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  1. Dear Friends, This Dev blog is a bit unusual - I wanted to illustrate how the virtual world created by our team is not just a place to show nice-looking aircraft and vehicles, but it comes really close to real world experiences and situations (which is the ultimate goal of any sim). This past Saturday night, myself and Roman (one of our flight model and aircraft systems engineers) had time to enjoy our sim as players and our experience turned out much like the real Eastern Front air clashes - somewhat confusing, challenging and stressful. We flew a pair of Yak-9Ts to patrol a water basin area where both Soviet and German priority targets were located. I was the flight leader and... it didn't go well. Upon reaching the area, I spotted a target flying at our altitude at a 7-10 km distance and closed up to identify it. The target started to do shallow, full-speed evasive maneuvers. I identified it as Fw 190 even though I wasn't totally sure. Roman (my wingman) wasn't confident as well and we continued the approach. At a closer distance where a positive ID could be obtained the target made a sharp evasive maneuver that continued as a dive so I decided to engage. The first single 37 mm shot connected and the target exploded, the pilot was killed. Very cool to watch, but immediately we saw the report (in the chat) that a La-5 was destroyed. Oh no! Quite a negative combat situation – I was thinking about the inevitable court-martial as we continued the patrol. Then Roman spotted a target on the right - a medium-sized twin-engine aircraft not more than 2 km away. Having forgotten about the tragedy that just happened for a moment, we rushed to it. This time we closed to be absolutely sure what it is - it could be Bf 110, but also a friendly Pe-2. Climbing up from below the contact, Roman identified it to be German by yellow wingtips and he started his attack, but the German pilot wasn't sleeping and successfully evaded the attack while his rear gunner hit the Yak’s radiator. But this is why a pair is always more effective than a single fighter - having evaded Roman's attack the 110 exposed itself to me! A short 37 mm burst connected and blew off part of its wing. The pilot tried to keep his plane in the air, but couldn’t manage to do it and fell to the ground below. We didn’t see any chutes. Apparently though, the 110 wasn't alone. A fighter that must have been providing cover saw what had happened and quickly closed the distance between us. Roman managed to spot it just in time and maneuvered smartly to get onto his six o'clock, then the FW made a fatal mistake and made a sharp climb which slowed him down and made himself a fatter target with much less deflection than say a sharp diving turn would have. I always find it easier to lead a climbing target than a turning target. A few 37mm rounds connected making it a falling wreck. Since Roman's radiator was leaking and our 30 rounds ammo was nearly spent, I made a decision to return to base immediately. In spite of the damage sustained, Roman’s Yak successfully reached the airfield and landed in time. After cutting off the engine and opening the cockpit canopy, the thrill of victory quickly left and a dark feeling of the grave episode of mistaken identity set in – a Willy’s jeep containing the Commissar pulled up. P.S. An interesting thing - I wrote this immediately after the landing and before viewing the flight record. After viewing it, I believe this experience proves that what we had just done was even more lifelike and close to what you usually read in pilot memoirs than I first thought. When I saw the flight record, it turned out that when I wrote 'the first single shot' or 'a short burst' I couldn't be more wrong. I fired at least five short bursts at the first target (the friendly La-5) before I hit it. The second target was also hit only after firing for some time when it was doing scissors evasion maneuvers. This is close to historical reality as well - memories of combatants can sometimes be confused or tell a different story than reality. It’s this kind of thing that helps make our job of creating a ‘simulation’ difficult at times. Update on IAR-80/81 On the actual development front, our modeling partner Ivan is working hard on the IAR-80/81 and it’s beginning to take shape nicely. When we see the cockpit starting to take shape, we will offer it up for Pre-Order. This plane promises to be very interesting. Battle of Normandy objects development We're happy to report a good progress on the Normandy project. The most of the buldings anf ground vehicles are ready and the work on the sea objects is going at full head flank speed - today we can show you a couple of screenshots straight from 3D editor screen. This is WIP model of a Gleaves class destroyer that participated in the invasion.
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