Formation Flying - creating scenerios in the flight simulator
Programs for Formation Flying:
The FSrecorder program which we have been using for years now presented a magical way to introduve flight plans that were not only custom but not point to point. The recorder program is very useful in a number of ways and moreover create fluid playback for the pilot recording every move and every function done in the cockpit. Cool right? Yes, cool indeed.
You can download FSrecorder here:
In addition, it supports:
The program or rather module (.DLL) is very easy to use with a simple interface.Just drop the .DLL into the module folder and it is ready to use from the menu of the simulator.
So, you can record in first person or record the AI traffic. You can jump to an AI view or tower view of the AI as well. This is the breakthrough that enables you to record your OWN lead aircraft, and have them do just about anything you are capable of making them do during the recording session. Do you just want to fly straight and level, the better to practice rejoins and the wingman position and station-keeping? Want to add some turns, climbs and descents to make things more challenging? Want to really up the voltage and record the lead airplane doing acrobatics? All these are possible with a little practice.
Give yourself a few moments just sitting there, to allow you some time later, as the wingman, to gather your wits about you! Then begin your takeoff roll. As a technique, add power slowly, and don't use full throttle - use around 90% of full power.
At the proper speed, rotate slowly and raise the gear when airborne. Fly with determination and with little jerkiness in the stick. As a technique, use the autopilot if it flies more smoothly than you do. For this first attempt, just continue a shallow climb at your takeoff power setting of around 90%, and fly straight out. At around 3000 feet, smoothly level off, and SLOWLY reduce power to normal cruise setting. Remember - you will soon have to fly the wing on this lead, so give yourself a break! Now, just keep flying straight and level for around 5 minutes.
End the flight you just recorded, and select the "right wing" flight. When that loads, you should be back on the right side of the runway. Double check to see that the AI traffic level is set to 100%, and then click on Recorder again. This time your selection will be "Play as Traffic". This will bring up a menu that should, hopefully, contain the lead flight you just recorded. Select that lead flight. You should be returned to your wingman cockpit, but now you have company on the runway - the lead Mooney! In a moment or so he'll start his roll, so release your brakes and get ready to rock and roll! Stay in the same relative position during the takeoff roll, and rotate when you see the lead Mooney rotate. When his gear comes up, raise yours. From here on out it's a matter of staying in the same position.
Air refueling as an example can be simulated in this fashion, although the airborne rejoin that that entails is a bit trickier to arrange. You must ensure that both aircraft are in the same airspace when the playback begins. It will be easier, of course, if you start the flight in the pre-contact position, about 1/4 mile aft in-trail and around 300 feet below the tanker. But real refueling involves a rejoin, in which the tanker heads toward the receiver on a reciprocal heading and makes a 180-degree turn to end up just ahead of the receiver around 1000 feet above. The receiver can then climb up to the pre-contact position. The timing of the 180-degree turn is the difficult part to program, but it can be done with a little experimentation.
If you wanted you could record a dogfight. You could even program the opposing solo routines with Recorder. It just takes a sense of timing and some experimentation. Of course, having done all this, you will have to learn to fly the wing or slot position well enough so that you can keep up. That, I can assure you, is more difficult than it looks.
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