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Sopwith Camel the Widowmaker

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I have been trying to learn to fly the Sopwith Camel but this thing is a Hand full.

 

Is there anywhere I can find some training tips on how to fly this crate?

 

I know the the torque from the rotary engine causes it to rise in a left turn and dive in a right turn. It also flies tail heavy. I will add some down trim and tend to usually have some left pressure on the rudder pedals and I try to be gentle on all the control especially the throttle.

 

Just when I think I have it figured out I find I am in a unexpected spin headed to the dirt.

 

I am really suprised that they would have gone into production with a plane that was so flukey, how did they train the new pilots to learn this thing?

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They didn't. The Camel was the Great War equivalent of 2-4-D - it weeded them out. :warning2:

Cheers,

shredward

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Yes, that was a plane, they didn't give to newbies first. Try FULL rudder left in both turns.

And someone said a while ago, that one of the turns (I think it's the right one) was so bad,

that some pilots rather did a three quarter left turn to go right (?), instead of one quarter right turn.

(My aviation English is lacking - hope it's understood).

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I have been trying to learn to fly the Sopwith Camel but this thing is a Hand full.

 

Is there anywhere I can find some training tips on how to fly this crate?

 

I know the the torque from the rotary engine causes it to rise in a left turn and dive in a right turn. It also flies tail heavy. I will add some down trim and tend to usually have some left pressure on the rudder pedals and I try to be gentle on all the control especially the throttle.

 

Just when I think I have it figured out I find I am in a unexpected spin headed to the dirt.

 

I am really suprised that they would have gone into production with a plane that was so flukey, how did they train the new pilots to learn this thing?

 

The way I understand it, there were a lot of pilot deaths due to training and flying accidents. That's just the nature of the beast.

 

I think the only thing one can do is understand and get a feel for what the airplane wants to do. Some say those who mastered the Camel found its instability a plus factor: if used properly, instability can enable a fighter pilot to maneuver more quickly.

 

The gyroscopic precession effect increases with the severity of the turn: it's milder in a shallow turn, than it is in a steep turn. One tries to use that to his advantage.

 

Problem for me is: in a dogfight, I'm often flying near 80 degrees of bank, using the interchange between rudder and elevator to keep the nose up and the turn tight. I'm maneuvering aggressively. When I tried that in a Camel, I usually had the same result as you: lose control and auger in. :blink:

 

Funny thing is: I don't experience that problem with the DR1, which is also a radial. Wonder why...?

 

So that's part of the reason why I prefer the German planes. The early Albatros didn't seem (to me) to break a wing as quickly as a Nieuport would; and late in the war, I'm in a D-VII, and it flies like a dream. (Or a nightmare, depending on which side of the guns you are.) :biggrin:

 

Prost!

 

TvO

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Funny thing is: I don't experience that problem with the DR1, which is also a radial. Wonder why...?

 

 

Prost!

 

TvO

 

 

My guess is its due to the Camel having the Radial engine very close to the center of gravity

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Yes, that was a plane, they didn't give to newbies first. Try FULL rudder left in both turns.

And someone said a while ago, that one of the turns (I think it's the right one) was so bad,

that some pilots rather did a three quarter left turn to go right (?), instead of one quarter right turn.

(My aviation English is lacking - hope it's understood).

 

 

I think it was the other way around: It turned so fast to the right that pilots would make a right turn to go left because it turned so ,uch faster to the right.

 

I think the OFF Camel is very tame compared to what I've read about it. Apparently CFS3 can't model that much torque.

 

The only problem I have with it is that the visibility is so limited. Otherwise, I think it's a hoot to fly.

 

ttt

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Same here Ttiger, Camel is my favorite. I agree the OFF version of "Camel quirky" is probably tame to what I have read. I think once a pilot had lived through the training and became somewhat profficient with the Camel, the ultra quick, diving right turn became an invaluable combat maneuver. I think Winder and Co. came closer to the quirkiness with the DR1 which I also love to fly in combat. Ain't we lucky to have this baby of a WWI flight sim jewel.

Edited by aust3298

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After spending the afternoon in Quick Combat trying to learn how to fly the Camel here is what I have found works for me.

 

Lots of Left rudder especially if you are adding full throttle.

 

If you need to climb in a dogfight turn left

 

If you need to decend turn right

 

Turning right may be the quickest way to get left especially if you dont need to climb.

 

If you need to do the opposite of the above throttle back to reduce the torque.

 

Dont do anything sudden when you are close to the ground no time to recover from spins

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CFS3 sometimes auto trims but it has bucket loads of torque and gyro precession in the Camel FM if it feels tame then soemthing isnt right there.

 

It takes some mastering but do not apply FULL rudder it will vary throughout the turn, but bank hard right then pull back hardish, and with left rudder maybe 50%-75% then move it quickly to hold the turn. Works for me.

 

Do not trim or auto trim it either.

 

It will drop the nose in a RH turn and raise it in a Left hand turn. Also it's tail heavy as it should (did I mention not to trim it?).

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Uncleal you could adjust some, but the main fault or issues with the craft you could not trim or rig out on the ground.

 

BTW it's rotary engine in these WW1 types not radial guys, radial does not rotate itself.

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Since I had requested changes to the Camel FM before the 1.26 patch, I found that the new FM was much more like the Camel as has been reported in original accounts.

 

I'm quite happy with it's new characteristics...I think that flight modeling it to the nth degree of original specs might make it extremely difficult for many sim pilots. Many of the comments about flying it in the sim that have been posted in this thread are quite right according to what I've found, particularly managing rudder in turns. I think that the OFF team have done a great job in making the Camel's flight model representative of the traits that the original had, and what is more important is that it has to be in balance with the other ac in the sim so that it maintains those important "relative flight characteristics". In other words, it is neither advantaged nor disadvantaged but is flying realistically when compared to the other ac.

 

The two traits that I hoped to see incorporated into the FM were the role rate, which I thought was sluggish for the Camel and the COG changed to make it more tail heavy, and both of these were done in 1.26 to my great delight.

 

At the risk of boring everyone, I have copied the following from my original post:

 

Quoting myself:

 

Victor Yeates, the author of "Winged Victory" gave some good impressions of what flying the Camel was like. It is generally accepted that although his book is fiction, not only did he choose to write a fictionalized account of WW1 flying experience rather than a biography but he also drew heavily upon his personal experiences as a Camel pilot. So I take what he has said about flying it to be a valid, honest description.

 

Many of us have read his book, but I'll quote a few of his comments here about flying the Camel:

 

Re training:

"Camels were wonderful fliers when you had got used to them, which took about three months of hard flying. At the end of that time you were either dead, a nervous wreck, or the hell of a pilot and a terror to Huns…"

 

Re turns:

"And in the more legitimate matter of vertical turns, nothing in the skies could follow in so tight a circle..."

 

Re the half-roll (Split S):

"The same with the half-roll. Nothing would half-roll like a Camel. A twitch of the stick and flick of the rudder and you were on your back. The nose dropped at once and you pulled out having made a complete reversal of direction in the least possible time.

Thomson, the squadron stunt expert told him that it (half-roll) was just the first half of a roll followed by the second half of a loop; the only stunt useful in fighting. If you were going the wrong way, it was the quickest known method of returning in your slipstream."

 

Re the loop (he didn't like looping a Camel)

"But a Camel had to be flown carefully round with exactly the right amount of left rudder, or else it would rear and buck and hang upside down and flop and spin."

 

Re general flight:

"...a Camel had to be held in flying position all the time, and was out of it in a flash. It was nose light, having a rotary engine weighing next to nothing per horse power, and was rigged tail heavy so that you had to be holding her down all the time. Take your hand off the stick and it would rear right up with a terrific jerk and stand on its tail."

 

Re ground strafing (which he hated due to ground anti-ac machine gun fire):

"Unfortunately, they were good machines for ground-strafing. They could dive straight down on anything, and when a few feet off the ground, go straight up again."

 

Re speed:

"...a Camel was a wonderful machine in a scrap. If only it had been fifty per cent faster! There was the rub. A Camel could neither catch anything except by surprise, nor hurry away from an awkward situation, and seldom had the option of accepting or declining combat…You couldn't have everything."

Edited by Jimko

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The camel is a beast of an aeroplane. It was so in real life and, I'm glad to say, display's similar nasty traits in OFF. It is the most exciting kite (IMO) to fly in OFF. What you can do with it in dogfights is truly amazing. But it does take a lot of practice. :smile:

 

A couple of things I would suggest.

 

First off before attempting any sort of manoeuvers get lotsa height. I mean lots, a minimum of 10,000ft is good. Try any manoeuvers and spin and height just disappears. So the more the better. If you have lost height regain it before trying another manoeuvre.

 

It is a tiring aeroplane to fly, due to it's tail heaviness which requires you to maintain forward pressure on the stick at all times. But that lets you loop in an instant, faster than anything else, including the Tripe. So if you get surprised just whack back the stick and you'll loop over onto your opponets tail. But be warned. As the Camel loops its twists to the right (that torque again), so apply some LEFT rudder as you go over. A good way to practice is when looping look out to your right (or left) at 90 degrees and watch your wingtips. It should perform a neat circle. If it does you have applied just the right amount of rudder. If not, then you need to experiment with rudder.

 

Personally I don't think it's a good idea to use trim to level out flight. If you forget to negate it you'll find the Camel doesn't peform so well in combat.

 

You can turn faster to the right than any other aeroplane in the game. So that should be your standard avoidance manoeuvre (that and the loop). You can actually - when your skilled enough - turn 270 degrees to the right faster than you can turn 100 degrees to the left. Time it you'll see. :smile: But beware, right turns are very tricky as the nose drops badly and you can enter a spin in the blink of an eye. The trick to maintaining control is to watch how you apply rudder. The normal process in any co-ordinated turn is to apply rudder in the direction of the bank. So right turn right rudder, and once you have banked to around 80 degrees (depending on the aeroplane) the rudder then functions as the elevator - twisting right or left rudder lets you raise to lower the nose during the turn. However because the torque pull to the right is so pronounced in the Camel if you keep right rudder on for too long you corkscrew down into a spin. So you have to reverse rudder ie if turning right switch rudder from right to left) earlier than normal in the bank to counteract torque. Torque and ailerons are still pulling the Camel over to the right, left rudder allows you to keep the nose up to maintain a reasonably level turn, and the elevators let you tighten the turn.

 

It's a different technique for turning left. Because that marvellous torque is ALWAYS pulling right, as you bank left the aeroplane wants to climbs. So bank left and apply at least 3/4 left rudder and keep applying left rudder all through the turn. Depending on how good a joystick you have you may even have to apply full left rudder. Make sure your rudder is calibrated. You know you've mastered turns when you can perform level turns in both directions in the Camel.

 

The Camel is slow, so you won't catch much unless you have height. Same as the Dr.1.

 

It doesn't have a particulary stirling climb rate so don't try to climb with either the Dr.1 or the D.VII. Or even the late model D.V's for that matter. If they go up you should extend outwards to give yourself room to manoeuvre. If they stay close in the climb you may be able to peform a modern day Immelmann, but if you miss your slow with no energy so beware. and if you do want to do a climbing turn make ue you perform it to the left, the natural way to climb the Camel. Go right and you'll either spinout or climb so slowly your opponet will be perched on top of you.

 

Hope some of that is useful. It works ok for me. :smile:

Edited by Pips

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The camel is a beast of an aeroplane. It was so in real life and, I'm glad to say, display's similar nasty traits in OFF. It is the most exciting kite (IMO) to fly in OFF. What you can do with it in dogfights is truly amazing. But it does take a lot of practice. :smile:

 

A couple of things I would suggest.

 

First off before attempting any sort of manoeuvers get lotsa height. I mean lots, a minimum of 10,000ft is good. Try any manoeuvers and spin and height just disappears. So the more the better. If you have lost height regain it before trying another manoeuvre.

 

It is a tiring aeroplane to fly, due to it's tail heaviness which requires you to maintain forward pressure on the stick at all times. But that lets you loop in an instant, faster than anything else, including the Tripe. So if you get surprised just whack back the stick and you'll loop over onto your opponets tail. But be warned. As the Camel loops its twists to the right (that torque again), so apply some LEFT rudder as you go over. A good way to practice is when looping look out to your right (or left) at 90 degrees and watch your wingtips. It should perform a neat circle. If it does you have applied just the right amount of rudder. If not, then you need to experiment with rudder.

 

Personally I don't think it's a good idea to use trim to level out flight. If you forget to negate it you'll find the Camel doesn't peform so well in combat.

 

You can turn faster to the right than any other aeroplane in the game. So that should be your standard avoidance manoeuvre (that and the loop). You can actually - when your skilled enough - turn 270 degrees to the right faster than you can turn 100 degrees to the left. Time it you'll see. :smile: But beware, right turns are very tricky as the nose drops badly and you can enter a spin in the blink of an eye. The trick to maintaining control is to watch how you apply rudder. The normal process in any co-ordinated turn is to apply rudder in the direction of the bank. So right turn right rudder, and once you have banked to around 80 degrees (depending on the aeroplane) the rudder then functions as the elevator - twisting right or left rudder lets you raise to lower the nose during the turn. However because the torque pull to the right is so pronounced in the Camel if you keep right rudder on for too long you corkscrew down into a spin. So you have to reverse rudder ie if turning right switch rudder from right to left) earlier than normal in the bank to counteract torque. Torque and ailerons are still pulling the Camel over to the right, left rudder allows you to keep the nose up to maintain a reasonably level turn, and the elevators let you tighten the turn.

 

It's a different technique for turning left. Because that marvellous torque is ALWAYS pulling right, as you bank left the aeroplane wants to climbs. So bank left and apply at least 3/4 left rudder and keep applying left rudder all through the turn. Depending on how good a joystick you have you may even have to apply full left rudder. Make sure your rudder is calibrated. You know you've mastered turns when you can perform level turns in both directions in the Camel.

 

The Camel is slow, so you won't catch much unless you have height. Same as the Dr.1.

 

It doesn't have a particulary stirling climb rate so don't try to climb with either the Dr.1 or the D.VII. Or even the late model D.V's for that matter. If they go up you should extend outwards to give yourself room to manoeuvre. If they stay close in the climb you may be able to peform a modern day Immelmann, but if you miss your slow with no energy so beware. and if you do want to do a climbing turn make ue you perform it to the left, the natural way to climb the Camel. Go right and you'll either spinout or climb so slowly your opponet will be perched on top of you.

 

Hope some of that is useful. It works ok for me. :smile:

 

Hear hear, Pips! That's a very good synopsis of flying the Camel. I use rudder pedals and it takes some time to get the hang of it, but I'm starting to make the kind of turn adjustments you described without having to think about them too much. The Camel definitely takes some practice to fly with authority, but being my favourite kite I devote all my time to flying her, and as Victor Yeates stated, if you master her, you can pull turns that are hard to follow. And yes, you aren't going to outrun or catch many other ac if they're fast!

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Pips and Jimko thanks some great infor there. I will try that and see If I can tame this Beast.

 

My Next Question is if you are the the Sopwith Co. how do you convince the RAF to sign a contract to produce these planes? You highlight its great turn and roll rate but downplay its inclination to kill it's inexperienced Pilot.

 

I am really interested in how they trained the pilots to fly these planes, they must have started them out in something that was a little more forgiving before sticking them in the cockpit of a Camel.

 

Is there any books that detail how they trained wwI pilots to Fly?

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Offwatch, perhaps the best books on the subject are:

"Pioneer Pilot - The Great Smith-Barry", by Frank Tredrey. Smith-Barry learnt to fly in 1911, flew out to France with the fledging RFC in 1914 and was the driving force that created a systematised and sophisticated form of flying training – the Gosport School – which revolutionised the instruction of RFC pilots, and led to the adoption of new standards in all of the world’s Air Forces.

 

"CFS - Birthplace Of Air Power", by John Taylor. This is the complete story of the Central Flying School from its formation at Upavon in 1912.

 

Of those two Pioneer Pilot is far and away the best IMO. It addresses the whole issue of training of both the RFC and the RNAS (both of which had completely different ways of training pilots) in the early days through to Smith-Barry's almost scientific way of teaching both novice pilots and the instructors responsible for teaching them.

 

Until you get your hands on those here are several links that address the subject:

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...t-training.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...ove-battle.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aircraft...ced-flying.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...ir-service.html

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Yeah, it should give you an advantage to fly it, too bad it's hard to fly. Double too bad that the AI can fly it so well. Why can't there be some added programming to make the AI screw up once in a while? They're just too damn good in it!

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Offwatch, perhaps the best books on the subject are:

"Pioneer Pilot - The Great Smith-Barry", by Frank Tredrey. Smith-Barry learnt to fly in 1911, flew out to France with the fledging RFC in 1914 and was the driving force that created a systematised and sophisticated form of flying training – the Gosport School – which revolutionised the instruction of RFC pilots, and led to the adoption of new standards in all of the world's Air Forces.

 

"CFS - Birthplace Of Air Power", by John Taylor. This is the complete story of the Central Flying School from its formation at Upavon in 1912.

 

Of those two Pioneer Pilot is far and away the best IMO. It addresses the whole issue of training of both the RFC and the RNAS (both of which had completely different ways of training pilots) in the early days through to Smith-Barry's almost scientific way of teaching both novice pilots and the instructors responsible for teaching them.

 

Until you get your hands on those here are several links that address the subject:

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...t-training.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...ove-battle.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aircraft...ced-flying.html

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/aviation...ir-service.html

 

Pips Thanks for the links, I will difinitely search out the two books

 

OW

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BTW it's rotary engine in these WW1 types not radial guys, radial does not rotate itself.

 

Quite right. Good catch. The Gnome or Obereusel would be rotary engines. Something like the Pratt and Whitney R-985 (common on D-18 Beechcraft and many crop dusters) would be a radial. :yes:

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