Spitfire Dive Bombing Technique

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Spitfire Dive Bombing Technique

Post  kookaburra on Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:37 am

Hi Guys

This is probably a bit premature but perhaps a starting point for dive bombing practice before the Normandy map materializes.

I have just finished reading a book ("Flying Start") authored by Hugh "Cocky" Dundas, who flew Spitfires from 1940 to 1949, apart from a 12 month stint commanding a Typhoon squadron. A considerable portion of his WW2 experience was leading Spitfire squadrons and wings in the ground attack role in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Here is what he has to say regarding dive bombing in Spitfires.

"There were no bomb ranges available, so we practiced by dropping fluorescent markers into the sea and aiming our bombs at these. Spitfires used for bombing were fitted with no special devices. We had to use the ring-and-bead reflector sight intended for air fighting. But it was extraordinary how accurate a good pilot could become with experimentation and experience.

We each had to develop and try to perfect our own technique for achieving accuracy. In due course I found that if I flew so that the target passed under my wing just outside of the cannon mounting, then held my course until it re-appeared aft of my wing, I would be in about the right position to begin my dive. The target would thus be a little to one side and very slightly behind. It was then necessary to turn the Spitfire over on to it's back and let the nose drop through the vertical, using ailerons and elevators to position the red bead of the reflector sight on the target and hold it there.

The angle of dive would be about twenty degrees off the vertical and this would be held from the starting height of about eight thousand feet to something under two thousand feet. At this point I would decrease the angle slightly to bring the bead ahead of the target, at the same time counting "One-and-two-and-three" then press the button.

No doubt the whole procedure sounds very Heath Robinson, but it worked. In due course I reached the stage where I was most dissatisfied if by bomb burst more than fifty yards from the target."

[/i]
avatar
kookaburra

Posts : 53
Join date : 2014-04-04
Age : 76
Location : Airlie Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Spitfire in the hanger

Post  Speed on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:39 pm

Hey boys,

There's a shinny new Spitfire in the hanger with YO-R painted on it's side. So before I try Kooka's dive bombing techniques, gotta re-learn how to start this beast. First thing I noticed, is the lack of buttons and switches normal in the Mustang. That's the easy part, hard part will be in the taxi/brake controls that I set up as an axis control using my toe brakes. I set a modest dead zone, then set the curve nice and gentle initially, strengthening as you apply pressure. Seems to work on the ground, so I should know pretty soon if it works for real once I get to taxi and takeoff.

As for landing techniques. I pulled off a couple more nice landings this morning (OK I lied, on my first attempt I was fiddling with the comms interface, trying to be nice by telling ATC that I was inbound, and promptly forgot to lower the gear). But I can say the my belly landing was very nice nonetheless.

So, what changed? Well, I got into a bad habit of using the pitch control to adjust for drag during my approach and decent. Each time I added flaps, landing gear and canopy I would apply positive pitch to pull the nose up and keep it level with my intended flair point. I would be stick neutral as I descended at about 30 degrees, so when I flared, I had very light pressure on the stick. Problem was, if the speed and height above the runway wasn't absolutely perfect, I couldn't set it down without bouncing and then pitching up into a stall. Once in a while I'd pull off a nice landing, but I think this gave me false feedback that I was on the right track, but seemingly without any consistency.

So, reading Wolverine's comments got me thinking. As with takeoff, I learned the hard way that the P51D must be trimmed for a nose down attitude as the Mustang wants to pitch up into a nose high attitude immediately upon takeoff if the pitch trim is set nose high. With trim nose down, all I need to so is to push the stick forward to neutral, and the plane takes off by itself. Unlike CoD when we called out "tails up" and "rotate", I don't apply any back-pressure to the stick upon liftoff, ergo, there is no "rotate". So last night I tried that same approach for landing. Instead of trimming pitch up upon adding flaps etc, I trimming the pitch nose down first, then started my approach, and controlled my decent entirely with the stick until I flared. Once I leveled off over the runway, I concentrate on keeping the top of the engine cowling lined up with the far end of the runway and just let the plane settle down, adding a little rearward pressure on the stick to control my sink. Nice and easy. Only took six months to figure that out.

I guess that's why it's never a good idea to try to teach yourself to fly. Crashing is not a good option when trying to learn to land.

_________________
avatar
Speed
Squadron Leader

Posts : 818
Join date : 2012-03-15
Age : 62
Location : Kingston Ontario Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Spitfire Dive Bombing Technique

Post  Wolverine on Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:49 am

Glad you're getting the hang of it. I find the Spitfire so much easier to taxi than the Mustang, but perhaps I didn't spend enough time with the Mustang.

Get the brakes for the Spit on an axis (one of your rudder pedals or the throttle on your joystick) and it's pretty simple. I use the throttle paddle on the MSFFB2 stick for brakes and it's made things so much easier. Nice thing about it is you can 'set' the brakes just by not touching the lever (put brakes to 20% and then leave the paddle alone).

The Spitfire likes to swing a lot more on take-off, so be aware of that. That engine really throws a lot of torque on it, especially with the narrower width undercarriage. Only use around 8lbs of boost for take-off or you'll really struggle to control it.

Dance on the rudder pedals to keep it straight. You have to correct for any swing RIGHT AWAY or it'll get out of hand. If you start to swing one way, stomp it out and then be ready to stomp out the tendency to swing the other way. Back and forth, feet dancing.

Same thing on landing. Slow as you can flying down the runway, nose up a little bit until you're at 3-point attitude and then let it touch the runway. Kill power and dance on the pedals to keep it straight. Add brakes once you don't have enough rudder authority to make a difference, but just enough to help. Too much brake and you'll swing in a loop and dig trenches with your wings.

You're flying the aircraft from start up to shut down, so be ready with every control surface you have.

_________________
avatar
Wolverine
Squadron Leader

Posts : 1561
Join date : 2012-01-03
Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

View user profile http://401squadron.canadaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Spitfire Taxi and Takeoff

Post  Speed on Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:45 pm

Managed to pickup taxi in short order and am not experiencing any problems getting it around. The toe brake option works well. The Mustang is actually easier to taxi and with the wider wheel track it's more stable as well. Surprisingly, the adjustment from toe brakes to rudder and brakes seemed instinctive.

The real challenge is taking off. Your comments are exactly what I'm having difficulty with as it seems almost impossible to keep it from swinging left or right and dipping a wing. I've tried adding power slowly, which works well with the Mustang, but the Spitfire swings out of control quickly. I tried holding the brakes to power up before releasing the brakes but the engine over torques the air frame and throws it off center. I keep the stick back to maintain contact with the rear wheel but it acts like I have no rudder control at all. I tried small rudder inputs aka the videos I've watched, I've used aggressive inputs with no better results.

I guess I just need to keep practicing to get more in tune with the rudder control (I set the rudder the same as the Mustang (3 x dead zone, 24 x curve). The problem is that the rudder doesn't come alive until above 60mph or so, and I can't keep it straight long enough to get the air stream flowing over the elevators and rudder.

I'll keep working on it but if it takes as long to learn as the Mustang, it might be a few weeks until I fly the Spit on Saturday night.

PS it is fast as hell! No wonder I couldn't keep up. Initial impression is that the Spit is very fussy to fly needing aggressive rudder/elevator trim settings to keep it level. It's more work to fly than the Mustang, but also handles extremely well in ACM. I'll be happy when all this it programmed into muscle memory. I'll keep working on it.

_________________
avatar
Speed
Squadron Leader

Posts : 818
Join date : 2012-03-15
Age : 62
Location : Kingston Ontario Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Spitfire Dive Bombing Technique

Post  Wolverine on Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:48 pm

Trying to keep the tail on the ground is hurting you. For take-off, get the tail up as soon as you can. I use two notches nose heavy trim and I put the stick forward of center as soon as I start my take off roll. Even with the stick forward of center, as long as you keep the aircraft centered on the runway, it'll start to lift off. I find that all I need to do to get airborne is just make sure I'm aiming the nose at the horizon and up she goes.

You can put the power on pretty quickly. I usually throw it to 8lbs boost as soon as I want to roll. No delay, just push and go. If you try to do it slowly, you won't have any rudder control to fix the torque and using brakes on take-off isn't recommended. Give it 8lbs and let 'er rip.

After that, it's constant rudder adjustments. Depending on your rudder settings, you'll have to find which works. I've got mine at a 30% curve and a deadzone of about 5 I believe. When I roll out, I have to do a few stomps on the pedals either way, and usually have to lean pretty heavily on the right rudder as I get near take-off, but that's because I don't use that much right rudder trim. I've been experimenting again with right trim to try and find the best amount. I've never found that full right rudder trim works for me. Maybe with full right rudder trim, I can open up the throttle a little slower. I'll try it and find out.

_________________
avatar
Wolverine
Squadron Leader

Posts : 1561
Join date : 2012-01-03
Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

View user profile http://401squadron.canadaboard.net

Back to top Go down

Take off techniques

Post  Speed on Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:35 pm

That worked. Still need to set nose down as the Spit wants to pull up sharply on take off. I managed to get up successfully twice tonight. Very ugly, but I didn't bend anything. With additional experimentation on elevator and rudder trim settings I'm hoping to smooth out my lift off.

I'll also try your suggestion about the tail and bring the stick forward sooner. I discovered tonight that rudder controls were not so much about "responding" to the swing, because if you're reactive, you're already too late. So tonight I anticipated the swings before they happened and worked the rudder rapidly back and forth to dampen out the swings caused by engine torque.

On flying, I might still need to reset the sensitivity of my controls as the plane will not settle down in level flight. I'm constantly fighting with the elevator and rudder trim but just can not get it to fly smoothly with gentle inputs from the stick/rudder peddles. On the other hand, this thing is a beast in a dog fight. I reset my single mission against a 109 that I've used to train in the Mustang, and without exaggeration, the Spit flies rings around the P51D in a tight turning fight. I had little difficulty out manoeuvering the 109 and could climb with it all the way. Now, I did cook the engine, so running 12lbs boost for very long is not an option. But I could literally turn all day without even a hint of stalling (well past the Mustang) and the only thing that keeps me from turning tighter is black-out. Cannons make short work of the 109 as well.

One thing you guys have to try is the aileron roll with full rudder. Oh my God! This produces a violent pitch/roll action that is something to behold. I watched it on the track I recorded, and if you ever had a bandit close on your six, just yank the stick left or right, and simultaneously kick full rudder in the same direction and you will be gone in a nano-second. That same manoeuver in the Mustang produces a very rapid tight roll, but nothing like what the Spit does. You gotta try it.

I'll try your suggestions tomorrow and if I can get some consistency on my takeoffs, I'll fly the Spit this week.

_________________
avatar
Speed
Squadron Leader

Posts : 818
Join date : 2012-03-15
Age : 62
Location : Kingston Ontario Canada

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Spitfire Dive Bombing Technique

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum