Summer is drawing to a close once again and our offices in Moscow and Las Vegas are finally transitioning to cooler weather. The Fall season brings warm sweaters and more indoor time with the family and more time playing your favorite combat flight-simulation – IL-2 Sturmovik!! The team is very busy preparing the next update due later this month which will be a big one, but not quite the final one before Battle of Bodenplatte and Flying Circus are considered ready for release. We also continue our work on Tank Crew which has some new features and improvements coming as well.
In light of our crammed schedule we simply leave you with some new images of our P-38J-25 and P-51D-15 and a shot of our A.I. B-25 from Battle of Bodenplatte!
Today I’d like to tell you a story about how our Tempest Mk.V came to be. Every once in a while, I get to stop being a producer and just be a fanboy and add something to the simulation to fulfill a dream. When I saw how well our Spitfire Mk.Vb turned out, I knew I wanted a Tempest added whenever possible. There is something very cool about these British birds. I knew a Tempest built by our team would be awesome.
I’ve always thought the Tempest was really an awesome warplane. It just looked tough and mean with that huge air scoop under the nose of that powerful Sabre engine. It appealed to me as the perfected sibling of the legendary, but initially troubled Typhoon. The Tempest represented the pinnacle of piston powered late-war aircraft. The type of Allied fighter that could beat the best the Luftwaffe had and put the final nail in the coffin. As an American kid, the British Tempest looked uniquely cool and somehow different, but I could only see pictures in books and read about them. I never got to see an actual Tempest in the air. Unlike Spitfires and Mustangs, so few examples survived their service and performed to airshows in California where I grew up. So, when the opportunity came much, much later in life, I decided I wanted to fly one built to our specs in our engine with our team. Now it’s finally time.
From the first moment I decided we should make the Tempest, I knew building it would be a challenge. I recalled from the days of IL-2:1946 that there was a real lack of quality references to make the plane to a high degree of detail, both in its physical shape and the engine’s performance. That Tempest model is a great accomplishment as well and I remember the enthusiasm that accompanied it way back then. I knew it would be the same difficult road today for our Tempest without a real effort and help from other people. And luckily, that is exactly what happened. Thanks to total strangers and friends in the community, this mission has been a successful one. In the past, other such endeavors have failed, so I am very excited that this one did not.
1CGS Office Las Vegas, NV U.S.A
Last year I put out a call on the forum asking for help locating information and references for the Tempest. The community responded in force, and I was able to quickly get a grasp of what was out there. This got the ball rolling and I bought the team several books, drawings and sourced any operator manuals that were publicly available. I also learned what actual airframes existed and I started to try and make contact with their owners.
Fantasy of Flight in Lakeland, Florida U.S.A.
My first bit of luck was successfully making contact with Fantasy of Flight outside Orlando, FL thanks to social media. Fantasy of Flight is home to the famous Kermit Weeks, who’s videos of him flying many different aircraft on YouTube is legendary. I took a trip to Orlando and drove out to FOF to see the two Tempest airframes they have there. They have a Mk.V and a Mk.II. I was informed that the Mk.V was a front line WWII bird, but it had crash landed in the Netherlands and was recovered, but then turned into a test airframe for refurbished Sabre engines at a repair depot. I was told the Mk. II airframe was one of the prototypes. Both are in various stages of restoration, but the project manager was retiring in a matter of days and the planes were going into a crate and locked away for who knows how long. Matter of fact, a lot of the plane was already in crates! I had to act fast.
I made it to FOF just in time and met with Andy, the gentleman who was retiring the next week. I learned as much as I could from him about the Tempest airframes they had and took lots of pictures for our modelers. Here is a sampling of what I saw there, which was two airplanes in bits with the wings and an incomplete fuselage. I was stressing this would not be enough.
Fantasy of Flight has a great collection of aircraft and I highly recommend visiting it if you are ever in the Orlando area. It’s not a far drive from Disneyworld. Lots of interesting and rare aircraft in great condition. The staff there is great and really helped us out and they are willing to do so again in the future. A great outfit.
RAF Hendon, London, England, UK
My second bit of luck was successfully making contact with the RAF Museum at Hendon. This took some real doing and I must thank community member EAF19_Marsh aka Ed for helping get me in touch with the right person. It looked grim and I was extremely frustrated with Hendon at one point, because I knew they had the missing piece of the puzzle, but they just were not responding to my requests. However, in the end it all worked out and Ed’s effort helped get things moving. I hopped on a plane to London and took the London Underground for the first time to Hendon. There I saw a real complete Tempest Mk.V in the flesh. Airframe NV778 was a former target tug, but other than the unique target tug equipment it was the exact airplane we needed. Here are some pics of it at Hendon. My worry was starting to subside, it looked like we could make the Tempest after all.
I also encourage anyone who visits London to go to the RAF Hendon museum. Their collection is awesome and includes some real gems. The Lancaster bomber there is extremely impressive! Makes the B-17 and B-24 look small. The crew at Hendon did us a real solid. Please show them your support and thanks for helping us out. A special thanks to Ian Thirsk, Brendan O’Gorman and especially to Tim Bracey for his assistance in accessing the Tempest.
While I was in London I met up with a few IL-2 community members and had some beer and some chat. Thanks to Custard, Herne, Elem and Royal Flight and a few other gents which I embarrassingly can’t remember their names of so many months later. My apologies. I had a great time with everyone even though I had caught a nasty cold. I felt awful and I apologize to everyone who came for not being my usual chatty self. Why is beer so warm in England? What’s up with that?
Typhoon Legacy British Columbia, Canada
Getting pictures for the Tempest model was a huge step, but what about other things like flight data, engine data and operator manuals? Without some kind of understanding about the performance of the plane we’d just be guessing and users would not be happy. Well, shortly after my original call for help on the forum I was contacted by community member [IV./JG54]Croquemou aka Nicolas who works on the Typhoon Legacy project. They are restoring a Typhoon and they had lots of useful info and references for us about the Tempest and Napier Sabre engine. They were kind enough to share this information with me and I passed it onto the Sturmovik engineering team. We acquired official manuals, parts lists, drawings, engine test data, flight-data and other small bits of info that should help us make the Tempest fly in a realistic fashion. Special thanks to Nicolas and Ian Slater for their help in acquiring this important information.
1CGS Office Moscow, Russian Federation
Armed with all the information and pictures I could gather our modeling team went to work building the Tempest. It took quite a while, but Phil really did an excellent job capturing its shape and he somehow untangled the complicated cockpit structure to create what I consider a masterpiece.
Here is Phil’s take on building the Tempest, “Each aircraft is unique, even within the same series, there will always be small differences. Working on a visual model of Tempest was not a challenge, but unlike many others, there were features that I could not foresee. The unique designs and decisions of British engineers were of great interest to me in the process of studying this aircraft, but, in turn, covered with the lack of references that were high enough for modeling, was affected by the great stress in the process of creating this war bird. Spatial frames, many open cabin panels, non-standard solutions of simple assemblies, many details, confusion of differences in series, all this at certain times became difficult, but no less interesting.
Starting with the external model of the fuselage, you feel like a sculptor, deriving smooth contours, wide and graceful wings, a streamlined body - all this contrasts with the cabin, reminiscent of some kind of chaos of scattered parts, wires, hoses. One got the impression that this was done not at the factory, but in the field, or in the form of a prototype. But this style is observed in many British warbirds - Hurricane, Spitfire, and others.
For me, the artistic process is inextricable with the study of not only visual references, but also the design of how it works and what it was intended for. Understanding the internal processes and historical decisions gives many details that affect the final result. You can also find interesting comparisons in the future. For example, I often find similar solutions in other planes of other countries. For example, in the Yak-9 - this is unbelievable, but there are many similarities with Tempest. Or at one time I found interesting comparisons in the models of Foke-Wolf Dora and Soviet Lavochkin LA-5.
Returning to Tempest, I would also like to note that once it was one of my favorite airplanes. As a child, I often riveted such airplanes with large “beard” air intakes, but then cooled down to this design. Work on Tempest revived this love in me, and I hope you all will like it, and you will also feel the power of this bird. Feel the smell of fuel and oil. And shooting down an enemy plane you will feel like those heroes defending your country!”
Any time we create an airplane model from scratch under our tight deadlines it’s a struggle to include all the necessary details without blowing up our polygon and texture budget. Lucky for everyone, Phil somehow got it done!
Next came the flight model work and our engineer Alex dove right in. Even with all of the data I gathered, there is still some mystery surrounding the Tempest’s Sabre engine and certain engine limits and performance characteristics.
Alex says, "The Tempest is a bit of a mystery plane in history. Not a lot of books and no flying examples like you get with say the Spitfire. There are several different versions of performance numbers in the data we collected and trying to weed through all of them and find the truth was a challenge. In cases like this, our aero model and our systems start to tell the story instead of the data telling us, which happens on more well documented planes. It's a bit like a detective story. We search for the truth with our advanced aero modeling and see what starts to line up. As I measured its shape and entered more and more data points into our aerodynamic and power models, its real flight envelope began to emerge and it began to line up with one or more of the data sources. The end result is a really great war-winning airplane that Allied pilots are going to like and we think is the most accurate Tempest ever made for a PC flight-sim."
With the info we gathered, the Mk.V sub-variant we decided to build is the Series II with the Sabre IIa engine. The initial results of FM tests are very promising for fans of British airplanes and Alex has done another outstanding job. The Tempest is indeed a deadly plane and British pilots were lucky to have her.
Without further delay here is a short movie featuring our Tempest Mk.V in Beta testing. As always, all textures, markings and even its performance are still a work-in-progress. We hope you enjoy and THANKS to everyone who had a hand in our research and its development. Truly an international effort by a wonderful community.
You can discuss the news in this thread.
Hello Dear Friends!
As you know, to work well one needs to have a good rest. While the summer season continues, and our colleagues go on vacation, I will tell you how important it is for a military pilot to be able to save and properly spend his strength during combat.
Probably you have already realized that in today's diary I want to talk about our new pilot physiology modeling, which we are preparing for the release in the next update. Our Beta testers will receive this model for tests today.
About Pilot Physiology
The focus of the new physiology model is, above all, on a more realistic imitation of a person's tolerance to high G-load. Although this is not the only change in the pilot physiology, you will most likely notice it first, so let's talk about it in more detail.
As you know, we all are different, and each of us has different stamina, physical strength, and ability to resist negative environmental factors. Therefore, the ability of a particular pilot to withstand high G-load is, of course, purely individual, and depends on a good number of factors: age, state of health, fitness, whether a pilot slept well the night before, how much he ate and how long ago, and even what his emotional state is. Of course, we cannot collect all this information about you, and take all these factors into account in such detail; such a model would be excessively complex, although it would probably allow the player’s best immersion into virtual reality. Nevertheless, we found that the most reasonable approach would be to choose a certain averaged model of an average pilot physiology. By "average pilot" we mean a trained pilot in good physical condition, who often performs aerobatics. A large number of different medical studies with the collected statistics of experiments with pilots and volunteers come to our aid. Based on them it is possible to establish a “middle way” of the typical human tolerance to high G-load.
The first thing that all researchers pay attention to is the fact that the amount of G, both positive (when a pilot is “pressed” into his seat) and negative (when a pilot is “pulled away” from his seat and “hangs on the belts”) depends primarily on the duration of the G-load and on the rate the G-load was applied. For example, at a positive +6G the “average” pilot loses consciousness within the first 5-8 seconds, but the same pilot quite successfully sustains +5G for about 40 seconds, if the rate of G-load application was less than 1G/sec. However, if you create the same +5G in just 1-2 seconds, then loss of consciousness will occur in 5-7 seconds. In aviation medicine, this phenomenon is explained by the “hemodynamics” of the cardiovascular system. The body needs some time to mobilize and begin to effectively counteract overload. This is illustrated in the chart from the article written by Anne M. Stoll, “Human tolerance to positive G as determined by the physiological end points” published in The Journal of aviation medicine in 1956:
In our new model of human physiology, all these factors are now taken into account. If a high G-load is applied within 1-2 seconds, the negative consequences (visual and hearing disorders) do not appear immediately, but rather with a 2-3 seconds delay, then a quick “crisis” follows, and then, after a few seconds, the body mobilizes and its ability to tolerate G-loads becomes better. This “crisis” can be avoided, or at least reduced, if you pilot more smoothly and create G-load gradually and slowly.
Here is another graph that shows how long an average pilot is able to withstand positive and negative G until he loses his consciousness. The blue line is a summary of data we collected as a result of our various medical studies analysis. Red dots are the results our new model shows:
As you can see, pilots tolerate the positive g-loads much better than the negative ones.
In addition, now we also take the pilot’s fatigue factor into account, based on the data mentioned above. This means that every pilot’s maneuver performed with a large g-load is no longer in vain, and the more actively a pilot maneuvers, the worse he and his crew will suffer further g-loads. If the pilot is already pretty worn out by maneuvering combat, be aware that a new opponent who entered the battle will have a significant advantage, and maybe you should get out of the dogfight and catch your breath. This may take you a few minutes.
Another important part of this work is the reconfiguration of the visual effects of visual impairment. We brought it into a full compliance with the sequence described in the scientific literature. First, under the influence of positive g-load, a pilot begins to lose color perception (a so-called “grayout”). Then his peripheral vision field (or a “tunnel vision”) narrows, until it becomes completely dark in the eyes (a so-called “blackout”). The visual impairment is also accompanied by hearing loss. On a negative g-load, the effect of “tunnel vision” and loss of color perception do not happen, because, unlike a positive overload, there is no oxygen starvation of the optic nerve. But on the other hand, the pilot feels a rush of blood to his head, which is expressed in the appearance of a noticeable red tint of vision (a so-called “redout”), and the sharpness of vision also deteriorates.
I have mentioned a “loss of consciousness” several times already. Yes, now we are simulating this state, too. A pilot can lose consciousness at large positive or negative g-loads if the threshold of their physiological tolerance is exceeded (taking into account the duration of g-loads, the pace of their creation and accumulated fatigue). A harbinger of the loss of consciousness at the positive g-load is a blackout, although even having completely lost his eyesight, the pilot is still able to control his aircraft for some time. At the negative g-load loss of consciousness occurs more unexpectedly, and the only way to determine it in time is by a sharp deterioration in visual acuity. Studies have established that, depending on a number of factors, a usual period of a G-lock can be as long as 10 to 15 seconds, and during this time the aircraft will remain uncontrollable. Keep in mind that each subsequent loss of consciousness will cost you even greater loss of time and energy. WWII fighter pilots were very human, not Superman and they did experience pretty high G-loads even in piston planes.
Another feature of this model is an anti-g suit a pilot has. On average, according to various studies, the anti-g suit increases the physiological tolerance threshold to positive g-load by 1.5 - 2G, so pilots with the anti-g suits will certainly get a significant advantage in dogfight. The anti-g suit does not affect tolerance to a negative g-load.
In conclusion, I would like to mention that we also limited the pilot’s ability to bail out at the airspeed of more than 400 km/h, or under the influence of positive g-load of more than +3G (which is the physiological limit in terms of the ability of a person to get out of the seat). These numbers refer to a healthy pilot; in case of injury getting out of the cockpit will be even more difficult for a crew.
The effect of hypoxia model on g-load tolerance model has also been refined and will take air pressure into account more correctly.
Preparing for the release of a new physiology model, we understand that for some players it incomprehensible and not obvious at first. Therefore, we left you the opportunity to choose a simplified physiology model in the realism settings, which will work quite similar to the current model, and will not take into account the pilot’s fatigue, the hemodynamics of his cardiovascular system, or limit the pilot’s endurance according to the duration of g-loads or the pace of their creation. Also, in a simplified model your crew will not be able to lose consciousness. At the same time, this simple model will use the new reconfigured effects of visual and hearing disorders, and the magnitude of the g-load at which these disorders occur will be brought into line with the updated data from the new model.
We really hope that the new model of the pilot’s physiology will make the gameplay more interesting, and significantly change the tactics of dogfight. So, the players will now have to take care of the physical condition of the pilot and be more careful about active maneuvering, and this will take us one step closer to the reality of air combat.
Andrey “Petrovich” Solomykin – Lead Engineer
News from Jason
Bodenplatte Coming Along Nicely!
We continue to work on the BOBP map and its large list of airfields and urban areas which is something rather new for us. This map has been a challenge like never before and we have it functioning in Beta, but it has a little way to go still. However, our last three Allied planes are coming along nicely. Check out this beautiful formation of vintage American air power and a bonus shot of the Tempest in flight. The Tempest continues to be tweaked and improved after the first round of Beta testing and the P-38 is also in Beta with small tweaking necessary. The P-51D will also be coming to Beta soon. All three aircraft are quite complex. The different design philosophies of each nation have really become evident as we make more and more planes.
We must remind everyone that these planes are still a Work-In-Progress so some of these details in these images may change.
Saddle Up Cowboy!
Our P-51D-15 “Pony” is nearing the Beta stage as we finish the cockpit and external model. Here are the first pics of the P-51D cockpit. Our model team has done another awesome job!
Personal Images in Cockpits
Another popular request has been the ability to place a personal picture in the cockpit of your plane. We have now added this capability.
New View Distance for Airplanes
Yes, by popular request, we have increased the visibility of distant airplanes. This has been a difficult technical challenge, but we think Sturmovik pilots will appreciate this new reality. Can you spot the far-off planes? We’re still tweaking the feature, but it’s in testing.
Next Collector Planes in Pre-Production
And last but not least, we have begun preliminary work on a couple cool Collector Planes. We aren’t announcing them quite yet, but they will available for pre-order later this year and then in your hangar next year. Sorry, no hints quite yet!
You can discuss the news in this thread