Targeting: HUD Setup and using the Tactical Display and Padlock
This section gives an overview
and some tips on setting up your “office”, and using the targeting tools
available to you in order to get more bullets where they need to go!
The Heads-Up Display (HUD) setup
Here's a sample of what my cockpit HUD setup looks like...notice that I have the
tactical display overlaying the compass, this allows me to call out the bearing
of any bogeys spotted:
notice the gun sight - this is a replacement gun sight that is a LOT more
viewable than the stock black one and you can also easily pick it out when
pointed at the ground - the little black one gets lost in the ground clutter.
The picture doesn't show it well but there are also little angle marks on it to
easily set your bank angle for precision turns. This add-on gun sight is
available for download at
many of the JG300 pilots have it and can send it to you.
Tactical Display usage:
enables and disables it, you all probably already know that;
"T" key switches from
targeting "All" to "Aircraft" to "Vehicles" to "Ships" to "Buildings", you knew
changes the viewing radius....from 8 to 4 to 2 to 1 miles then back to 8. This
is an important tool when you start using the
TAB key to target other planes -
you'll need to keep aware of their exact position and there's also a very
effective head-on tactic we can discuss later that uses the 1-mile range
In a treetop-turning
dogfight the 1-mile setting is also important to see if you are gaining or
loosing ground on your opponent,
Anyway, and this is a no-brainer too... aircraft at a certain range will all
appear WHITE. This means they are unidentified. As they draw closer (and this
is a function of your specific pilot's "Vision" points when you set your pilot
up long ago).....they will turn to either RED (bad guy), BLUE (good guy) or
PURPLE (AI pilot in a mission). This may be a stupid question check to see that
you are getting all these colors…some people have a bug it seems where not all
these colors show up.
Targeting the good vs. the bad guys.
TAB key will target
ANYONE who is WHITE (unidentified bogey) OR RED. So if you target someone with
the TAB key, and they are WHITE, DON'T SHOOT until you UN-Target them (hot the
TAB key and to target someone else) and verify they are RED!
You'll also notice that when a bogey has been identified as friendly (BLUE or
PURPLE), the TAB key will NOT target them, which is another reason why you wanna
make sure you retarget folks when they are within range!
target a friendly, use CTRL-TAB...this is usually only done to aid formation
flight or to find a buddy that is calling for help.
Every time you target someone of course the message text on the screen will tell
you who you are targeting (player names if they are close enough) so use that
too, and you'll shoot lots less of your buddies!
Tie the Padlock key into all this…
once you target them you know which way to turn and all that (this is all
assuming the kiddy-cone target helper isn't available, I hate that thing)....but
you don't know if they're above or below you, So you can use the "Padlock" key
to change your view to where your eyes are looking right at them - this is the
Tilde "~" key right
above TAB. Use it SPARINGLY because you wont see what direction your plane is
going in when you use this view (unless you practice using the artificial
horizon on the HUD).
folks fly into the ground a few times before they learn to just tap it on and
off real quick, use it in conjunction with the tactical display and range
setting and you've got something just as good as the silly cone.
Landing Techniques and the Pattern
Frequently we find that new recruits have plenty of skill in the air but when it
comes to setting down on the field, things can kinda fall apart. Because they
are, for many reasons including reality, important things to master, the
following info is provided to those who would like to improve their skill at
“interfacing with Mother Earth” and with just some practice, pull off
consistently excellent landings
Rule 1: The quality of ANY landing is dictated by the quality of the
approach, or setup. Last-minute corrections contribute to last-minute panic
which contributes to last-minute crashes. Minimal changes at the final moments
means the smoothest landings.
2: Despite your instincts, think that: POWER controls ALTITUDE (it
really does - try climbing at zero throttle). By the same token, PITCH
controls SPEED. (Nose down, fast. Nose up, not fast, right?)
Next thing is: Ensure you can stabilize your aircraft at a given
altitude and speed. From 5,000 ft, imagine that an 'elevated', infinitely-long
pretend runway is at 2,000 ft below you, running due north of your position, and
that you are going to “land” on it. You therefore want to turn north, loose
altitude, descend slowly at about 500 to 1000 feet per minute, while also
loosing airspeed, and level out at 2,000 ft using THROTTLE, at a low airspeed
such as 150 kts/mph - then see if you can keep it at 2,000 ft at that airspeed
using JUST the right throttle amount and some trim adjustment.
If you are going
too fast, pull back a little power AND pull back on the stick little by little
to slow down, the airspeed WILL drop, it HAS to by nature...woops! Loosing or
gaining altitude? Adjust power SLOWLY to suit. Trim her for this different speed
if you have to, so she flies 'hands off'. Make small corrections and get her
straight and level, so the vertical speed indicator is perfectly flat and your
speed is on target.
Next, It also helps to find out at which speed your particular plane will stop
flying. Once you have stabilized, start pulling the nose up and throttle back to
stay at 2,000 ft. When you are 'mushing' along and the plane won't stay at that
altitude anymore, and is starting to stall, you've just executed a very slow
landing 'flare'. That's your lowest speed to reach, preferably right as you
cross over the runway and touch down.
If you can do this, you've just 'landed'. Next thing is, doing it on real
ground, at a real airfield, and bringing her to a stop.
Here is where quality of approach and setup pay off. The diagram below
illustrates a typical two-runway airport. We'll concentrate on the southbound
runway. Since this runway heading is 180 degrees (due south), we call it 'Runway
18' (chop of the trailing digit).
yellow path is the takeoff and landing pattern, it's a simple racetrack pattern
with right turns at each corner. Since the turns are to the right this is
called…a right-hand pattern.
Your next goal is to find the airfield and identify which runway you want to
land on. Let's say you are south of the airport in the below diagram. You fly
north to approach the airfield. You know you're landing so hopefully you've
started to slow your bird down some. You want to execute a right-hand pattern,
so you aim a little LEFT of the airport and fly parallel to the runway. Once you
enter the airspace around the airfield, you are pretty much on the DOWNWIND leg
of the pattern, point "2" in the picture (you want to land upwind naturally, in
CFS3 we don't know which way the wind is blowing but we call this the downwind
leg anyway). Patterns can be flown comfortably from 1,500 ft to 800 ft, try no
more or less than that.
If you wanna be a
full-on realism guy, this is where you'd say "HoseBag (or whatever your call
sign is) entering right downwind, runway One-Eight". Well, if you're flying with
anyone else. Please don't do this when alone OK?
On this downwind leg, you definitely should get the bird stabilized at a low
airspeed (say 140 or thereabouts) and on a stable altitude. Do this NOW and you
will have less work coming up in the next coupla minutes. Let yourself fly past
the airport for a ways...how much is up to you. Go for a mile or so, why not?
Next, call out "HoseBag entering right base, runway One-Eight" if ya want (this
sounds great when flying with buddies using voice comm- they'll think you're a
real pro!). Take a look at the compass...if you're heading due north, a heading
of 90 is what ya want for the next turn, so turn right 90 degrees to start the
BASE leg - perpendicular to the runway. Complete the turn and look to the right
for the airfield...You are now at point "3" on the diagram....when you see the
runway is starting to aim toward you, it's time for the last turn to final....
"HoseBag on final,
After turning right another 90 degrees (heading now 180, point "4" on the
diagram) you should be:
- more or less lined up on the runway,
- at a fair distance away to do some last-minute setup work,
- at a workable airspeed,
- at enough altitude to see the runway and make power corrections to keep your
descent on target.
- and hopefully, pretty well trimmed for straight-and-level at this speed so
you're not fighting the aircraft...it has to WANT to land.
Lower your gear and unlock your tail wheel (if so equipped). Okay...now with the
added drag, you might have to make some power and trim corrections.....can't
emphasize enough to use the trim controls, so the plane will do more of the
flying for you.
At this point you want to visually set up so you’re looking about 10 to 20
degrees down at the runway...try to keep this angle constant as you fly her
in...straight 'down the pipe'.
Now....flaps or not? Well, nothing wrong with landing without 'em if ya got
plenty of runway, but you'll land faster, hotter and probably float a ways
without touching the ground, or go a long way between bounces if you hit too
hard. The answer here is...if your approach is shallow (5 to 10 degrees) you
might just creep her in without 'em. If it's steep, and/or you're too fast, ya
need flaps to slow her down and loose altitude at the same time. Flaps add two
things; lift and drag, so the plane will initially float up a little bit, but
will slow down....which drops your descent rate...so here is where more power
adjustments may be necessary to keep the bird on the desired glide path to the
runway. I find that just one or two notches of flap is all that is needed for
final, I dump 'em to full if need be at the last minute.
The next bit is
all you: Stay Calm! as the runway comes up to meet you, bring the power down,
and the nose sloooowly up, to level out and get that magic airspeed number you
found earlier at 2,000 ft when the plane quit flying. The sooner you can do this
the better! Imagine the wheels 5 to 10 ft below you gently kissin' the pavement,
and grease her on.
If you bounce, when you come down from the bounce, try to coordinate some
FORWARD (DOWN) stick with the next 'impact', to keep the bird from lifting off
too high again....once the wheels stay stuck on the ground and as she slows,
feed in more forward stick to keep the tail up if ya wanna look cool....fly the
plane down to a crawl that way.
Last-minute panic-yanks on the stick blow more landings than anything else. For
that reason, do this: once on final, force yourself to use TWO or THREE FINGERS
ONLY on the stick, making nice, easy, small corrections....finesse her on down.
Don't wrestle her down with a white-knuckled fist.
Oh yeah one more thing - make sure you don't slow down TOO much, too high, and
just 'pancake' the plane on the runway, maybe this could be happening, from your
description of the problem?
Before you stand on the brakes, try it again! Power up slowly, keep her straight
down the runway, take off, clean the plane up (raise gear and flaps)...turn
right 90 degrees (heading 270, point "1" on the diagram) and repeat! Nothing
better than shootin' touch'n'goes in a hot little warbird on a nice sunny mornin'.
Favorite thing to do when hosting and the room is new and empty for a few
Good luck. When ya get this down pat, start up a CHEAPSHOT game where you get to
do all this under pressure, bullets flying all around you, planes bouncin' on
the ground and blowing up...WoooHooo!
GOOD LUCK AND GOOD HUNTING!!!