The preparation of the new update continues at full throttle. The CG-4A glider is a challenge as several new features are necessary for its towing, which have never been included in the simulation. The Western Front WWI map and the last aircraft for Flying Circus Vol. III, the R.E.8 two-seater, are almost complete and receiving final touches.
A quick heads-up: please note that due to the sheer amount of changes we're making to the Flying Circus Career mode (not only is the map much more populated but new aircraft have been added and its timeframe starts earlier) it will not be compatible with the existing careers using this map. If you currently have an ongoing WWI career, we recommend finishing it before December 19th when we will release the new update. Alternatively, you can wait for the update to start a new career.
The long-awaited I.A.R. Collector Plane is also nearing completion. In this case, however, instead of one, there will be two Collector Planes in a single purchase. The long and short variants are quite different, so they are considered distinct aircraft in the game. Each plane comes with its own modifications, paint schemes, flight characteristics, and more. The short version will be available in the December 5.201 update, with the long version following soon before the end of the Winter, likely in January.
The first Romanian fighter to be produced in large numbers was made mostly of metal, except for the stabilizer and flaps which were made of a different material. The flaps and landing gear were operated by hydraulic pressure. The I.A.R.80-A fighter series 106-150 will be the base model for the short version. This fighter was equipped with six 7.92 mm FN Browning machine guns that fired German ammunition. Its flying capabilities were comparable to those of the Yak-1, but later versions of the IAR had more powerful weapons and bombs:
I.A.R.80-B series 181-200 had four 7.92 mm machine guns rather than six, as well as two 13.2mm FN Browning machine guns that fired 13.2 mm Hotchkiss rounds. The I.A.R.80-M had two 20 mm MG-151/20 cannons and two 7.92 mm FN Browning machine guns. The I.A.R.81 series 151-175 was equipped with six 7.92mm FN Browning machine guns and was designed to carry up to three bombs weighing up to 400 kg. The underbelly bomb rack had a distinctive parallelogram mechanism, similar to the Ju 87 dive-bomber, preventing bombs from hitting the propeller during dive bombing.
The aircraft was powered by a twin-row radial 14-cylinder air-cooled engine, the I.A.R.-14K; it was licensed from the French Gnome-Rhone 14K. This engine could produce up to 1000 hp in take-off mode. A less powerful version of this type of engine was also present in the Hs-129 B-2 Collector Plane, a German ground attack aircraft.
We have a question for Romanian players or anyone knowledgeable in Romanian aviation during WWII. Do you recall the photo of Squadron Commander Collins's family in the cockpit of our Typhoon? If you have thoughts on what should be the default photos in the IAR cockpit, we'd appreciate your ideas. Maybe a famous pilot's wife or girlfriend? Two photos could be taken during the war years - one for the short IAR and one for the long one.
In other news - if you're interested in Tank Crew details, Daniel 'Han' has recorded a short video describing a new feature for more precise artillery fire, bubble levels in the gunsights of the SPGs we have - SU-152, SU-122, Ferdinand and StuG III G. The video turned out to be a bit too realistic, so please make sure video subtitles are turned on since it might be hard to hear his voice over the engine noise and explosions.
The huge update 5.201 is live. It contains three major additions and a number of other fixes and improvements.
Flying Circus Vol.III is now officially released and is available on our website and on Steam.
Most of the Flying Circus Vol.III aircraft were already available via the Early Access program - the last one is the R.E.8 two-seater, a very versatile aircraft for its time (it began to reach the front in late 1916). It was designed to carry radio and photographic equipment for reconnaissance and artillery spotting, and a small bomb load on underwing racks. For more information on this airplane, please read our Dev Blog#354.
In total, Flying Circus Vol.III contains 8 early Great War aircraft: the Albatros D.II, Halberstadt D.II, Nieuport 11.C1, French Nieuport 17.C1, Nieuport 17.C1 adapted for British service, and Hanriot HD.1 fighters, and the R.E.8. and F.E.2b two-seater reconnaissance planes.
Updates to the Western Front map to include the entire frontline, many new objects and settlements, and five seasons - Summer, Autumn, late Autumn, Winter, and Spring.
The WWI Pilot's Career mode has also been updated - it now starts earlier, in 1916, includes all available WWI era aircraft including FC Vol.III and Collector, takes advantage of the updated map and uses all of its seasons.
Please note that the updated map and career mode are also available to owners of any Flying Circus volume (If you don't see the new map seasons immediately, please wait a few hours - they are being assigned to eligible accounts on the server). It is recommended that all FC players start a new WWI career, however we have been able to keep the old FC careers playable - they don't include the new additions and are unsupported, but you should be able to finish an existing WWI career if you wish.
Another fascinating addition is a new aircraft type, something we haven't had in the sim before - a player-controlled military glider.
In our simulator, the visual model of the CG-4A glider was restored with great care, and our engineers recreated in its new virtual life all the main features of its control and use. It should be noted that this is a new class of objects for our simulator and we have developed a number of technologies to make its realization possible - for example, a flexible towing cable. In addition to the Quick Mission Builder and multiplayer modes, if you have the Normandy and/or Bodenplatte modules, you can fly them in career mode on the Western Front during the major airborne operations - Overlord, Market Garden, and Varsity.
The third major addition in this update is the short version of the long-awaited IAR-80/81 Collector Plane (the long version is also included in the purchase and will be made available in early 2024 in January or February). We have covered it extensively in our Dev Blog#355.
The I.A.R.80-A fighter series 106-150 is the base model for the short version - it has six 7.92 mm FN Browning machine guns that fire German ammunition. Its flying capabilities were comparable to those of the Yak-1, but later versions of the IAR had more powerful weapons and bombs:
I.A.R.80-B series 181-200 has four 7.92 mm machine guns rather than six, as well as two 13.2mm FN Browning machine guns that fire 13.2 mm Hotchkiss rounds. The I.A.R.80-M has two 20 mm MG-151/20 cannons and two 7.92 mm FN Browning machine guns. The I.A.R.81 series 151-175 is equipped with six 7.92 mm FN Browning machine guns and can carry up to three bombs weighing up to 400 kg. The underbelly bomb rack has a distinctive parallelogram mechanism, similar to the Ju 87 dive-bomber, preventing bombs from hitting the propeller during dive bombing.
In addition, the Achtung Spitfire! campaign that previously was only available on our website is now released on Steam.
The CG-4A Collector Plane has been released; Flying Circus Vol. III has been released - R.E.8 two-seater airplane is added to the sim; Romanian I.A.R.80/81 fighter is available in Early Access (short version, long version will be added in the next update); Added Autumn, Late Autumn/Early Spring, Winter and Summer seasons for the Western Front WWI map (available to either Flying Circus module owners); All Flying Circus Vol.III airplanes have been added to the Pilot's Career mode during WWI timeframe; The accuracy of AI gunners on player-controlled aircraft matches the "Ace" level on AI-controlled aircraft; AI won't turn on the landing light during a daytime approach; A tactical number set by the player is saved; The send message button in multiplayer chat matches the team color; A 100% setting on a control axis should result in 100% value displayed in the technochat instead of 99%; T-34 mod. 1942 and PzKpfW III Ausf. L won't be erroneously listed as part of the Bodenplatte module in the equipment selection menu; Pilot's Career: new options have been added for fine tuning the difficulty level; Assault guns with indirect fire capability (SU-122, SU-152, Stug III Ausf. G, SdKfz 184 Ferdinand) have panoramic sight leveling features to ensure accurate shooting. Ballistic tables added to the Description tab for Stug III Ausf.G and SdKfz 184 Ferdinand ; New training scenarios added for SU-122 (firing at stationary targets and indirect fire); Removed extra aftersounds from the SHKAS machine guns firing sound; Airco DH.4 stabilizer fixed camera position corrected; Pilot protection from the shrapnel corrected on British planes when the canopy is closed; Albatros D.II lower wing aerodynamics data corrected; Li-2 altitude throttle lever function inverted according to its label (forward - poor mixture, reverse - rich); La-5 ser. 8 wing sturdiness corrected; Overlord campaign is updated and translated into French.