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Bullethead

About Spads

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Sorry for getting carried away talking about Spads in other threads, so now they have one of their own....

 

Anyway, I haven't flown the VII yet; I can only give my observations of the XIII. I don't know much about how the thing was supposed to fly, so I ask somebody with more knowledge on that subject to compare my observations with reality.

 

Take-Off and Climb

Below about 80 knots (based on HUD ASI), the beast is quite contrary. She badly wants to drag the right wingtip and careen off to the left across the path of your buddies. It takes substantial use of opposite rudder and aileron to keep the thing more or less level and on course. However, once she reaches 80 knots, she settles right down, leaps off the ground, and flies quite level and stable during the climb.

 

The XIII's sustained climb speed is about 90-95 knots. She won't go any faster while pointed up for a long time, and can't get any slower without falling out of the sky. Initial climb rate is like 1500fpm but this rapidly decreases down to about 500fpm by about 4-5000'. This rate can be maintained to up to about 18000', but goes away completely by about 19500', at which altitude the XIII will motor along at 100 knots on the level.

 

Combat Maneuvering

The absolutely essential thing about the XIII in combat is never let the airspeed get below 100 knots, and only do that at the top of a vertical maneuver safely above the enemy. If you're 100 knots at the enemy's level, it's time to leave, because if you try to fight at that speed, you'll rapidly drop down to the XIII's stall speed, which is about 80 knots. When you reach that speed, 1 wing will stall and you'll go into a spin. This is probably why the beast is so crank on take-off while below this critical speed.

 

Because of this high stall speed, don't even think about turning with anybody. You have to be going very fast all the time, and make extensive (but careful) use of the vertical. If you've got a decent speed on, you can zoom up to a safe altitude between passes before you're forced to come down as your speed falls off toward 100 knots. This is the only way to make multiple passes in a fight. The other choice is just to make 1 pass and run away.

 

The Spad cruises at like 110-115 knots, which is obviously too slow to fight with. Therefore, the XIII can ONLY sucessfully engage lower enemies, when it can build up to 150-200 knots or more on the approach dive. But while you can easily reach 300 if you want to, this is so much faster than the enemy that it's next to impossible to get a shot at anything as you scream by. So I don't recommend making passes at much more than 170, and even then getting more than a snapshot is difficult except on enemies fixated on chasing somebody else.

 

To compensate for this somewhat, you can make radical use of your rudder to yaw your sights like 30^ or more off your flightpath. This slows you down somewhat, but isn't a problem if you're going fast enough to start with. This trick is the best way of keeping sights on a target during one of your passes. You're basically on a ballistic trajectory that the extreme yaw doesn't alter much.

 

Always keep an eye on your speed. If you ever find yourself getting below 150 knots when near your target at his altitude, it's time to call it quits and extend away. Just be aware that AI planes can dive after you for quite a way without apparently suffering structural problems, so it sometimes takes a while to get away. And that means you'll burn lots of altitude diving for speed. As a result, I don't recommend engaging the enemy below about 5000'. Any lower and you might not have enough altitude to escape if need be.

 

You'll almost certainly get into a spin at some point. The XIII's spin rather slow and deliberate, but strangely nose-high. It's easy to get out of, provided you can get the nose down, because otherwise you don't build up any speed. I find that leaving the power full on gets the nose down quicker. Once the nose gets a hair below the horizon, the XIII quickly builds up speed, and as soon as you're above 80 knots, the spin stops like magic and away you go like it never happened.

 

Landing

Landings are tricky because the XIII stalls and spins at about 80 knots. Unfortunately, the XIII doesn't lose altitude except below 100 knots. Thus, landing approaches have to be low, flat, and hot, carefully maintaining about 90 knots all the way in and over the threshold. You really should only land at fields that have miles of flat ground under the glide path, long runways, and few trees on the threshold (why to we have ANY trees there at any field?). If your home drome isn't like this, I recommend always landing elsewhere. I aim to come in between the threshold trees at about 1/2 their height at 90 knots. You can, at this point, slow down to about 85 if you want, but be careful doing that. Because you're going so fast when you touch down, you'll bounce if you have too high a rate of descent, and bouncing can put you up again too slow to fly. I've made a few smoking holes that way. So, I usually maintain about 90 knots all the way down, make a very gentle 2-pointer about 1/2way down the runway, then chop throttle. Be prepared for a repetition of the crankiness of take-off as you slow down.

 

Summary

The XIII is a very strange beast. Fairly stable and easy to fly, wicked fast, powerfully armed, and tough. But, it's like the lower part of her flight envelope got cut off abruptly. I find it hard to believe that any real WW1 fighter had to be landed at 90 knots, and the transition from everything being fine to spinning is sharp. There's no warning of impending stall, it just suddenly happens. And as soon as you're out of it, the plane's back to behaving itself perfectly. Seems strange to me.

 

Anybody else seeing similar things?

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Thanks for the new thread BH :yahoo:

 

I keep trying the Spad XIII (the Spad VII is harder because it lacks the power to extend -- run away -- and the firepower to inflict lots of damage). I can fly it and stay alive okay but I'm still trying to figure out how to use it as a good gun platform.

 

The idea, of course, is to hit and run, extend, climb and hit and run again. The trick is to extend far enough that the enemy can't catch you but not so far that he is able to recover from your last attack. You want to keep him at an energy disadvantage and wear him down with repeated attacks.

 

Here's how I was taught (we had on line instructors and they were very good) to fly the Spad in the old Dawn of Aces:

 

As long as you have adequate horizontal and vertical (altitude) separation, turning it is really fast and easy.

 

The trick is to use a wing over for turns. Essentially you stand it on one wing and you then use the rudder as you would the elevator.

 

You can't really fly the Spad without knowing how to do it. If you don't know, here's what it looks like:

 

http://www.furball.warbirdsiii.com/krod/ACM-wingover.html

 

Getting a good firing position is more tricky and that's what I'm working on now.

 

You can turn it...a bit...to try to get a shot.

 

I use the rule of thumb BH mentions above: DON'T DROP BELOW 100 KNOTS. EVER.

 

That's the hard part for me and I try to work on it awhile every day. When I feel myself getting too frustrated, I go find another plane to fly.

 

Good thing we have QC to try to learn in.

 

Hope that helps. It really does turn, just not in the way you may be used to turning...

 

And, yes BH, you have to land it very hot and there are no brakes and it's very hard to see the horizon from the cockpit. :wacko:

 

Tony

Edited by tttiger

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After that extensive study of the Spad XIII by Herr Doktor Bullethead not much remains to be said! :biggrin:

 

Let me just add that I agree with your observations completely. Having flown only a few hours and missions with the Spad, I'm far from being an expert on her, but I find it strange that she seems to be a much more difficult scout to fly than the Sopwith Camel, which according to all the history books and memoirs I've read wasn't an easy plane to fly and fight in. So maybe the Spad's flight characteristics are a bit too harsh when at slower speeds? Otherwise the Spad XIII in OFF feels to me pretty much like a heavy, powerful WW1 fighter should feel. If used correctly, it can be a deadly fighter, but it's definitely much more difficult to get kills in the Spad than in the Albatrosses of the same period, at least in my experience.

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Thanks Bullethead,

 

I tried the SPADXIII when I first started flying OFF. Didn’t like it. I’m not that good of a pilot so in campaign I fly the SE5 and DVII mostly. Easy to fly and very forgiving. However I do not want to limit my experience to 2 aeroplanes. Currently I’m flying the Albatros DII, or trying to at least. After reading your other posts I wanted to try the SPAD again. In the near future I will get back to it and try out your instructions. I copied and pasted your post into a word document for quick reference.

 

Thanks again,

 

Jammer

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Just flew her twice - she recovers easy from stall spins, when you pull back throttle

to one third or even less, and keep nose 45° down. Altitude required, of course.

Don't know tough, if the real pilots had a throttle on that craft.

Edited by Olham

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So maybe the Spad's flight characteristics are a bit too harsh when at slower speeds? Otherwise the Spad XIII in OFF feels to me pretty much like a heavy, powerful WW1 fighter should feel.

 

That's what I'm thinking. I think that if the XIII really had to be landed at 90 knots, it would be common knowledge to anybody familiar with WW1 airplanes as some sort of freak of nature compared to its comptemporaries.

 

I don't have force feedback so I don't know if you get stick-shaking when a plane is about to stall. However, almost all planes in OFF give clear warning of impending stall in the form of getting wobbly, the controls getting mushy, etc. Not so in the XIII. One second it's perfectly responsive and stable, the next it's in a spin at a surprisingly high speed. Get out of the spin and it's back to normal.

 

If kept above that lethal stall speed, the XIII in OFF is very easy to fly, stable, responsive, and generally well-behaved. I haven't had a need to give it any trim in flight, and feel perfectly safe in leaving it climbing hands off while I go downstairs to get another beer. But if you cross that line, it just doesn't fly. That seems rather odd to me, but I'm not a Spad expert so have no idea how the thing really flew.

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The high Spad XIII stall speed does seem strange. The .cfg file indicates that the stall speed should be 50.4 knots. I'm not sure what other values effect the actual stall speed of the Spad, but a 30 knot difference between theoretical and actual stall speed seems excessive to me, at least.

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I agree with a lot of what you said, my main question is... is that the way it is supposed to be? After a series of frustrating mid-air collisions that ended many promising careers, I foolishly attacked a flight of 6 Pfalz scouts from below them...and lived to tell, eventually shooting down 4. I was so much faster than them that I could attack and withdraw from the level without worring to much about being hit. I extended and attacked for dozens of passes, never turning more than half a circle in any attack. This allowed me to keep my speed up and I never stalled once, which is good because I was at tree top level. Even really concentrating, however, leads to a very ammo-intensive experience. I had a hit percentage of only 18%, as opposed to the mid-thirties on an N17, so you really have to change your whole mind set. In other flights, however, I have experienced the weird high speed stall and the just general loopyness of stalls in this craft. I have never heard that it behaved that way. I am re-reading "Fighting the Flying Circus to see if EVR mentions anything about the SPAD flight characteristics, but I haven't gotten there yet. I do not experience any problems with landing, cutting the throttle and gliding down much like any other plane.

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I agree with what has been said: the Spad XIII has some freaky behaviors at the lower end of its envelope. The turning stalls are pretty sharp and violent. They're unexpected as well. It seems like it has a combat speed window of only a few miles per hour between going to slow to fight and too fast to shoot.

 

As to the throttle question: yes, the spad had a throttle. However I'm skeptical as to the game's stall behavior for the XIII. Cole Palen reported it had to be "landed engine on", but did not specify anything out of the ordinary in terms of it having to be landed at a very high speed.

 

I think it needs to be stabilized in terms of its accelerated stall characteristics. The plane turned reasonably well (not great, but not bad) by many reports (especially compared to the VII, which was disliked by some pilots due to slow roll rate). I think the general proposition that this is a boom and zoom plane is right. I think the current flight model takes a step toward getting that. Though I think the lower envelope characteristics pointed out by Bullet do have some issues. It actually goes into a snap spin more easily than the Camel, which is weird.

 

Eh- my 2 cents on it. I've gotten better at it after practicing a lot, but the behavior is still strange.

 

The aircraft model and skins are gorgeous in-game though.

Edited by SirMike1983

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Some interesting comparisons and contrasts:

 

http://home.comcast.net/~clipper-108/AIAAPaper2005-119.pdf

 

Note the turn rate for the SPAD XIII and the SE5a are identical, which certainly is nowhere near the case in OFF.

 

Mentions stall speeds only in passing but concludes the DVII had an advantage in a turn fight because it had a much lower stall speed than the SE5a and a much, much lower stall speed than the SPAD (Lmax C equates to stall speed -- but the higher the number, the lower the stall speed):

 

"The D.VII had another advantage over its

counterparts. It was an easy-handling airplane. New

pilots could master the D.VII with very little training.

The thick Gőttingen airfoil helped prevent sharp,

unexpected stalls. Lmax C of the D.VII was 25%

higher than for the SPAD and 12% higher than the

SE 5a. This could be used to great advantage in close

quarters."

 

But this study does:

 

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-468/ch2-2.htm

 

Describing the SPAD: "Piloting the aircraft required care, particularly at low speeds, and the use of moderate amounts of power was recommended in landing."

 

FWIW

 

Tony

Edited by tttiger

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Some interesting comparisons and contrasts:

 

http://home.comcast.net/~clipper-108/AIAAPaper2005-119.pdf

 

Note the turn rate for the SPAD XIII and the SE5a are identical, which certainly is nowhere near the case in OFF.

 

Doesn't mention stall speeds but this study does:

 

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-468/ch2-2.htm

 

"Piloting the aircraft required care, particularly at low speeds, and the use of moderate amounts of power was recommended in landing."

 

FWIW

 

Tony

 

 

Nice data there-- I hadn't seen the quantitative NASA chart before.

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Now THAT'S what I'M talking about! Excellent thread, with great info by BH and Tony and others. Like several others here, I tried the Spads when I first got OFF and hated the way they were always stalling and spinning. I quit them. Of course, I was trying to turn fight them. This wonderful information and discussion, full of great data and links and excellent analysis, is sending me back to QC for a new look at this crate.

 

Thanks!

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Now THAT'S what I'M talking about! Excellent thread, with great info by BH and Tony and others. Like several others here, I tried the Spads when I first got OFF and hated the way they were always stalling and spinning. I quit them. Of course, I was trying to turn fight them. This wonderful information and discussion, full of great data and links and excellent analysis, is sending me back to QC for a new look at this crate.

 

Thanks!

 

Exactly-- it's one of things where you have to train yourself to hit and run rather than just turning and pulling back.

 

More video!

 

Edited by SirMike1983

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Notes on the Spad VII......

 

I haven't flown this in combat, just puttered around in Free Flight QC to see how it handled. So this isn't a full report.

 

Take-Off and Climb

Starts out straight and true, but then things get a little tricky. Acceleration is rather slow. The tail comes up at about 60 knots, at which point the beast starts bouncing and wobbling in random directions. Due to limited forward view with an angle of attack, you might think it's flown itself into the air, but it hasn't, and in fact won't fly at this speed. Wings-level stall speed is about 65-70 knots, so you have to take firm control and build up to about 80 knots before you can really get airborne safely. By this point, the tail's up enough to see that the threshold trees are fast approaching, but you should clear them with plenty to spare. However, unlike the XIII, the VII doesn't leap into the air but climbs away like most planes.

 

The VII's sustained climb speed is 80 knots. The initial ROC is about 1500fpm up to about 2000', then it's 1000' up to about 7000', 750fpm to about 8700', and then 500fpm with no sign of letting up until I got bored with it at 13000'. At this altitude, max level speed is about 100 and 85% cruise speed is 90 knots.

 

Maneuvering

In a vertical, full-power dive, the VII reaches a top speed of about 230 knots and never gets faster. As speed gets close to 200, you have to start forcing the nose down, so that at 230 you've got full down elevator and are only maintaining about an 80^ dive. Dive acceleration is very fast up to about 150 knots, which only takes about 1000', but after that the acceleration decreases, so that it takes about 8000' to reach 230 knots. There were not creaks or stress warnings at 230 knots, nor in the pull-out where I was almost entirely blacked out, just a small hole visible in the center of the screen. IOW, you're not going to break this plane.

 

Zooming and diving for vertical combat maneuvers work very well, although the vertical distances traveled and the speeds reached aren't as great as in the XIII. It would appear that about 150 knots is the best speed to make a pass at, but as I haven't actually tried this in combat I'm not sure if that will zoom you up out of reach afterwards.

 

The VII slows down RAPIDLY when turning hard, and suffers accelerated stalls in vertical banks at about 80 knots, like the XIII. There are occasional warning creaks as you approach the critical speed. The VII's overall behavior in this regard is rather more benign than the XIII's, however, and actually exploitable. Although the pig slows way down in prolonged turns, it stops doing that just above the critical speed, or at least its rate of slowing decreases substantially. Thus, you can make a couple of circles. Just use bottom rudder to keep the nose slightly below the horizon, so you stay just above the stall speed. Of course, these aren't tight circles as other scouts go, so it's probably not that useful :).

 

But note that the VII seems always to want to spin to the right. Thus, if you're in a hard left turn and go into a stall, it tends to make the nose go up and decrease your bank angle. However, the spin is so slow in starting that you can instantly recover by stomping left rudder to kick the nose back below the horizon and you're instantly back at flying speed and turning again like before. You can also use this to quickly reverse your turn's direction by stomping right rudder into the spin, letting it snaproll through level, then slamming the nose down and stomping left rudder to stop the spin. Now you're turning just as hard to the right, or flying off more or less level at a 90^ angle to your previous course, your choice. I doubt any enemy could follow you through this.

 

If you're in a hard right turn and stall, however, you go directly into a spin. It's very slow and deliberate, however, and as in the XIII you resume flying as soon as you get above about 80 knots. The VII's elevators have much better authority in a spin than the XIII's, so you can get the nose down, pick up a couple of knots of speed, and stop the spin very quickly. Usually this results in you only going around about 270^ and losing very little altitude. Thus, you can also break out of a hard right turn at a 90^ angle to your previous course.

 

However, I'm not a fan of evasive maneuvers. Having to do them means you either had an SA failure, or got too slow to begin with. So while these moves might be nice to get out of a jam, it's better not to get into a jam at all :biggrin: .

 

Landing

As mentioned above, the wings-level stall speed of the VII is about 65-70 knots. This makes landing a lot easier than in the XIII. You can land the VII more or less like any other plane, with a steep enough approach to get down on short fields with trees at the end. You should, however, keep a little power on to make sure you keep the speed high enough. I think it's best to touch down in a nose-high 2-pointer at about 75-80 knots before throttling back all the way. You really don't want to touch down just as you reach stall speed, because you'll start to spin just as you touch, which turns into a groundloop and/or cartwheel.

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I think with the great variety of data here, it might be possible to do an edited FM perhaps. Anyone here know much about building flight behavior?

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Not to let the cat out of the bag, but there are several tools for editing the flight model of the aircraft in OFF. The main FM info is contained in each aircraft's cfg file. You can change dozens of values such as torque effect, p-factor, gyro precession, rudder effectiveness, spin stability, roll rate, etc.

 

One of the tools that the devs may have used was AirWrench, which can be obtained at http://www.mudpond.org/AirWrench_main.htm AirWrench allows you to read and update both aircraft.cfg and ‘air’ files automatically, and is a great tool for making modifications to the FM. There is even a user's guide available for download from their website!

 

There are also other tools out there, but I am not familiar with them.

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Which .cfg file needs to be edited? There are several folders supposedly pertaining to the Spad 13, do I need to edit all of them, or just one? If so which?

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Which .cfg file needs to be edited? There are several folders supposedly pertaining to the Spad 13, do I need to edit all of them, or just one? If so which?

 

It's the file entitled: "I Wonder What This Does?" :crutch00:

 

It's located right next to "Hey! Watch this!" :focus:

 

Should we place bets on how soon these guys will be re-installing OFF?

 

Tony

Edited by tttiger

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It's the file entitled: "I Wonder What This Does?"

 

It's located right next to "Hey! Watch this!"

 

Should we place bets on how soon these guys will be re-installing OFF?

 

:fie:

 

Tony

 

 

I back up the files-- useful.

Edited by SirMike1983

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It's located right next to "Hey! Watch this!" :focus:

 

In the same folder as "Hold my beer a sec..." :biggrin:

 

And technically speaking as a redneck, it's "Hey y'all, watch this!" Geez, the number of people I've scraped up who had either or both of the above as their last words......

Edited by Bullethead

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In the same folder as "Hold my beer a sec..." :biggrin:

 

And technically speaking as a redneck, it's "Hey y'all, watch this!" Geez, the number of people I've scraped up who had either or both of the above as their last words......

 

LOL, forgot that one...

 

Senior moment...

 

:grandpa:

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I'm finding a full loop against a closely following D.VII is the best way to shake AI D.VII aircraft. It seems to throw them off track and disorient them enough to buy a couple moments and get a quick turning shot off.

 

I'm having luck with the following method:

 

Don't lead the flight, let a computer pilot do that. Once something white you suspect is an enemy appears on the TAC (I believe limited TAC is allowed under even the strict DiD standards), go into a climb and let your flight pull away towards the unknown entity. This way you'll be behind and high above your flight. Once the whites turn red, under realism standard you turn your TAC off. But you'll still generally know where the action will be. Stay above your flight and let them close with the enemy. Usually these D.VIIs are above you. Allow them to dive on your flight and let the battle begin. This will get the enemy AI to "lock on" to your AI flight members and begin the battle. As the battle progresses a bit, it will tend to go lower and lower. This is when you strike, if you choose to fight instead of leave-- pick out a D.VII and dive on him. Use the F6/TrackIR gunsight; you can use it to snipe off some shots. Come in hot, shoot him up a bit, and climb away. Continue to do this until you've used up your height advantage; then pull away from the group if you can. Start up some hit and run level passes on them. Use that gunsight-- it's actually pretty good.

 

If you get one behind you (and this does happen if they lock on), full throttle the engine and dive away from him. Get your speed up nice and fast (but not too fast) and pull into a loop. Assuming he's close enough to get caught in the spread of the loop, he'll try to climb with you. However he will probably stall because you gained more speed in that dive (having had the advantage of the first move). When you return from your loop, you'll both be slow, but he'll be slower and disoriented a bit (AI seems to get this way when they're locked onto you, but lost you). This is when you put the nose down just enough to get some speed for a good turn. Get a few shots on him then. This will often damage his plane and give you a strong enough advantage to win the encounter later on. Do NOT attempt the loop method if the enemy is too far away to get caught up inside your loop. If he's that far off, peg the throttle and run out on him a bit and then come back for a head-on pass (or you can just leave if you choose).

 

If you get a bunch on you and you need to run-- full throttle dive away. Get VERY low and VERY fast. The AI D.VIIs do not fly well close ot the ground and seem to float about down at very low altitudes. You want to be at treetop level and fast. Generally you can get away using this method, but do watch out for ground fire.

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Good thread to bump, IMHO. :good:

 

So, has anyone had any success tweaking the stall speed on the SPAD VII or SPAD XIII? Perhaps Polovski or Winding Man might chime in with their thoughts on the SPAD fm?

 

 

Cheers!

 

WvB

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