CMC 402: Transitioning to Full Realism
MiG Eater




Welcome to the Full Realism transition class. This information will help you in your efforts to fly and fight effectively in the full real arenas. To be successful in FR, you have to unlearn a lot of bad habits cultured in the relaxed realism environment. Read and reread the discussion. Put the suggestions to use by test flying aircraft by yourself and later in the full realism arenas. Find what works for you and have fun. Now, without further adieuÖ..


Flying in Full realism requires a few adjustments to your basic flying procedures. Take-offs and landings, being in the low speed environment, can be tricky.


For tail draggers, go to full power and let the aircraft fly itself off the runway raise the gear. If the airplane shudders, you are on the verge of a stall. Lower the nose slightly to gain more flying speed.

Tricycle gear aircraft require a slight back pressure with one notch of flaps for best takeoff performance. The aircraft will fly itself off the ground when it is ready. Raise gear, lower the nose, wait until 100 knots is reached, then retract the flaps.


For fighters, I like to use a 120 knot shallow approach to the numbers. When your altitude drops to 50 feet, start a gentle pull to level the aircraft. At 10 feet, chop the throttle and youíll settle smoothly onto the runway. You can use flaps if you want, but I find that this forces the nose down while adding a lot of drag. Flaps are only really necessary if you start your approach too high or you want to land on one of the small airstrips in the PAC arena.

One aircraft, the P-38, does require some special handling when landing because of the tricycle gear. If you land too fast, the plane bounces back into the air. At ten feet when you chop the throttle, hold the aircraft off of the ground until the airspeed passes through 75 knots, then let it settle in a nose high attitude. This is called a full stall landing and is the only way to consistently avoid the bounce on landing.

For Bombers, lower the gear under 120 kts to reduce nose down pitching and approach the numbers at 80-100 knots. I go a little faster with the B-25 and A-26; slower with the B-17 and C-47. One note about the B-25, lower the gear at least a minute before touchdown. The gear takes about 20 seconds to retract and extend. Also, be very careful about the use of flaps when landing bombers. The nose down movement is much more pronounced and could even force the aircraft into an uncontrollable dive. If you do need flaps, wait until you are at or under 120 knots.

Lastly, hold the space bar down to set the wheel brakes once you are on the ground.

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Read CMC105 by Paradog for an energy discussion in his situational awareness presentation. To summarize; Potential energy is a combination of your airspeed, momentum and altitude. The two ways to gain energy are to accelerate or climb. Kinetic energy is the process of spending your potential energy. Like money in the bank, its there when you need it and when its gone... well, you are in trouble. When you climb, you are gaining potential energy with every foot of altitude. While energy is an important concept in relaxed realism, its use and understanding are critical in full realism. When your energy is depleted, you canít turn and you canít run. Unless you have altitude to convert potential energy into kinetic energy, you become a really nice target. You are also very prone to spinning, which will be covered shortly. Gaining E can accomplished by accelerating through an increase in throttle setting or by diving. "But wait!", you sayÖ "In both cases I am just gaining airspeed." True; well almost. This is where momentum and drag come into the discussion and they are points overlooked in most Energy state discussions.

Within the limits of Air Warrior, the drag and momentum effects are seen by how well an aircraft maintains or bleeds its airspeed through a maneuver. The Focke Wulf 190, for instance, bleeds airspeed at an alarming rate when turning hard. At the other end of the spectrum, the Spitfire tends to hold its energy even through sustained turns. Both extremes can be benefits as well as liabilities. A well timed split S at low altitude by an FW-190 can turn a following Spit into a lawn dart if he tries to follow vertically without chopping power. An FW will also out turn a Spit at high speeds as its rapid loss of airspeed results in a tighter turning radius. But if you havenít killed the Spit after one turn, you better be ready with an extension maneuver because it will eat you alive once it slows down to your airspeed. The Spit is able to maintain its energy in a nose high turn where energy fighters are forced nose low to maintain flying speed.

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This is where most newcomers to the full realism arena have problems. All that E and turning ability you used with great success in relaxed realism becomes your biggest problem. If you pull more than 6 Gís in a sustained turn or pullout, your screen will go black until you ease the pull on the stick. You will also notice that your tactic of pushing on the stick to confuse the enemy behind you causes the screen to turn a rather shocking shade of red. Both of these mimic what happens to a real pilot experiencing those G forces. In a hard turn, the exaggerated positive G forces cause that oxygen rich blood to flow from your head and pool down to your legs. Your vision is the most oxygen sensitive part of the brain and is therefore first system to fail. In Air Warrior I, your screen goes black. In Air Warrior II and real life, all the colors disappear and you see every thing in ever darkening shades of gray until you lose all of your vision. (Real pilots experience tunnel vision just before the complete blackout and its effects are akin to looking through a soda straw). You are still conscious, you just canít see anything. Under the stress of negative Gís, the blood rushes full force upwards and expands all the capillaries in your head. Suddenly you are looking at the world through a blood red filter. We canít grunt or wear G suits to help our G tolerance, so we just have to cope with this 6 G limit.

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The next question you would ask, is "How do I keep from blacking out every time I turn?" Air Warrior adds the ability to adjust the joystickís sensitivity proportional to the amount of joystick travel. Huh? In English, lowering the sensitivity means you can yank all the way back on the stick without blacking out. To change stick scaling, follow these steps:

Here, make sure that your hardware is accurately depicted on the screens before proceeding. If not, change the hardware in each screen to match your equipment setup and re-calibrate.

Thatís it! This is the stick scaling that has worked the best for me when flying aircraft from the WW2 aircraft set. These values can certainly be changed to match your particular hardware. Take aircraft out for practice flights and perform tight turns and split Sís. If you continue to black out, lower the sensitivity. If you find you arenít pulling 5.5 to 6 Gís even with the stick all the way back, increase the sensitivity until you can reach those values.

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Spins are perhaps the most difficult thing to cope with in full realism. You have to really screw up in relaxed real to make an aircraft spin but in full realism, an aircraft will go into a spin with little or no warning. Spins result from flying too slow in a turn. The airflow over the wing on the inside of a turn has a slower velocity than the wing to the outside. Once that the air velocity over the inside wing drops past a certain point (determined by the flight modelís weight, aircraft type and other factors), the wing stops creating lift. The other wing is still flying happily along and snap-rolls the aircraft into a tumbling spiral. You are very slow and out of control. The best way to deal with spins is to avoid them. Stay fast and keep your E up in a turn.

"But that bogey is in rangeÖ" you decide and pull into a tight nose high turn. When you see the stall light come on and the aircraft starts buffeting, start easing off on the stick. If you want to ride the edge of the stall just make sure that as soon as you hear that stall horn, return the stick to a neutral position to minimize the chance of spinning. If youíve ignored the previous advice trying to bring the gunsight up to the target, the stall horn sounds and your world becomes a swirling carnival ride. What do you do?

Do these steps in quick succession and youíll minimize the altitude lost and pull out if you are not too close to the ground already.

(Don't use your ailerons to stop the roll, new users tend to just aggravate things and end up inverted. Once you get experienced with stall handling, you may be able to use a little aileron to help stabilize the rotation. Practice on test flights)

If you see the other plane spinning, youíve got an easy kill coming up. Stop maneuvering against him, check for other bogeys, and try a shallow turning climb above the spinning bogey. A spinning aircraft is almost impossible to hit. Wait until you see the plane stop twisting, then dive in for the kill.

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Assume everyone you face is better than you and will kill you as soon as you make a mistake.

Avoid mistakes. Donít stall fight your Mustang or Focke Wulf against a Spit, Yak or P-38. Donít try to run away in a straight line from a Mustang if you are in an Me-109. Use your aircraftís abilities to put the bogey at a disadvantage. Try to make that P-51, Focke Wulf, or P-38 follow you in slow speed nose high turn. Force that Spit to plow into the mountain after he forgets to cut the throttle when you break turn.

Enter a furball with caution and enough speed to bug out if things get too hairy.

Attack aircraft that are fixated on following one target.

Also, you can drag a following enemy close to a fellow team-mate. Do not fly directly toward your team-mate, but close enough for them to attack the trailer.

Work with your wingmen. If they are closer to a bandit, let them take the kill and donít compete for it. Cover them while they are busy. If you are closer to a bandit but canít make the kill, make it easy for your wingmen to bounce the bogey.

DONíT take off from an airfield capped with enemy fighters if you can avoid it.

DON'T take off from a field with bad fuel or maintenance if you can avoid it.

Don't vulch. Strafing is ok, though<g>

Be civil over the radios. Even people in separate countries have a certain comraderie in full realism. They may even help you while you are going though the initial learning curve.



For the last part, I will discuss the attitude you need to succeed. Change your thinking from a play to kill attitude to a fly and fight to live attitude. You will have to fight and fly smarter to be successful. Fly with the attitude that you are going to land all of the kills. Be the hunter and control the situation. Make the bogey fight on your terms. If you donít feel that can be done, extend and exit the threat area. Observe other more experienced players and copy/steal the moves that work for them. Talk to fellow pilots who fly Full Realism all the time! They are your best source for information. Learn what works for them and put it to use.

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Flying smart in full realism will allow you to survive and prosper. You will soon lose the reckless abandon of relaxed realism where the "Kill Ďtill you die" attitude is so common. When you get the hang of flying full real, youíll be a much better pilot when you return to relaxed realism. Fly well and you will gain the respect of the most elite cadre of pilots in Air Warrior. Be a dweeb (there! I finally said it) and you will be hunted unmercifully. Finally, you will enjoy the benefits of getting into the arena you want (ETO or PAC FR, of course) every time since so few people dare to fly with the best.


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Last updated: 3/17/97

©1997 John Clark aka "Mig Eater"