses how you handle them and then they are no problem. No wonder he sees nothing particular wrong about the 109.

 

1 hour ago, HR_Zunzun said:

Neither Carlson nor Brown are what we would consider average pilots.

I suppose that  those more average and unexperience pilots where more at risk of being bitten by the plane. Specially if not following the right procedures for the type.

In the sim, it shouldn´t be a huge problem as you can try many times and abuse as many planes as you like before you find the right way of handling it. In reality, it most likely that it had been more critical learning it properly and doing it well the first time (as it could be the last too).

 

 

For sure, both Brown and Carlson were/are accomplished pilots so they could probably handle just about anything you throw at them but the point I was trying to make is that neither has said that the 109 sticks out or is extraordinary in any way in comparison to other WW2 fighters when it comes to take off handling.

 

As a side note on ground handling: Mikael mentioned that it's good if the grass is not too hard but a bit soft because then you need more throttle to roll giving you more rudder authority. This makes me think about Il-2: I have no idea about how easy planes roll in-game as compared IRL and if you need more or less throttle to move. I guess increasing the rolling friction would go some way though to alleviate the in-game tendencies for many aircraft to ground loop while taxiing if you don’t lock the tail wheel and tap the brakes all the time.

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9 minutes ago, Holtzauge said:

This makes me think about Il-2: I have no idea about how easy planes roll in-game as compared IRL

I've been told by a Mustang pilot that the Mustang rolls much more ready than in the sim. IIRC at 900 rpm it moves. So does the Spit.

 

I think that in general, the sim is much more benign in giving control authority at higher AoA than what I would count on in real life. This extra safety margin (it essentially is just that) makes things less problematic.

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32 minutes ago, ZachariasX said:

I've been told by a Mustang pilot that the Mustang rolls much more ready than in the sim. IIRC at 900 rpm it moves. So does the Spit.

 

OK good to know. Was he talking about 900 rpm to move on concrete or on grass? In addition, getting to move is one thing but I think the problems gets worse when you roll to well since you the need to throttle back and have no slipstream over the rudder. This was why Mikael preferred softer grass since it gives you something to work with. In addition, he mentioned that since you don't have wheel brakes on the WW1 kites it's sometimes difficult to get them to stop in time if the grass is to dry and hard.

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7 minutes ago, Holtzauge said:

OK good to know. Was he talking about 900 rpm to move on concrete or on grass?

Concrete.

 

7 minutes ago, Holtzauge said:

In addition, getting to move is one thing but I think the problems gets worse when you roll to well since you the need to throttle back and have no slipstream over the rudder.

It is my impression that in all sims, the planes love to yaw a bit too much. Even with unlocked tailwheels, just hitting the brakes a bit should not induce that much of a swing. In the reals Spit, you just nose over hitting the brakes, you don't swing around. It comes around if you give her some momentum.

 

The yaw wobble is prabably part of the mechanic where excessive mass inertia overpowers the stabilizer and make the tail oscilate, exceeding the damping effect too much.

 

I really see these goofy things at the edges of the envelope as more of a technical consequence of out sims than intended functioning. Hence, everybody seems weary dealing with that. Escpecially once you found a compromise that you can live with.

 

13 minutes ago, Holtzauge said:

This was why Mikael preferred softer grass since it gives you something to work with. In addition, he mentioned that since you don't have wheel brakes on the WW1 kites it's sometimes difficult to get them to stop in time if the grass is to dry and hard.

AFAIK, most tail draggers love grass for that reason. Also the fact that some are not equipped with a lock for the tailwheel just underscores that they are intended for operation on grass. When the Tiger Moth came out, how many airfields had pavement? I guess hardly any of which that aircraft operated. Hence no brakes was perfectly fine. All you have is a large pach of grass and you land how it is convenient. If you narrow the scope, you can reduce functionality.

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My experience new to the sim, I had a difficult time handling the 109 in taxi and take-off. I even forgotten to lock my tail wheel and met with an unfortunate end. I did exactly has instructed  and I slowly learned how to take off without issue. I also did the applying max power and adjusting as it increased speed. (I should note the first plane I took off in in the sim was a Yak and I had zero problems). I came over from RoF so there was some hard lessons learned. LOL. 

 

This was an enjoyable thread to read. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I seem to remember well that landing and taxiing in earlier iterations was a much more difficult affair for the majority of aircraft. The ground handling of the MiG and the Fw 190 in particular  stand out  with many online antics of folks spinning out of control and many not even getting off the ground.

 

I have often read on the forum that more difficult is not always realistic but I do miss the more challenging landings (either that or I have got better at landing).  It would of course be next to impossible to get a 100% accurate flight sim with the current technology and one can only assume that their has to be a balance between ultimate realism possible and playability. 

  

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On 11/26/2020 at 12:18 PM, Bremspropeller said:

Compared to the 190, the 109 handles a bit too nice on the ground based on anecdotal evidence.

Take-offs and landings are virtually a no-brainer if you manage to lock the tail-wheel.

 

Here's some food for thought from Falkeeins concerning non-combat losses of the 109 in the late war stage (intermixed with some early war He 112 hype).

http://falkeeins.blogspot.com/2020/11/bf-109-losses-1944-45-we-would-have.html

 

He mentions there were 570 non-combat losses of 109 in December 1944 alone and had been that high (ballpark) through the whole of 1944.

Now if we only assume 10% of those losses* being linked to the 109's anecdotal severely sh!tty ground-handling; that would amount to 600 airframes lost in 1944 alone.

The actual figure might be significantly higher.

 

Comparing the 109 of BoX to the other product bearing the IL-2 brand, there's a significant difference in handling.

Any ideas why the 109 handles so easy, compared to other airplanes?

 

___

* based on an assumed average of 500 losses per month, which in turn is based on greater op-temp during the summer (invasion in Normandy)

 

What doesn't help answering this question is the lack of context that has surrounded its landing gear in historical publications of the Bf 109. The aircraft has (quite rightly) a very demanding reputation in terms of ground handling but many of the faults have been misunderstood. Also the improvements to the design along its service life with the late G variants and K do help considerably to alleviate ground handling issues - so much so that I believe Walter Eichorn's son spent many hours training on the G-10 as its much easier thanks to the raised tail wheel, tall tail and other additions. However on concrete runways especially in crosswinds the toe in on the wheels against a hard surface causes problems. There are however several positive points with the Bf 109 (short takeoff run, rear C-of-G allowing for harsh braking without nosing over, differential braking being fairly effective, some prop clearance, straight forward to three point on landing).

 

The 10% figure of attrition is a reasonable estimate for specifically takeoff and landing accidents for the first half of the war and was in line with most other types, but late 1944 and 1945 were obviously not normal operating circumstances for the Luftwaffe so loss rates were always going to be higher when pilots were being thrown out into difficult field conditions with as little as 10 to 15 hours on their fighter. As some people have quite rightly said, the Bf 109 was not much different in loss rate for a given time period to the Fw 190. I don't think any pilot would be thrilled taking off from a muddy/wet and narrow field strip in winter, with almost no forward visibility and all while inbetween tall pine forest - potentially with cross wind and with only a few hours on a 1800 hp aircraft... any takeoff is going to be a challenge in those conditions.

 

To add to the comments already mentioned:

 

- The Bf 109 was designed to takeoff from open grass strips / airfields and if required, short improvised forward fields... concrete runways and narrow spaces like in-between forests especially with very poor field conditions require good directional stability...

- The aircraft does have weak lateral/directional stability which enhances the use of rudder (side slip) in combat, the rudder was deliberately designed to be small to reduce drag as much as possible. This affects the above point and therefore requires constant correction on takeoff and at high speeds - experienced tail dragger pilots tend to compensate for this naturally and quickly by using rudder inputs, if you transition from less powerful types (think fine handling 1930's biplanes) this can come as a surprise to an uninitiated pilot.

- The Finnish pilots were well trained to fly it, but there were comments made that the Germans themselves were struggling to train their own pilots in sufficient number to a consistent standard and without a thorough enough training programme - which was constantly being cut down to rush new pilots into ops. Luftwaffe pilots did not receive blind flying or much if any gunnery training late in the war, you can clearly see from the records that pilots trained pre-1942 performed far better on average than those trained later. The fuel situation and lack of safe training space exacerbated this.

- There are (basically) two different methods of takeoff, applying immediate full power which makes for the fastest takeoff run possible but also requires quick and large rudder inputs OR you slowly and steadily raise power which gives the pilot more time to compensate with the rudder. If you are doing a scramble with other aircraft in cross winds, or have to takeoff from a short improvised airstrip you may not get a choice.

- Post-war the Buchon (Rolls Royce powered adaptation) often represented the Bf 109; leading to some conclusions to be drawn on the original aircraft. However the Buchon's handling on the ground is considered even more difficult than many of the Daimler Benz versions. Cockpit noise with that thing is also atrocious. Don't even get started about the Jumo versions flown by the Israelis (Avia S-199).

 

Personally, I think in-game the current takeoff and landing characteristics are a bit more forgiving than the real aircraft - but this may even be intentional - I feel the characteristics have been toned down a bit for all of the fighters to be honest to make them more accessible. Do players really want to spend more time having ground accidents rather than potential time flying? The engine torque is modelled, however the aircraft seems a little too forgiving when you over-correct with the rudder - this would, in practice; overload one gear strut with the chance developing quickly for a ground loop and/or potentially snapping a gear leg when you apply too much rudder to correct heading.

 

That very aft centre of gravity would in practice cause greater instability I reckon if you didn't maintain a solid and careful hold over your controls during that initial takeoff phase (demanding reputation). You'll hear some pilots say that once you are rolling - you stay with that heading and don't try to fully recover the original heading (at least with the early G variants) - that wasn't a problem when pilots were taking off from open grass strips / airfields back in the early 30's and 40's but it was when both poor piloting, training and operating conditions converged in 1944. Its still problematic today when taking off from narrow runways which may have building(s), equipment and terrain located adjacent. Also a final note - it seems way too easy when moving off and taxiing to just end up rotating around mindlessly, the aft C-of-G should make it a little more planted than it currently behaves. It took a good burst of power just to move the aircraft off from a stationary position.

 

I felt the below video might be of interest to some people, just to give background to the subject.

 

 

Edited by Aurora_Stealth
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Overall a great post by you, just some things I'd like to add:

 

13 minutes ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

There are however several positive points with the Bf 109 (short takeoff run, rear C-of-G allowing for harsh braking without nosing over, differential braking being fairly effective, some prop clearance, straight forward to three point on landing).

 

The rear CoG is great for braking and not nosing-over. It also makes the tail want to waggle and come out more, though. There's no free lunch, unfortunately.

 

13 minutes ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

- The Bf 109 was designed to takeoff from open grass strips / airfields and if required, short improvised forward fields... concrete runways and narrow spaces like in-between forests especially with very poor field conditions require good directional stability...

 

Let's re-phrase that: It wasn't meant to fly from concrete runways, but from a normal run-of-the-mill circular grass-strip, where cross-wind was never an issue and minor pilot-hiccups wouldn't automatically mean bent metal. That wasn't unusual for those times. I wouldn't call it a design-feature, but just mormal design at the time.

 

15 minutes ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

- It has weak lateral/directional stability which enhances the use of rudder (side slip) in combat, the rudder was deliberately designed to be small to reduce drag. This affects the above point and therefore requires constant correction on takeoff and at high speeds - experienced tail dragger pilots tend to compensate for this naturally and quickly by using rudder inputs, if you transition from less powerful types (think fine handling 1930's biplanes) this can come as a surprise to an uninitiated pilot.

 

I don't think the fin-area (or rudder) was designed small - the airplane just gained a lot of weight and power during it's service life, which asked a little too much of the same-sized tail, that was initially designed for a sub 500kph sub 1000HP aircraft.

 

17 minutes ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

- The Finnish pilots were well trained to fly it, but there were comments made that the Germans themselves were struggling to train their own pilots in sufficient number to a consistent standard and without a thorough enough training programme - which was constantly being cut down to rush new pilots into ops. Luftwaffe pilots did not receive blind flying or much if any gunnery training late in the war, you can clearly see from the records that pilots trained pre-1942 performed far better on average than those trained later. The fuel situation and lack of safe training space exacerbated this.

 

The Finns are also great racing-drivers. Understatement seems to be their mark.

There have been lots of 109 accidents early in the war - seems the accidents were frequent enough that this topic was discussed more than usual.

It's not JUST a matter of less trained pilots during the second half of the war.

 

19 minutes ago, Aurora_Stealth said:

There are (basically) two different methods of takeoff, applying immediate full power which makes for the fastest takeoff run possible but also requires quick and large rudder inputs OR you slowly and steadily raise power which gives the pilot more time to compensate with the rudder. If you are doing a scramble with other aircraft in cross winds, or have to takeoff from a short improvised airstrip you may not get a choice.

 

I don't think going full power from the standstill was ever done. The most exciting way of taking-off I can imagine would be going full right rudder and adding enough power so you'll just track straight, adding power as you're starting to yaw right. That technique allows for zero margin, so it's a dumb one.

 

Granted, margins and pilot-safety weren't always the highest priorities when chosing landing-strips.

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Agree with most of your comments there, and there's no doubting that the gear was a weakness of the design which brought a lot of conversation as well as accidents themselves.

 

2 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

The Finns are also great racing-drivers. Understatement seems to be their mark.

There have been lots of 109 accidents early in the war - seems the accidents were frequent enough that this topic was discussed more than usual.

It's not JUST a matter of less trained pilots during the second half of the war.

 

Yes they are, I agree. Oh definitely, early in the war they still suffered many accidents and the 109 did have a reputation... but as an overall percentage and considering the operational tempo they were maintaining (invasion of Low Countries, then Soviet Union plus all the associated environments) its not all that surprising. There would often be spikes in accident rates during the most intense operations. But yes it was certainly not a forgiving aircraft to takeoff and land, and statistically this might have been compensated early in the war by the fact that pilots themselves were fairly well experienced with decent hours. There's no doubt it was a handful compared to most contemporary fighters.

 

Of course, its more complex than just training (I'm generalising) but I would suggest that its one of the major sticking points that keeps coming up - sound instruction can help overcome the deficiencies in the aircraft's characteristics - yet the aircraft itself still remains unforgiving in certain ways.

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