Martin the unlikely pilot (RoF Campaign AAR)

Discussion in 'Other aviation games/sims' started by wheelsup_cavu, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2009
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    CNC Machinist/Programmer
    Corona, California
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    Dart @ SimHQ is writing a very entertaining story regarding one of his virtual pilots in Rise of Flight.
    The following is the first episode in his continuing series of "Martin the Unlikely Pilot."
    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Beginning notes:

    As most folks who frequent the IL-2 and RoF forums know, I'm not much on squadron management in campaigns. I usually skip over debriefs that don't have me doing much and usually don't even look at what my bot squaddies have done in sims that track such things.

    The reason is that I tend to just make up my own story as it goes along out of my head, and the simulation's tracking of stuff often tries to contradict the narrative I've decided on.

    Rise of Flight probably has one of the weakest squadron management and in-game AAR's of any flight sim. Similarly, there's no playback feature to find out exactly what happened outside of one's recollection - and as my Afrika '41 campaign in IL-2 showed, what I often thought happened was entirely incorrect (from number of enemies to which wingmate or even flight I was fighting with!) However, it's never stopped me from filling in those huge gaps with the ether of my imagination.

    The narrative that follows isn't representative of RoF's campaign system.

    It is representative of the missions and the flying done, though, at least my own poor flying. The screenshots aren't the best in the world, as they're done in real time using a key bound to my X52Pro to trigger FRAPS, and often in a dogfight I'm too busy pressing other keys to worry about taking pictures!

    Anyhow, here's my little story. I'll ask for your forgiveness in spelling and grammatical errors, as it's all a rough draft.


    April 1, 1917 and here I am in France. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was hiding out on a ship - the first ship I could - in order to get away from the Mobile cops. Turns out it had a bunch of guys shipping off to fight in the war, and I managed to come up with a story that I was a news reporter and bluffed my way into three squares a day on the voyage over.

    The problem was when we hit France. I ditched the Army and was stealing a car near the harbor when the French police nabbed me. The glove box had some papers in it and I pawned them off as my own, hoping to get out of the scrape. Just my luck they belonged to some French mechanic that had taken a lark, leaving his uniform and his car for me to try and scoop up. He was probably stowed away on the same ship I recently was, hoping for a trip in the other direction.

    I was delivered to this aerodrome where everyone was talking French and very perplexed at my paperwork versus my own self. In the end this officer came in who could speak English and told me that if I couldn't fix engines I'd be shot as a spy! I think I've spent most of my life either stealing things with engines in them or fixing them, so it wasn't too tough to show them I knew which end of the wrench to hold.

    The Escadrille was flying the Nieport 17, which I thought was a scary monster of power with its huge radial engine, and I was assigned to number 17, piloted by Julien Torma. He was a very odd fellow who took to drinking by himself and talking nonsense about "what reality is and isn't," but he spoke English and was a decent enough of a guy. His penchant for insisting that those who worked on his aeroplane speak to him using his first name and ignore his rank did little to endear him to his fellow pilots, that's for sure!

    He also insisted that all the mechanics be taught the basics of how to operate the aircraft in flight, holding classes himself, in order to "better understand what to fix the best for flying." He was also something of a prankster, which I would soon learn.

    One of the many things a mechanic does is run up engines after a repair and warm them before missions when there is time. It was a terrible, rainy day when Julien told me to check the magnetos on his aircraft:


    If I had an ounce of sense in me, I'd of suspected something other than his goofy ways when he had me put on pilot's gear in order to perform routine checks, or in his insistance to be my second in starting the plane.


    The rain was spotting my goggles as I settled in to prime and set the controls for an engine start:


    "Primed!" I yelled.
    "Check!" he shouted over the rain and wind, completing the counter-rotation.
    "Chocks in?"
    "Chocks in!" he yelled back.
    "Switch on!"
    "Switch on!" he screamed maniacally, swinging the propellor around.

    The engine coughed and sprang to life, but instead of simply rocking to the left against the chocks, it lept forward!


    The tail rose on its own, and I grabbed madly at the control stick, working the pedals on the floor until it stopped sliding along the grass. I was simply too terrified and out of my wits to slap at the magneto switches or depress the blip switch. The plane rose into the air on its own volition....


    Petrified by fear, I looked back at the aerodrome falling away behind me.


    The strangest thing happened with the aircraft when I did so, as it began to turn back to the hangers!. Later Julien would tell me that I moved the stick and rudder correctly, but in truth that as I was leaning back and over, my arms were locked and I pulled the controls with my shoulders!


    I regained enough presence of mind to turn the off the magnetos, which made the plane tilt to the right in a very bad way. The propellor stopped as I pointed back to the safety of our base:


    I tried to remember the lesson he had taught me about landing, and put the plane as level to the ground as I could and still have the nose slightly upwards. I closed my eyes as the plane reached for the wet turf, rotating suddenly to the right. What if the aeroplane rolled over and crushed me?

    The lower left wing tapped and bounced the plane just as I stopped, snapping the wing strut, but otherwise staying attached with the guide wires holding firm:


    I sat shaking, unable to move, as Julien approached, laughing in his way that made one wonder about his sanity. "You're a grand pilot now, my American friend!" he shouted as he lept up on the step and kissed my rain soaked cheeks, and kept saying it as he bounded off and back towards the officer's mess.

    It would be half an hour before I could loosen my grip on the control stick and then muster the strength to climb out.


    After that day, Julien would press me into batman duties as well as my mechanical ones, and never failed to give me pointers on piloting, which usually consisted of "don't think it's so terribly hard, Martin! Don't think about what to do to make the plane maneuver for a minute - think about what you want the plane to do and let it answer your wish!"

    * This isn't a campaign mission, actually. It's the "deliver a package" scenario mission for the NP17, and the one I flew when I came up for the idea for my campaign character. "


    To continue reading about the exciting adventures of Martin go to: Martin the Unlikely Pilot

    Take Care,

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