16 September 2013

Maneuver Monday

"Use The Vertical"

What the hell does that mean?

It's simple and complicated.

Fighters are talked about in terms of how many g they can pull.

At a given speed, a given g load will make a given circle.  The math is out there should you wish to hurt your brain.

So if I rolled 90˚ and pulled on the stick I would make an arc defined by my speed and g-load.

The vertical is adding the earth's 1g to your maneuver (again calculus to explain).

What the stupid books on the topic don't tell you is how much.

What I had been doing is trying to loop, that's a way to kill off a lot of precious airspeed going up and can be deadly going down if you're too low.

You actually get a lot of benefit from rolling the wings to about 75˚.

If you were looking down on the maneuver, it would look more like an ellipse and the plane doing the maneuver has changed heading faster than if it had performed a purely horizontal turn.  It also tends to complete the turn with more airspeed remaining.

All of this is so very important with the Strike Fighters era jets.  The most maneuverable planes have the worst thrust to weight ratios.  The powerful later jets have angle of attack issues that keep them from pulling enough g to keep on the tail of the smaller, lighter MiGs.

Of course in an F-4C being right on the tail of a MiG-17F does you not one bit of good in 1965.  You don't have a gun and your AIM-9B sidewinders are simply an expensive device for making an irritating noise in your headset or pretty smoke trails in the sky.  They are nearly useless as weapons against a fighter.

Since the game makes the AIM-7E sparrow better than in real life because it omits it's alarming tendency to just not work when launched (did you know that tube electronics don't LIKE to be treated like a missile is by the ground crew?).  So what the Phantom does is to use the vertical to get a good escape angle on the Fresco, firewall the burners, put some distance on then come back for a radar lock and sparrow kill.

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