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About wagsled

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    Tennessee, USA
  1. @ wagsled - VTAS ?

    Hi Crusader, When I was with VMFA-312 at Beaufort MCAS in 1975 and I think later with VMFA-251 deployed to Iwakuni MCAS, Japan, we had the VTAS helmet system, but only briefly if my failing memory serves me. VTAS required a special helmet/visor combination connected electrically to the VTAS control box in the left console (I think) in the cockpit by a rather thick, braided electrical cord. The helmet had a large housing for the VTAS visor which had an electrically projected sight. It may also have provided some HUD-type info (altitude, airspeed, etc.) but I can't be sure of that. (I may be mixing the VTAS up with some later testing I did using a more advanced helmet system on the F/A-18.) VTAS did have a sight projected on the visor - that much I do remember! The VTAS cord wasn't very flexible and somewhat restricted movement in the cockpit, the helmet was bulky and heavy (when you pulled G it was really tough to keep your head up, even for Marines!), and it had a fairly low MTBF. When it worked, it allowed us to slave the seeker head on the AIM-9 toward a target that would normally be outside the caged seeker cone. I think we could go as much as 60-degrees off boresight, but don't hold me to that. That allowed us, in a dogfight, to acquire a target with the AIM-9 without having to get in the narrow rear-quarter cone (which, of course, we had to do without VTAS). You could get a good tone and perhaps a shot, while still maneuvering at higher aspect angles. I think the weight, sketchy performance, and poor reliability eventually caught up with the system and we stopped using it, although that specific event doesn't stick out in my memory. I just recall that we tried it for a while and then stopped using it. Sorry for the lack of detail, but that's all I remember about VTAS. Regards, Wagsled Crusader: Guess I should have read the articles in the links you provided before I responded. Just looked through them and there is a lot of info there - much more than my poor memory can provide! W.
  2. Sorry to hear about your dad, Toonces. I wonder if I knew him? Sadly, too many of those who flew in that era have "moved on" - hopefully to a place where there is a good bar, a clear sky, and lots of 2v2 sorties. As a RIO with Trip Trey, he was one of the best and you should be very proud of him and what he accomplished. Semper Fi! Wagsled
  3. Phantom Tactics - Some Thoughts

    Hi Storm, I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding both the tactics and the .ini modification. If you have time to post them, I would appreciate it - either here or in a new thread. Regards, Wagsled
  4. The F-16 is a 9-g bird; not sure about the F-15, but I think it was a 9-g bird as well. Hornet was 8.3-g, at least the A and B models. I think they raised it to 9-g for the C/D and/or the E/F, but I was retired by then! Wags
  5. Thank you very much for this, FastCargo. It worked like a champ and now the HUD looks pretty much as I remember it. I initially thought that whoever built the cockpit/avionics model for the F/A-18A had perhaps used an F-16A HUD as a starting point, hence the analog scales for airspeed and altitude, but then with the fuzzy graphics I wasn't sure what I had. I very much appreciate your help. In some small repayment, in the event you decide to fly the F/A-18A for a bit, I've modified the FlightControl section found in the FA-18_data.ini file so that the handling qualities are a bit more in line with reality. I really wish the pitch authority of the Hornet were as good as the original FM indicated, but it was far too responsive. I flew a lot of the FOT&E work on the F/A-18A and B models, including a lot of FQ&P so I think I'm fairly close in my estimates here. What I have below is a start on a better FM, but frankly it seems like there is more to be done. I just don't have enough knowledge of the data.ini files to know where to start. The changes I've made below reflect a more realistic response in all three axes, as well as more realistic speeds for stall, cruise, etc. The F/A-18A was limited to 8.3 g depending on GW, but we typically tried to hold it to around 8.0 as a max. Once we got the g-limiter perfected and installed the new flight control PROM (early 1985, if I recall correctly) then overstress became much less of a problem. If you give these a try, I'd love to hear your thoughts. [FlightControl] StallSpeed=55.44 CruiseSpeed=231.5 ClimbSpeed=220.2 CornerSpeed=195.5 MaxG=8.0 MaxSpeedSL=365.0 MachLimit=1.90 PitchDamper=0.90 RollDamper=0.4 YawDamper=0.2 GunBoresightAngle=1.0 RocketBoresightAngle=-3 Thank you again for your help with the HUD! Cheers, Wags
  6. I'll try, FastCargo...never even took a screenshot before...let's hope I can paste it in here... F/A-18 HUD problem Well, I've pasted something in. Hopefully, it is the HUD from the screenshot. Disregard the 20mm shooting to the right...it didn't do it today. Please let me know if I've messed this up. And thanks for your interest and help. Wagsled FA18_HUD_fuzzy_2.bmp
  7. I've managed to get the F/A-18A from MF installed and working in WOI. I have some problems with the HUD, however, as follows: 1. Pitch ladder is very soft focus - nearly unreadable 2. Flight Path Marker sits well below the horizon line when in level flight (it should be level with the line) 3. Gun shoots ~3 or 4 mils right of the pipper in both A/A and A/G modes (with zero yaw) If anyone has ideas, I will certainly welcome them. Thanks, Wagsled
  8. FastCargo is quite correct. With about 4,600 hours in a variety of US fighters, 3 years advanced jet instructor, two tours in 'Nam, and eight years as a test pilot, I can strongly attest to his advice. As much fun as the various combat flight sims are - and each has its pros and cons - there is no substitute for getting a good understanding of the basics of VFR and IFR flight - and MSFS is the best way (short of taking ground school and flight training) that I know of to get a solid start on your flying career. FastCargo has it right; listen to him. Best of luck to you! Wagsled
  9. Sorry to hear that, Typhoid. You'd think we would have learned by now... Wags
  10. Hi CoolHand29, I never heard of anyone carrying binoculars in a Phantom except perhaps the WSO or RIO on a fast FAC mission. Even then they would be very difficult to use under 1 g conditions because of helmet, visor and mask - put on another g or two during even mild maneuvering and most of us couldn't have held them up to our eyes. I know my dad used binoculars (I still have his) when flying the F-6F at Okinawa during WWII, but I think they used them mostly for spotting/identifying Japanese ships. As for breaking the ROE with a 'bag and drag", assuming the bogey followed you out of the furball I think even the most ardent supporter of the ROE would agree he was a "combatant" and you could shoot him in the face with an AIM-7. It was done with some success in 'Nam and, to my knowledge, no one ever raised an eyebrow. As for keeping sight of the bogey chasing you, man, that's what back-seater's were for! A good WSO or RIO could keep sight until you had at least 2 to 3 miles separation. Then give it another 15 or 20 seconds and pitch back toward where you last had a tally...he'll be somewhere near there and the auto acquisition on the F-4 radar was actually pretty good. If you didn't get a lock or a tally, then blow through and try it again - or better yet, bug out for home and hit the bar! Cheers for now, Wags
  11. "Drag and Bag" is indeed a proven ACM technique, CoolHand29! It works if you can get a single to follow you away from the fight, especially if you get enough distance between (5 -6 NM) to pitch back and give him an AIM-7 shot in the face. This works especially well if he gets frustrated at you bugging out at a higher speed and elects to turn away. Then, when you pitch back into him, you have a stern shot with the Sparrow or, if that fails or you are too close, an AIM-9. Lots of ways to skin the bogey... As for our equipment making air combat against the tighter turning MiGs more difficult, that was only part of the problem. Get someone to tell you about the ROE (Rules of Engagement) we operated under. There were many times when we (the aircrew) weren't sure who was making the rules - our side or theirs! Cheers for now, Wags
  12. An Interview With Wagsled

    Thanks to all of you for the very kind comments and thoughts. Like many who pushed military airplanes around the skies, I did it partly for my country (which I love deeply), partly for myself (because I loved to fly more than just about anything), and partly because of the pilots I had a chance to serve with as well as those who had served before. Many were - as are many who serve our country today - real heroes. I salute all of them, past and present, and thank them for their courage and sacrifice. Semper Fi! Wags
  13. I flew the F-4 with the USAF during 'Nam and we didn't carry them very often on the F-4C and D models. The SUU-23 was, to say the least, unreliable, and often jammed after firing only a few rounds. When I transferred to the Marine Corps after the war, we hardly ever used them in training. They were also difficult to keep maintained and, I'm told by my USMC and USN friends, didn't handle carrier landings all that well during the war. The SUU-23 was a "band-aid" for Robert McNamara's decision to take guns off US fighters. Most of the time, the SUU-23 would have made a good anchor for a large ship or a stop to keep the hanger doors open. Since the SUU-23 was so unreliable, most of us considered it to be a lot of weight to lug around and it took up a valuable hardpoint on the F-4 that could be used for more fuel or ordnance. Others may have had a better experience with the SUU-23 gun pod...if so, please say so as I don't want to be the sole source of info on this beast. Cheers, Wags
  14. Actually, Mike, I was going to add a note to the information I provided earlier regarding the normal two types of enroute descent used in the F-4; i.e. either idle or half-nozzle. I suggested using your altitude (in feet) as the number of nautical miles out to start the idle descent and two times altitude for the half-nozzle descent. When I tried both last evening (just to see how they worked out), I actually needed about 2.5 times altitude for idle and nearly 4 times altitude for the half-nozzle descent - both of which I think are too much. This leads me to believe that the drag coefficient on the model is not correct (as suggested by the Phantom driver you mentioned) and this seems further supported when you do a break turn (hard as possible at idle power) to avoid a missile. In the real F-4, you dropped speed really quickly (450 KIAS to 200 KIAS in less than 180 degrees of turn, if I recall correctly). The model in the sim just doesn't bleed energy that quickly at idle. It bleeds off a bit closer to reality at full power during a hard turn, but still not as fast as I recall. Remember, the Phantom flew on power - living proof that if you put enough power on a barn door, you could get it to fly. Without power, the Phantom had all the flying characteristics of a brick. Cheers, Wags
  15. Let me know what you think about these changes, GreyCap. You may - or may not - like them...it depends a lot on what you expect from the game. I personally look upon this as mostly just good fun, although I admit to wanting to get the FM for each model to be as close to reality as the game parameters allow. If I feel like the a/c is performing in a somewhat similar fashion to the real thing, then I'm perfectly happy. I know we aren't going to get full flight fidelity in handling qualities and performance and I can live with that in order to have flexibility for modification as the TW games have. Regarding g-force effects, I have been told they can be modified. When I have time, I'll probably mess about with those settings a bit to see if I can get what I consider close to reality. If I can do that, I'll publish what I find for those who want to try them. Regards, Wags

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