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In-game aircraft performance


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Hey folks! I recently put together a quick spreadsheet of several fighters for comparison purposes, using the official game stats for the various FC planes. Here is the link to my spreadsheet. It is a work in progress, since I've only been putting in a few minutes at a time. It allows side-by-side comparison of stats like climb, speed, power, weight, and other interesting things. I was also able to calculate things like power/weight ratio and wing loading. Here is the link:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bg2DON5ef_i-QoWCHv3CKL3Q7bq0yMobNV_mbgSMBXU/edit?usp=sharing

 

I hopped in-game today to verify the data. In a quick mission at 1000m with automatic engine controls and auto-level engaged, many of the planes failed to reach their published speeds. I tested full fuel loads and 40 liter fuel loads in the SPAD, SE5a, Albatros, and DR1. Fuel load appeared to make no difference either. Is there some variable that I'm missing here? Or are the officially posted specs no longer accurate due to game updates?

Edited by kotori87
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I just finished another quick test on Kuban Autumn. All planes tested were still a hair slower than the official numbers. I spent a little more time with the SE5a, testing both manual and automatic mixture and radiator controls. Manual radiator appeared to have no effect whatsoever, with no change in speed for being undercooled, overcooled, or even fully shut radiator. Mixture did have somewhat of an effect, squeezing an extra 1km/h out of the plane. The most interesting effect was adjusting the rear stabilizer. Adjusting the stabilizer fully forward required much less forward pressure on the stick, and raised my speed by about 6km/h. Looking at other planes, it appears that the speed discrepancies I've noticed were more pronounced on planes that required more forward pressure, like the DR1. As such, I think I've identified the cause of the speed discrepancy.

 

I believe the published speeds are the theoretical limits, assuming the plane is trimmed perfectly level. In actual flight, some speed is lost due to most planes requiring at least some downward elevator. For the most part it's less than 5km/h difference, and all of the relative differences between planes have been confirmed. This, to me, validates the data they have published. This weekend I will try to expand this list with the remaining FC1 planes, and maybe try some altitude climbs next.

Edited by kotori87
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Having done a bit of this myself, I agree on the down elevator effect.  SE5a gain a truckload of speed with stab trimmed right. Have often wondered if this was why the dev's top speed from their tools,  never matched the in-game achievable. 

I do disagree, however, on the number of hairs slower certain planes are :)

 

Its a bit of a rabbit hole tbh. The FC specs themselves are often questionable before we even get to the achievable in-game discrepancy.

It leads to perplexing moments in-game for sure.  Today I was chased  by a d7f across half of France at ground level. I don't think I ever started  to draw away from him,  despite a  historical 20kph difference between the planes down there. 

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20 hours ago, kotori87 said:

 

 

I believe the published speeds are the theoretical limits, assuming the plane is trimmed perfectly level. In actual flight, some speed is lost due to most planes requiring at least some downward elevator. For the most part it's less than 5km/h difference, and all of the relative differences between planes have been confirmed. This, to me, validates the data they have published. This weekend I will try to expand this list with the remaining FC1 planes, and maybe try some altitude climbs next.

That makes sense. An aircraft is trimmed by altering the angle-of-incidence of the horizontal stabilizer and not the elevator. The elevator manually changes the in-flight angle-of-attack and adds drag to the combined stabilizer/elevator control surface. If you alter the Se5a trimwheel on the ground you can actually see the horizontal stabilizer moving independently of the elevator. This explains the variation in airspeed because aircraft are trimmed for level-flight speed via the stabilizer and not the elevator. It is important to realize that an aircraft is trimmed for cruise level-flight speed and not maximum level-flight speed. The invention of the trimwheel solved this problem of fighting the joystick at maximum airspeed.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rail
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Everything so far has been straight off the in-game stats, clearly indicated by in-game instruments, or calculated with basic math. Turn circles/times would require in-game measurements that I have no idea how to measure. I would love to add the actual numbers for turning and rolling ability, too. How can I measure these parameters?

Edited by kotori87
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On 12/23/2020 at 8:50 PM, kotori87 said:

Everything so far has been straight off the in-game stats, clearly indicated by in-game instruments, or calculated with basic math. Turn circles/times would require in-game measurements that I have no idea how to measure. I would love to add the actual numbers for turning and rolling ability, too. How can I measure these parameters?

 

I did a bit of a search and found the following info:

 

https://www.flightliteracy.com/load-factors-part-four/

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2418

 

It would seem that turning circle per se is not necessarily a useful aspect to measure, since it depends on many factors.

 

In essence though, it seems that the Entente scouts were faster, climbed better and turned tighter than the Central Powers a/c.

 

When it comes to roll rate and dive performance, which may hand the Central Power's a/c an advantage when employing BnZ tactics and defensive manoeuvring, that is another topic altogether.

 

R

 

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Roll-rate, in particular, is dependent on airspeed. That is because it is the rate of airflow (air-pressure) acting on  the control-surfaces that causes the aircraft to roll. Therefore, role rate is (mostly) relative to airspeed. It may appear that different aircraft give different roll-rates when it could simply be a difference in relative airspeed. That is why aircraft are normally labelled with a 'best maneuvering speed', which is usually somewhere between cruise-speed and maximum airspeed (not necessarily in level-flight).

 

 

Edited by Rail
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On 12/28/2020 at 8:03 PM, Rail said:

Roll-rate, in particular, is dependent on airspeed. That is because it is the rate of airflow (air-pressure) acting on  the control-surfaces that causes the aircraft to roll. Therefore, role rate is (mostly) relative to airspeed. It may appear that different aircraft give different roll-rates when it could simply be a difference in relative airspeed. That is why aircraft are normally labelled with a 'best maneuvering speed', which is usually somewhere between cruise-speed and maximum airspeed (not necessarily in level-flight).

 

 

Indeed, Rail.

 

Also aerofoil dihedral/anhedral comes into play, but in general I suppose that faster airspeed = increased roll rate, whereas slower airspeed = tighter turning circle.

 

I have seen WWII stats for turning circle at certain airspeeds and altitudes comparing Spits and Hurris with BF109Es, but I can't seem to find anything for WWI a/c.

 

I'll do some searching, because, allied to max. airpseed at given altitudes and climb rate, which kotori87 has already researched, these are the stats that would seem to determine combat effectiveness, given a similarly skilled pilot of course.

 

R

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22 minutes ago, Russkly said:

Indeed, Rail.

 

Also aerofoil dihedral/anhedral comes into play, but in general I suppose that faster airspeed = increased roll rate, whereas slower airspeed = tighter turning circle.

 

I have seen WWII stats for turning circle at certain airspeeds and altitudes comparing Spits and Hurris with BF109Es, but I can't seem to find anything for WWI a/c.

 

I'll do some searching, because, allied to max. airpseed at given altitudes and climb rate, which kotori87 has already researched, these are the stats that would seem to determine combat effectiveness, given a similarly skilled pilot of course.

 

R

Yes, you are correct. a slower airspeed does generally result in a tighter turning circle, up to a point, but it can also result in a reduction of lift (air pressure again). On the other hand, a larger turning circle (greater distance) can be nullified by a higher airspeed, resulting in a faster turn-rate.  Aerodynamics is extremely complicated because all of these aerodynamic forces are interactive. Tommy Sopwith once said that he couldn't predict aircraft performance until he got it into the sky.

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rail
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Kotori87 ?????  Where do you get your figures from ?

 

The SE5a struggles to (can’t) achieve it’s rated 2000 rpm, where an earth does 2300 come from ?  The Albatross, Pflaz and D VII  (same engine) are rated at 1400 rpm, in game they usually run at 1500, or more, but in your spreadsheet you have them rated at 1700 rpm ?  Why does the Albatross, with it’s lighter weight, and the same engine as the Pflaz and D VII, take a whole 10 minutes more to climb to 5,000 m ?  It makes absolutely no sense, and that just with a cursory glance.

Edited by HagarTheHorrible
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8 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

Kotori87 ?????  Where do you get your figures from ?

 

The SE5a struggles to (can’t) achieve it’s rated 2000 rpm, where an earth does 2300 come from ?  The Albatross, Pflaz and D VII  (same engine) are rated at 1400 rpm, in game they usually run at 1500, or more, but in your spreadsheet you have them rated at 1700 rpm ?  Why does the Albatross, with it’s lighter weight, and the same engine as the Pflaz and D VII, take a whole 10 minutes more to climb to 5,000 m ?  It makes absolutely no sense, and that just with a cursory glance.

I'm guessing here but I suspect that it is a case of 'best climb rate' v 'best climb speed'. 'Climb-rate' being the fastest possible climb in the shortest possible distance (gives steeper climb and lower RPM) v Best 'climb speed' being the fastest possible climb-rate without regard to distance (gives higher RPM, usually ~10% above 'best climb rate'). In other words, find your steepest climb rate and then lower the nose to increase RPM by ~10%, which gives you 'best climb-speed'. Energy fighters usually use 'best climb speed'.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rail
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8 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

Kotori87 ?????  Where do you get your figures from ?

 

Official game stats apparently. :)

 

On 12/17/2020 at 1:36 PM, kotori87 said:

Or are the officially posted specs no longer accurate due to game updates?

 

1550 RPM for the Camel .... :rofl:

 

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If you are interested in WW1 aircraft turn performance there is a thread with a paper comparing the Fokker Dr.1 and Sopwith Camel over at the Aerodrome forum:

 

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72806

 

In essence they are about equal at low altitude but the Camel is better at higher altitudes both when it comes to stationary and instantaneous turn rate.

Edited by Holtzauge
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5 hours ago, HagarTheHorrible said:

Ok, I think I understand the rpm figures.  They represent maximal rpm, before the engine goes ping, rather than rated or boosted rpm.

 

That's it...In the case of the Se5a it would by far outdistance an aircraft trying to achieve 'best-climb-rate at maximum possible climb angle' at little or no cost in altitude by using 'best climb speed'.

Cheers.

 

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Correct. Those RPM figures are maximum RPM before the engine dies, not actual RPM in level flight. Although maybe I should add that too? It's easy enough to measure, unlike many of the other parameters I'm missing...

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