Really struggling with throttle control in Case 1 - ED Forums


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Old 11-12-2019, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default Really struggling with throttle control in Case 1

I've recently started spending more time with the F/A-18 I've owned for ages but not flown much, and decided the best way to get to know the plane and have fun was some carrier ops. However, all I got was a lot of frustration and a couple of hours of going around and around and never catching a wire (plus hitting the back of the ship a few times). Now, I'm not a carrier landing expert by any means but I can reliably get the F-14 down in a messy but recognizable Case 1.

The Hornet however comes apart for me when trying to set descent rate. I'm downwind, dirty, trimmed to AoA and then the problem starts. I get +/-1000fpm descent rate variations with what feel like tiny throttle adjustments, and there's so much lag in the descent rate response to throttle input (both accelerating and decelerating) that I find it impossible to not get into a cycle of overcorrecting. The plane feels so floaty and gives me nothing to judge a throttle response by. I got to a point where I can bounce my way around the finals turn at about the right altitude, but when I roll out into the groove and need to change throttle setting again, I either soar over the ship or sink below deck level. I can't settle the descent rate in such a short time window and any attempt at last minute corrections are disastrous.

I thought it might be my control setup, but I have a Thrustmaster TWCS which has a very long and smooth travel, which should be good for making small adjustments.

I do have similar issues in the Tomcat but nowhere near as bad (I trapped fine second go while being really out of practice). Maybe the engines respond faster, or the inertia of the heavier plane makes it less bouncy. Also the F-14 lands with the airbrakes out, and has DLC, both of which are a huge help.

I expect most of this is "practice until you get it" and that's fair enough. But I wanted to see if there's something obvious I might be doing wrong, or something I can do in control setup to make my life easier while trying to learn this.

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Old 11-12-2019, 01:10 PM   #2
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Try quickly adding or reducing throttle then quickly put it back where it was.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #3
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As you say, practice will be the best route to improvement, but maybe try "walking the throttles" to get finer thrust control. In other words, alternate movement of the levers and don't move both levers at the same time.

I still struggle the most with this part of the approach, especially the transition to onspeed, but I am getting there.

Oh, and if you haven't already discovered it, go get Banklers Case 1 training mission. That sets you up a few miles behind the carrier, for f14 or f18, and scores your attempts. That'll show you how much all of that practice is paying off.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:26 PM   #4
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Throttle should be constantly moving, if your throttle is sitting still for any length of time you're doing it wrong. Constant small adjustments, put some on, take it off immediately. Take a little off, put it back on immediately. Don't wait for the jet to respond, if you wait for the jet to respond it's too late and you'll now be low/high.

The concept of "take a little off, put a little back on" is really important for fine throttle control. you have to think a few steps ahead of what the jet's going to do, if you keep the throttle moving in small steps back and forth you can make fine adjustments without any extreme swings either way. It's a tough concept to get used to.

If you watch any videos of IRL Case1, you'll see them constantly moving their throttles back and forth. So it's not just a DCS thing.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:26 PM   #5
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I consider myself OK in CASE I in the Hornet, but I also oscillate (not as much) sometimes, only when I forget to constantly keep the throttles moving.

If you have split throttles, make continuous small adjustments and corrections and constantly walk the throttles with the back of your palm, as Greyman says. I have the TM Warthog throttle and I've set it to the lowest friction, I found that it works for me better that way.
Also, the Hornet is far lighter than the Tomcat. It can balloon pretty easily, especially if you're coming in light.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
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The trick as other poster said above is "walking the throttle", and i mean really constantly. It is strange as first but is the only way to get very tiny increment or decrements of speed.

So basically, if you want to decrease speed you'll start to "dance" the throttle down and up, down and up, down and up, so that your down movement is slightly larger than your up movement if that makes sense.

In this plan you will never keep the throttle in a fixed position, but it will be constantly moving, while the joystick on the other hand is barely moving, so its basical different to how i was used to land F15 or F16 in my simming years. It needs practice but is not so hard after a while.

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Old 11-12-2019, 01:32 PM   #7
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I find the experience is that I don't add throttle just to control the descent rate, but also the control the aircraft pitch. That's probably what's not going on, but the mentality I find keeps me moving the throttles a lot.

As an example, we are high and I need to increase my descent rate.
I pull the throttle, I keep pulling the throttle until I see the nose start to come down. Once the nose starts to come down, I add throttle in until the nose pitch rate stabilizes, then look for my desired rate of descent/glide path (most likely visually.. i.e. not looking at any numerical value on the HUD) as I approach my desired rate/path I add more power, I keep adding power until I see the nose start to rise, I adjust my power to control the pitch rate of the aircraft, and reduce power until the aircraft maintains the same pitch.. and I am now on my desired glidepath or rate of descent.

I suggest keeping the tail hook retracted and intentionally bolter. This trains you to add power, not expect a trap, and gives you more passes then having to go through the catapult process. Keep the CARRER/FIELD switch in CARRIER and just let the indexer flash.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:34 PM   #8
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It is tricky to get used to. As has been said you have to stay ahead of it. If you wait until the engines respond, it's too late.

If it will make you feel any better. I believe Mover (real Hornet pilot) said the engines feel sluggish compared to the real ones.

Also, there is an auto throttle that will hold AOA but isn't working yet.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:44 PM   #9
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Instead of trying to do a Case I... just fly dirty, trimmed on speed AOA and make 30 degree turns trying to stay at the same altitude. This will teach you how she responds.
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Old 11-12-2019, 01:52 PM   #10
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Oh god yeah, at least I'm better than the ATC, that just takes the jet for a bucking bronco ride followed by a swim

Thank you very much for the feedback, I will practice constant throttle movement like that because indeed I have not been doing it. I should probably do it in the Cat too but that seems more forgiving to ham-handed piloting (or at least has other tools to mitigate poor throttle management).

I don't have split throttles, but I do have my friction very low so hopefully I can practice and get used to this "always moving" technique.

Something someone mentioned I realised is one reason I feel very little feedback. "Throttle controls pitch", yes, because trim holds AoA. In the Cat, power changes require stick input to maintain AoA, so I get a feedback loop that helps my throttle management.

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