Comparisons between WWII planes

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Soundbreaker Welch?

Tech Sergeant
Feb 8, 2006
Colorado, USA
Some expert of this game called air warrior wrote some comparisions between allied fighters and Axis Fighters. Pretty interesting. In the game these tactics sound sound. But in the real world, Is this really how WWII planes flew? And does their performance to each other sound right?

Here is one about the
P-51D Mustang


Though developed in 1940, the P-51 did not come into its own until late 1942 when the British, for whom the plane was originally built, decided to replace its standard Allison engine with the more powerful Merlin engine. Still, it would take American military leaders nearly a year more before they understood the virtues and importance of the Mustang as the long range strike and escort fighter that would eventually change the course of the air war in Europe.

The Mustang in Air Warrior
Very often new players, familiar with the Mustang of legend, are dismayed when they fly the plane in Air Warrior.

Many of the Mustang's fundamental qualities, such as its splendid high altitude performance and enormous range, do not come into play in the main Air Warrior arena. Fights above 20,000 feet, where the Stang is at its best, are rare and players fly, at most, tens of miles to get to a fight, not hundreds. Further the game's lethality model favors cannon equipped planes; the P-51 has machine guns only.

Nonetheless, the Mustang's assets can be employed effectively by pilots who know how to put them to use. It's the fastest prop fighter in the game at most altitudes, one of the most durable, and while its guns are not especially lethal, the 51 carries a lot of ammunition and holds onto its maximum lethality through 70% of its ammo load. Its speed also makes the Stang an unstoppable dive bomber.

Fly the Mustang with patience and use it strictly as a boom and zoom energy fighter. It was in this sort of fighting the Mustang earned the legendary reputation it so thoroughly deserves.

The P-51D in Full Realism
Perhaps more than any aircraft modeled in Air Warrior, the Mustang represents the difference between an essential fighter in war, and a useful aircraft in a simulation. The P-51's best attributes are seldom brought into play in Air Warrior, even under full realism.

The Mustang possesses a superb combination of speed, acceleration, and smooth high speed handling, plus it holds onto energy extremely well. Unlike other fighters that suffer progressive control stiffness at high speeds, the Mustang's roll rate actually improves with speed. It is also a durable fighter with decent guns and a good ammo supply.

This is an aircraft that must stay fast to be effective. The 51 has vicious departure behavior, difficult spin recovery, and a terrible low speed turn rate. The Stang also resists half loops at speeds below 225 knots. Mustangs have a nasty tendency to enter accelerated stalls and uncontrolled spins with little warning. In addition to the standard stick forward/opposite rudder technique to recover from an uncontrolled spin, you'll also have to reduce throttle sharply.

The P-51 in Scenarios
The more a scenario serves to recreate the conditions actual Mustangs flew under, the more impressive this fighter becomes. The P-51 has long legs, handles well at high altitude, and has enough ammo to get the job done. Against Japanese fighters, the 51 can eat them alive above 30k. Against German fighters, it's vulnerable to Me109s at high altitude, but it can handle Focke Wulfs with ease at almost any height.

The 51 performs best above 155kts. When you do get slow in the 51 it is extremely important to lay off the rudder. The 51 spins fairly easily at low speeds. When you are approaching stall you must be very careful with your control movements. Dump 1/4 flaps to help you turn around 150kts then start a low nose slice. Retract your flaps as you go low to build your air speed quicker.

Generally, in the 51 hard turns are a bad idea, unless your performing them to maintain a firing solution on a bandit. Turns in the horizontal plane waste energy, and most the fighters in Air Warrior turn better at low speeds than the 51. You must constantly be thinking energy management in the Mustang.

The 51 performs atrociously at best with anything more than 1/4 flaps. It doesn't possess the ability to flip over gracefully at low speeds with full flaps as the F4U does at the top of a loop. If you ever find that you're deploying more than 1/4 flaps you may need to rethink your tactics.

Armament Ammo Load Payload
6-.50 cal Machine Guns 1880 rounds 2-550 lb. bombs

The Mustang is, as most people know, a very fast aircraft. Its climb rate is good, but not exceptional. Its high speed handling is splendid, but its sustained turning ability is mediocre.

Performance Comparison
At nearly all altitudes, the Mustang is the fastest propeller driven fighter in Air Warrior. In the Pacific, the Ki-84 is as fast or a bit faster below 5,000 feet. In both theaters, the P-47 is faster above 30,000 feet. Of the late war fighters, only the Focke Wulf and Yak9 have lower climb rates; the Stang is not an exceptional climbing aircraft. In turning, only the Focke Wulf and the P-47 have poorer sustained rates of turn. However, the P-51's high speed handling is excellent, and it is in this envelope that the Mustang was designed to be flown.

I bought Air Warrior III, and I was also impressed by their historical charts and information. I think many of the authors of that simulation are pilots themselves. But I can't specify exactly how accurate their historical/technical analysys is. I suspect, from the charts, that they used NACA reports for american planes, and British RAE reports for british planes. Don't know if they fudged the german reports. The FW-190 had a good climb rate, we now know, but I don't think that was known at the time of the game's release.

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