Friday, September 14, 2018

DCS F/A-18C Air Refueling - Airspeed Changes, the Other Pilot-Induced Oscilation

This video I posted in YouTube a while back is my response to the widespread "practice, practice, practice" advice so frequent in the official forums.

It's not the widely accepted "practice, practice, practice" pseudo-aphorism what moved me to explore the topic in more depth. Truth be told, you will need to practice! It was actually the lack of pointers on what to look for while you practice.

For a maneuver that requires a steady flight path, I find it surprising that there is little to no forums discussions about what keeps the Hornet on level flight. Well, in the absence of stick input, the Hornet's flight control system keeps PITCH constant. And no, pitch is not what the flight path marker (the conspicuous aircraft-shaped marker in the center of the HUD) is indicating in the vertical ladder. Pitch is where the nose is pointing relative to horizontal plane.

So, for any pitch that you select with forward and aft stick input, after you leave the stick alone, you regulate vertical speed with your throttle. From a straight and level flight, if you increase your airspeed, you will climb. If you decrease your airspeed, you will loose altitude.

Ever wondered why all of the sudden you climb while trying to nail the refueling basket? You accelerated too much. Just a couple of knots above the airspeed at which you were level will send you up. And then you will try to use the stick to bring the aircraft down, which will accelerate your bird and bring you up to the same ugly place you were at. Oscillations, oscillations. But at least you will know what caused them.

So, keep an eye on that airspeed. It's the most subtle and poisonous way to derail you from a great hook up.


1 comment:

Paolo said...

Nicely put. :thumbsup!: